Let's say you've landed a job offer with the perfect company. We know you’re ecstatic at this very moment, but before you jump in with both feet, it’s critical to understand the potential risks of layoffs that could be coming your way.
A layoff means a company stops employing an employee or group of employees for financial or other business-related reasons. Usually, the reason would be to reduce costs as companies seek to remain competitive and profitable. Layoffs can be temporary or permanent depending on the situation and some companies will offer severance packages and even assistance with finding new employment for the laid-off employees.
Layoffs can be a scary prospect for anyone. To make sure you steer yourself away from it, try to understand the layoff meaning and the ways you can adopt to protect yourself from potential layoff risks.
Ask These Questions in Your Interviews To Avoid Layoff
Job seekers are usually unaware of the challenges of a new job. For you, it could be your opportunity for an income stream but the challenges must be addressed before you blindly fall into the risks of it.
Before accepting a job offer, learn to identify and avoid layoff scenarios. You're more prone to the risk of layoffs if you don't know how to gauge the potential of your company during interviews. Interviews are a crucial part of any job and it's mostly where a lot of things should be sorted out.
We understand how difficult it can be to look for a job, especially in today's uncertain economic climate. But before you accept that offer, it’s important to understand the layoff risks involved and learn how to protect yourself from them.
And that's why we have this in-depth guide for you. Read on!
Layoff Meaning: The Real Definition of Layoff
First of all, what are layoffs? It's a difficult but all too common situation where an employer, for economic or other business-related reasons, reduces their workforce and eliminates jobs.
Layoff meaning is closely associated with job loss. It can be caused by economic conditions, declines in demand for certain products or services, company reorganizations, or any other reason deemed necessary by the employer.
Layoff vs Firing: What’s the Difference?
Layoff vs Firing is an important concept to understand. In layoff situations, employees are generally given a period of notice and may be entitled to ongoing severance pay or other benefits as part of the layoff package.
In some cases, a layoff can be permanent, while in others, employees may be called upon to return to their position.
On the other hand, firing is when an employee's employment contract with the company is terminated immediately.
Unlike layoffs, firing usually happens due to employee misconduct, but other reasons may also play a role. In this instance, there are no severance benefits or advance notice periods offered.
Questions To Ask in Interviews To Avoid Layoff
We came across this question in our DMs:
"I decided to look for a new job last month. Now that I've started taking interviews, I hear layoffs everywhere. What should I do?"
Yes, layoffs are scary and you, as an employee, should do everything in your power to prevent it from happening to you. Believe it or not, it all starts with the simple interviews you'll have with the company before joining them.
The only way to avoid layoff is by gauging the potential of the company you're about to join. You measure this through specific questions tailored to understand the layoff risks.
Make sure you ask these questions in your interviews.
1. “Is Your Company Profitable?”
The purpose of this question is to understand how the company is functioning. A profitable company will keep functioning for years to come with the profit it generates.
But what about a company that's not profitable? Well, they sort of have to rely on external help. VC funding, for example.
The problem is, VC funding, or other types of funding schemes, aren't investing as actively as they used to. And this is where the tension rises.
You need to make sure the company you're stepping into is profitable. Otherwise, the likely scenario is their funding sources might one day back out and the company would be forced to resort to a massive layoff to cut costs.
2. “What’s Your Runway?”
Let's say your potential company is not profitable. Should you still join them if they're depending on VC funding?
It depends. If the company is already funded, this question will let you know how many more months or years of funding they have secured in place.
Runway basically means the number of months until this funded money runs out. When it does, the company will have to raise more money.
18+ months of runway is good. That means you stand the chance to keep your income stream alive at least for 1.5 years. Turn yourself away if the runway is anything less than 18 months.
However, the ideal runway would be anywhere from 24 months. That's two years of potential job security.
3. “What’s Your Roadmap for the Coming Months?”
Before joining a company, consider getting insight into their product roadmap and hiring plans.
A strong company will have a robust roadmap. They'll be confident in their product and will have almost everything already sorted out.
But if your potential company's product roadmap sounds "experimental", it's a major indication that the company is a pre-product-market fit. Such a roadmap means that they still have a lot of experiments to do to ultimately find their product-market fit.
For a business, this is normal. But if their roadmap is experimental and they still have aggressive hiring plans, that's what puts you in a very vulnerable position.
Chances are they'll resort to layoffs as experiments fail and they no longer require certain talent inside the company. Who knows, that talent could be you!
4. “What Projects Will I Work on If I Join?”
When joining a new company, the best bet for you to avoid layoff is to fit yourself into the company's core team that index to the company's main revenue streams.
This question aims to identify where you'll fit in. If you're not part of the core team and you're not able to contribute to the company's primary revenue streams, you are at a much higher risk of getting laid off.
Layoff Companies (Companies With Massive Layoffs Right Now)
Just recently, one of the most successful companies in the world, Meta, decided to resort to massive layoffs to cut costs. On November 2022, Meta slashed 13% of its workforce, over 11,000 of the company's employees.
The same month, Amazon laid off around 10,000 of its employees and Twitter too conducted massive layoffs for about 7,500 employees.
We witnessed one of the biggest layoffs all around the world in 2022. So here's a list of companies that have recently conducted massive layoffs, just to pitch you an idea of the extent layoffs can go:
- Meta: 11,000 employees laid off.
- Amazon: 10,000 employees laid off.
- Alibaba: 9,250 employees laid off.
- Twitter: 7,500 employees laid off.
- Tencent: 5,500 employees laid off.
- Ford: 3,600 employees laid off.
- Microsoft: 3,000 employees laid off.
- BYJU'S: 2,500 employees laid off.
- Doordash: 1,250 employees laid off.
- The above figures are rounded and the actual number of laid-off employees may slightly differ.*
Why Employees Resist Organizational Change
An organizational change is normal in any business. And it's often necessary for the business to thrive.
But an organizational change is a source of fear for employees. Employees resist change in a company due to many reasons, but oftentimes it's the fear of losing the job.
Let's have a closer look at all the reasons why employees resist change in an organization.
Fear of Losing the Job
Employees typically resist organizational change out of fear of losing their jobs. A layoff can be a devastating experience for employees, especially if you have worked for the same company for many years.
It is not only a significant financial burden for employees but it can also cause emotional trauma and mental health issues.
The fear of losing a job has been long documented among employees as one of the primary reasons why employees resist organizational change.
Potential Sub-par Reward System
The employees often worry that the reward system, such as compensation and benefits, will be reduced after an organizational change. This can cause employees to resist the planned changes.
If employees are not compensated adequately for their hard work and efforts, they will eventually become less motivated in putting effort into the company's growth.
Fear of Not Knowing
Change often brings a sense of tension and anxiety. Employees will be afraid of the changes because they're most likely unaware what awaits them.
If an organization has an internal change planned, communicate it with the employees and educate them on what comes after.
But in any case, such communication is only effective as long as the organizational change does not act against the employees.
Fear of Losing Power
Sometimes, the resistance may be due to the fear of losing power inside the organization.
Some employees may have higher power inside the business and they'll fear that the change will put them out of power.
Fear of Failure
An organizational change often means the implementation of new rules and goals. When this happens, the current employees are expected to put their best skills to practice.
Sometimes, these expected skills and deliverables may be something the employees aren't familiar with. This potentially creates tension, leading to a bigger workload and more work pressure.
From the employees' perspective, this potential scenario causes fear of failure for them before even an organizational change is implemented.
Layoffs are a normal and necessary part of business, but that doesn't make them any less difficult to endure.
If you're currently facing layoffs or are in the process of interviewing for a new position, there are some questions you can ask to get a better idea of the stability of the company.
While there is never a 100% guarantee that you can avoid being laid off, if you do your research and adopt the right practices, you can dramatically improve your chances of remaining employed during times of turbulence.
Be sure to stay updated on which companies are experiencing layoffs so that you can make informed decisions about where to work.
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