Craig Levey is an employment law attorney with over 12 years of experience.
He says there are often early signs of layoffs, which usually occur in the fall.
Levey recommends employees conduct a self-assessment before Labor Day to gauge the company's vibe.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Craig Levey, an employment law attorney and partner at Bennett & Belfort, P.C., a law firm based in Massachusetts. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
I'm a partner at Bennett and Belfort, P.C., a law firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and I have over 12 years of experience practicing as an employment law attorney.
From my experience and from what I've gathered, while companies sometimes blindside employees with layoffs, other times there are often early signs — which usually appear in the fall, right before the holiday season. Many companies will lay off individuals in January, and they'll start to provide signals now, as we approach the end of the year.
When a company is planning layoffs, senior leadership such as the president, CEO, or board of directors usually tells senior management to send signals to the employees about it.
Here are three layoff signs an employee should look out for, and what I suggest you do as soon as you see these signs.
Sign No. 1: Your supervisor or HR may make comments tipping you off
These hints might come in various forms. For example, you might receive an email from HR mentioning a reorg, or potential position eliminations.
Or, supervisors and or HR representatives will sometimes make comments to employees during one-on-one meetings or performance evaluations to tip off employees that layoffs may be coming.
These types of communication might be the company's way to leak the message indicating that 'things aren't going great,' and there could be layoffs down the road.
Sign No. 2: The company references declining profits
When a company has performed poorly financially or has not met financial goals, it's a sign to employees that difficult decisions about payroll may be coming. When employers need to make decisions regarding finances, they will often turn to layoffs.
Generally, employees should always be taking a "vibe check" — meaning they should be aware of whether their employer had a strong year from a financial standpoint.
Sign No. 3: The company is making cutbacks
You might start to notice the company is making cutbacks on things employees would normally be used to receiving.
For example, suppose you've been with the company for several years and are used to receiving a year-end bonus, but this year, you learn that there are no bonuses.
Or, the company may inform the staff of hiring freezes across the board, or make even smaller changes like not hosting a holiday party. All these adjustments are designed to save dollars for the company.
Employees should do a self-assessment around the fall
If I'm an employee in a company, I would do a self-assessment around the fall, perhaps after Labor Day just to gauge the vibe of the company. You can ask yourself questions like:
Have I received any performance evaluations this year?
Will I receive my bonus?
Am I on a performance improvement plan (PIP)?
What is the current financial state of the company?
Have there been any other layoffs?
We aren't mind readers, and we don't know what the future holds. But having an understanding of the company's situation is important.
If there are going to be potential layoffs, being informed can help you avoid being blindsided.
If you're an employment lawyer and want to share tips for workers experiencing layoffs, email Aria Yang at email@example.com.
Read the original article on Business Insider