6 Signs Layoffs are Coming

Layoffs have become a standard part of the working world. There are signs of layoffs so you don’t have to be caught off guard. Check out 6 Signs layoffs are coming. 

The term layoff instills a sense of doom in any employee in the working world. They also seem to be more common in this current economy. Companies are focusing more and more on rapid growth and they even plan to have reductions in employees eventually. The good news is, you can learn to recognize the signs of layoffs, so you aren’t caught off guard. If you are prepared for layoffs, they won’t seem so scary and you can plan for your next steps. 

Six Ways to Recognize Impending Layoffs

Financial Loss

Whether it’s due to an economic downturn, or your company’s revenue dropping (or both), financial loss is usually one of the first signs of layoffs. 38% of small businesses that fail, do so because of a lack of cash.  Be sure to participate in all company meetings and pay attention to their revenue goals, and whether the company is meeting them. A lot of times, those of us who are not in upper management like to bury our heads in the sand. Or maybe we don’t think the finances are our problem. This could not be more wrong.  If you notice projected earnings are not being met, it is a good idea to take stock of your role and the value you add to the company’s bottom line. Companies love to tout that revenue is not their only objective, but it will serve you to remember that money talks. Your company will not keep you on because they love you. They will do what is best for their bottom line. They are a business after all. 

Change in Workload

You have been in your role for a few years and have experienced a steady stream of work coming your way. All of the sudden, you stop receiving assignments. Maybe you aren’t getting the feedback you are used to getting. You may even be being left off of meetings. You find yourself looking for things to fill your time. This could be a sign of impending layoffs. Many employers will experiment with roles to see if they can redistribute a person’s workload in order to justify getting rid of their role. If this happens to you, reach out to your manager. Ask them directly if there is a reason you are experiencing a decreased workload. Make sure you communicate that you are open to feedback and ready to work. Maybe it is just a mistake that can be rectified. It is never a bad idea to let your manager know you value your job and are willing to do what it takes to be successful at it. 

If this happens to you, don’t panic. Sometimes this is just due to the natural order of the workflow. However, if you notice your workload decreasing after a bad review, if you have asked to define your role recently, or if your request for more work goes unanswered, it may be a good idea to start preparing for layoffs.

Shift in Manager Behavior

Managers have tough jobs and it’s not easy to manage so many people. They are human with real emotions, so when they know someone is about to get laid off, they will commonly pull back from communicating with that person. This is to reduce their own sense of guilt. If you feel you are being left out of the loop, you probably are. Trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to schedule a meeting and ask what new initiatives your team is working on. One on one’s are an important part of any position and they should be beneficial for both parties. If you feel like your boss is being cagey with you, take that as a sign. When a manager knows someone is leaving, many times they do not want to include them on projects on the horizon. 

I have personally been laid off once in my career, and the number one sign was my manager was suddenly MIA. I had always had a great relationship with him, until one day he started canceling 1 on 1’s and wasn’t returning my Slack messages. The writing was on the wall, but I didn’t recognize it at the time. Keep a lookout for shifty behavior from your boss. It could be a telltale sign of layoffs. 

Hiring Freeze

A hiring freeze is when a company universally stops all hiring. This is never a good sign and shows that revenue has significantly slowed. Companies are obsessed with growth and will keep trying to achieve it at all costs. If they concede to a hiring freeze, they are admitting they cannot grow. It is common for a reduction in employees to quickly follow in order to get their profits where they need to be. According to resumebuilder.com, “7 out of 10 companies are likely to implement a hiring freeze in 2023.” This is due to the overhiring after covid, so be prepared if your company experienced rapid growth after the pandemic. 

Merger or Acquisition Impending

Another super common cause of layoffs is mergers or acquisitions. A merger is when 2 companies combine to become one bigger company. ExxonMobil is a popular example of this. They were the 2 largest oil production companies in the world. They are now one big company. An acquisition is when one company acquires another and takes control of it. Google acquiring Android is a recent example. As you can imagine, when either one of these things happens, there become multiple duplicates of different job positions. According to the Harvard Business Review, “roughly 30% of employees are deemed redundant after a merger or acquisition.” 

Sudden All Hands Meeting Scheduled 

If you have noticed any of the above signs occurring and then a sudden All Hands meeting is put on the calendar, it could be a sign that management is ready to go public with information about a mass layoff. They usually spring it on you quickly and rip the band-aid off. Layoffs will happen the same day as the meeting if that is what they are announcing. Being aware of this will help reduce the crippling shock that many experience at these meetings. We are all used to the summer camp rah-rah style of All Hands meetings, so when it’s a negative topic, it can be hard to process. Keep alert and you will see all the signs before this meeting comes. Not all companies get these meetings right. There have been some epic fails, so be prepared for anything. 

Something else worth mentioning is a sudden meeting with your boss being scheduled with someone from HR also being on the invite. HR is always involved with layoffs, so if you see this happening, this could be THE meeting. It will be ok though, you have seen it coming because you have noticed the signs. Hold your head up high and enter the meeting. Remember it’s not personal, it’s just business. 

Layoffs are impending. Now What? 

So you have recognized the signs of an impending layoff. No need to panic. Be prepared and if you are affected, you will be ready to dive right into finding your next job. If you play your cards right, you may even snag a new job before your severance package ends, which will give you multiple incomes for a while. Glass half full, right? Here are 3 things you can do to prepare yourself if you think mass layoffs are pending. 

{pullquote} Read more: I Just Got Laid Off. What Next? 

Determine Next Steps

Spend some time reflecting on your strengths, and what you want to do next.  Do you love your current position and want to find something very similar? Great! Have you been contemplating a change in position or industry? Now may be the time to take that leap. Decide what you want to do with your next chapter now so that you aren’t floundering when the time comes to act. 

Update Your Resume

Now is the time to add your current role and make sure it reflects the strengths that would apply to your next role. Make sure your formatting is professional and specific. Have a trusted friend look it over and suggest edits. Have it ready to send when you need it! 

Start Networking 

Look around and see who is hiring. Utilize LinkedIn or other social media to see if you may know someone who works there. You could know them directly, or maybe you share an alma mater. Either way, reach out! Let them know you are interested and gather more information. The bigger your network, the better. Build it up! 

Life after layoffs 

If you think you may be about to experience layoffs, take a deep breath. You will be ok! They are super common and nothing to be ashamed of. Take the time to recognize the 6 signs layoffs are coming above and prepare yourself. Consider it a fresh start and start making that lemonade!

Don’t forget to share this post!

Stay up to date

Subscribe and stay current with the latest people tips, trends & news

Get a subscription for your team

Enjoy Kudoboard without limits