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5 Ways to Avoid a Layoff

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MP900386036Difficult economic times often result in major layoffs. That then begs the question, how does the average worker avoid a layoff?

Reputation oftentimes plays a key role, as an employee who maintains a good reputation has more value to an employer who must make difficult layoff decisions, than an employee who has strikes against his or her record. During troubling economic times, employees should go the extra mile to prove they are worth keeping when their bosses must decide who goes and who stays.

In addition to keeping one’s reputation pristine within a company, there are several other ways an employee might avoid a layoff.

None of these are foolproof, as 100 percent job security is rarely guaranteed, but they may help make the difference between retaining a job or getting laid off.

  1. Personify value: An employee should make sure the boss knows what kind of accomplishments the employee has had in the workplace and how he or she has contributed to the success of the company, while also being willing to change and improve in any weak areas.
  1. Suggest cutbacks when/where possible:  An employee could analyze what products or services may no longer be necessary in the workplace, and suggest cutbacks.
  1. Take on extra work: An employee should look for ways to decrease the workload for his or her boss
  1. Improve/diversify skill sets: An employee should demonstrate the willingness and ability to improve or diversify his or her skill sets, particularly tech skills.
  1. Maintain positivity: An employee should maintain a good, positive attitude in spite of challenging or stressful circumstances, and not spread negativity or disparaging comments about the boss or the company.


Go the Extra Mile

One of the best ways an employee can prove his or her worth when times are tough is to be willing to go the extra mile.

This might mean working overtime at standard pay rates, taking on extra projects, stepping outside one’s comfort zone or established job description to do what needs to be done, and otherwise going above and beyond what the boss expects.


Be Proactive

Typically, nobody receives a guarantee of ongoing employment, so it’s best to be proactive and begin a job search as soon as the employee has an inkling of impending layoffs.

Along with this, it is highly recommended for an employee to reinvent himself or herself by honing existing skills or learning new ones that will fill gaps.  In spite of his or her best efforts, however, even a valuable employee may be subject to a layoff.


Warning: Layoff Ahead

Along with being proactive, the wise employee should be alert to warning signs that a layoff may be imminent.

Here are some common red flags:

  • Pay cuts.
  • Shorter working hours or fewer work days per week.
  • Reduced benefits, changes in health insurance coverage, and/or revised sick day policies.
  • Postponed start dates for new hires or full hiring freezes.
  • Reduction to a “skeleton” crew with increased responsibilities.
  • Mandatory leaves of absence or furloughs for designated amounts of time.


If All Else Fails

Even if an employee has done all he or she can to avoid a layoff, it may still take place if the employer and the company’s management personnel have no other option.

If an employee has been diligent to maintain a good standing, that individual is more likely to be among the first rehired if circumstances allow the company to do so.

If not, an employee with a good reputation who has been proactive in seeking a new job has more of an edge in potentially landing that position than an employee who hasn’t taken the time or made any effort.


About the Author: A productive freelance writer with more than 1,500 articles published online, K’Lee Banks writes for a variety of business sites, including

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