With hindsight, many of us who have been made redundant think we should have seen it coming. Although a sign by itself might be nothing to worry about, a series of signs in the workplace could indicate your job is in peril. If you’re worried about redundancies, look for these signs that you may be made redundant to find out if your days in a job are numbered. Then you can take action before the news breaks.
A major warning sign that your job could be in danger is that your particular industry or area of expertise is struggling. For instance, friends doing similar work to yours but in competitor companies start losing their jobs.
Economic crises can hit organisations hard; find out what your company is saying in public. Staff cuts are often the first money-saving measure during tough times.
Look for industry trends developing. This could be technology taking over the work once done by people in your sector, or consumer behaviour forcing a change to the way a product or service is delivered. If competitors start outsourcing and sending roles off shore, your company may consider something doing the same.
Have you been told people in your team will be replaced, but vacant roles still haven’t been filled six months later? A sustained hiring freeze, despite a shortage of staff, can signal impending redundancies.
The office newspaper is cancelled. The weekly fruit box stops. There’s no investment in new equipment. No taxis are allowed; instead people are encouraged to walk or take public transport for the’ good of the environment’. If things keep disappearing, don’t assume it is the office thief. Some organisations will even swap toilet roll brands to save money.
Another financial sign is when previously routine expenses are now closely scrutinised. Maybe this year just two of you get to attend the annual industry conference when usually the whole team goes – and you have to share a room. Or suppliers call you to chase up invoices, even though you are not in the finance department.
Lack of information
Have you become the last to know what is going on in your office? If emails have dried up, meetings happen without you and you are left off distribution lists, your company may be keeping information from you and preparing for your departure.
Maybe future plans have been shelved, or changes are taking place but the reasons are not very clear – if managers can’t explain a change or say nothing at all it only fuels suspicion.
And watch out for senior management holding frequent meetings behind closed doors, or closing the office door behind them before making or taking phone calls.
If you have previously enjoyed a great deal of autonomy and are now being closely scrutinised, something may be up. When senior management become more visible around the workplace, it can be a sign of redundancies.
If you’re suddenly asked to explain how you do your role, it could be an innocent enquiry OR part of a process to determine what roles could be cut or merged with another.
You’re not very busy
At your last appraisal were you told there was a lot of big projects coming up, and warned how busy you were going to be, but these projects never materialised? In some environments, especially consultancies, you put your faith in directors to bring in work and sometimes they fail to do that. Job shedding will probably be the end result.
Alternatively, your company may be organising workloads to make sure your work gets done once you have gone. While your colleagues seem to be taking on more, your workload becomes a lot lighter, you begin losing responsibilities and your input is no longer required in business planning sessions or meetings about next year’s budget.