Most companies go through corporate restructuring for a myriad of reasons, whether that’s to change its organizational structure for efficiency or modify its operations and capital structure to reduce costs.
Unfortunately, corporate restructuring often involves layoffs and job cuts, and can be a difficult transitional period for both employer and employee.
In late August, many multinational companies announced layoffs, while other companies have hinted that job cuts may be coming. Companies such as Best Buy, HBO Max, Ford Motors, Shopify, and Walmart, among others, have announced layoffs in the past few weeks.
Although employees do not have control over layoffs, there is still something that they can do. Indeed, the people who survive these layoffs and land on their feet are the ones who can spot the signs beforehand and see that layoffs are coming.
Read more: Startup charges $10K to soften the blow of layoffs
Signs you’re at risk of layoff
What are the signs that you’re at risk of being laid off?
1. Your company is experiencing budget constraints.
Daniel Bortz from Monster.com explains that it is never a good sign when your company begins to put all financial exchanges under a microscope and require approvals from higher-ups. He cited some examples: when expense accounts are being scrutinized, when there are new procedures being implemented for securing purchase orders, and when more approvals are implemented to tap petty cash for unquestioned expenses in the past.
2. Your company is going through a merger or acquisition.
The terms “merger and acquisition” have blended and have been used together frequently. A merger is a process that involves two separate corporate entities combining to form a joint organization. Meanwhile, an acquisition occurs when an entity takes over another. A merger and acquisition may be positive for the company, but it may also have negative effects towards employees. It might mean that there will be downsizing, and that redundant staff will be laid off.
3. Your company implemented a hiring freeze.
If there is a sudden halt in hiring new employees in your company, it may be a sign that your company is struggling with financial losses and needs to cut costs to reduce operating expenses.
4. Your company is not going in the right direction.
One low quarter is not a big deal for a company, but six months of it could mean that layoffs are coming, said Nick Kamboj, CEO of Aston & James LLC. Kamboj admitted that the pandemic has sped up the timeline, and that because of it, layoffs may even be the result of one quarter’s losses.
Read more: Why offboarding is as vital as onboarding
5. Your supervisors and other bosses are leaving the company.
Another sign that there may be layoffs in your company is when higher-ups themselves are resigning. These people at the top have a much clearer view of what is likely to happen in the company, so if executives are leaving, it may be a sign that lower-level employees should watch their backs.
6. Your company is laying off people from other departments.
Companies are more likely to lay off people in waves, and not everybody at once. If a fraction in one or two departments is laid off, soon it could spread to other departments. Be vigilant towards the end of the fiscal quarter when most layoffs occur.
All of these are signs that job cuts are imminent in your company. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself for the inevitable. Handle yourself professionally and remember that it’s nothing personal. Go back to your resume, determine your severance pay, figure out how you can collect unemployment, and be ready to find a new job once you’re ready.