In the United States, 45% of businesses don’t make it past five years. 65% don’t make it past ten years. Yet everyone who ever starts a business backs themselves to beat the odds. Is it possible to predict if a business will be a success or a failure in its future?
Recently, there have been many layoffs in the US, specifically within technology companies. There are 159 million people currently employed in the US, and in the past month there were 1.3 million layoffs.
“There have been several thousand high-profile layoffs in the tech sector in the past couple of weeks. While this is unfortunate, it is useful to keep in mind that the labor market is significantly larger and has been overall healthy,” Bledi Taska, chief economist at labor market consulting and research firm Lightcast, said.
Today’s economic uncertainties have fueled an unstable job market and created an unsettling environment in the workplace – where the lack of transparency, internal politics, the growing number of siloed departments and hidden agendas have made it more difficult to trust yourself, let alone others. What appears to be an endless path of disorganized chaos is now “the new normal.” As such, we must become mentally tough and learn to anticipate the unexpected.
Employees must approach the workplace through a lens that can detect potholes of distrust while staying focused on seeing and seizing the next opportunity.
How Does A Company Decide Who Will Be Laid Off?
There is no one formula that companies use when they need to let go of staff to cut costs. Some organizations may subscribe to the “last one in, first one out” model. Management prefers to keep the long-time staff and pink slip the new employees who just started at the company.
Leadership wants to field the best team. They’ll protect the “A-players” and let go of those who are not top performers. People with highly specialized skills that are hard to replace may be overlooked for dismissal, whereas workers that possess talents that are easily replaced are not safe.
Will You be Affected by a Layoff?
If you are in a revenue-generating division, the odds are high that you’ll be safer than the people working in a cost center. It’s a cold reality that employees and groups that bring in the money generally have more leverage than others who can’t point to adding dollars to the bottom line. In tough times, businesses need people who can ring the register. Those who may be terrific workers, but are not revenue-centric, may have a more challenging time holding onto their job.
Human resources may weigh in on decisions of who stays and who will be shown the door. They’ll search through personnel records to review performance reviews, look for any recommendations and see if a person committed infractions, violated rules or has a history of causing problems.
The chief financial officer and accounting team may crunch the numbers and determine that senior employees will be culled. Older workers, on average, tend to earn more than younger staff members because of years of experience. It's not fair, but their higher compensation places a target on their backs.
It's convenient for the company to say they are just dissolving a unit that has many senior people with sizable pay packages. The business can downsize to fewer highly compensated professionals instead of many mid to junior staff members.
There needs to be a better way for employees to make more strategic evaluations of their employers. From an operational and business perspective, you should be able to predict that your employer will be able to pay your salary, commit to the number of hours per week that you sign on for, and be able to maintain your employment given the success of the company.
How To Identify an Employer You Can Trust
1. Reach out to current employees
Even though initiating conversations with current employees might feel a bit awkward at first, the payoff is well worth it. Talking with them is the absolute best way to discover if a company’s branding/messages are accurate and trustworthy. Plus, you’ll get a chance to learn if their interview promises align with their everyday actions.
For example, you might expect your potential employer to provide updated training to any employees affected by automation or innovation.
Don’t just network with your soon-to-be boss or hiring manager. Reach out to potential co-workers. Those who are in the trenches will be able to share if leaders follow through with employee feedback, honor their mission, fulfill promises, etc.
2. Research the company’s societal impact
Every prospective employer is vying for top talent, which means they’ll try to make the business look as appealing as possible. Many are doing this by expanding their employer brand and focusing on something all candidates agree on, making the world a better place.
If you browse the company’s social feed or website, you might see stories sharing how they’ve served the local community, or posts featuring employees’ opportunities for volunteering. But it’s important to understand that they’re creating the narrative they want you to see. What’s their true societal impact?
Social media is good at distorting reality. So, turn to Google and do your own digging: Research the company’s title, leaders’ names, etc. to learn if your prospective employer presents accomplishments in an honest, trustworthy manner.
3. Compare reviews to the career site
Piggybacking off the idea that businesses want to appear as appealing as possible, be wary of company career sites. Each one is designed to draw you in and make you feel connected. A prospective employer will share its best features, such as:
● Competitive pay
● Amazing benefits
● Work-life balance
● Paid time off
But before you get too excited at the thought of having found your dream job, check out a few review sites. Glassdoor, for example, is a great place to find company reviews from current and former employees. Compare those reviews to the career site promises to measure the truth behind employers’ claims.
4. Ask the right questions during an interview
The interview isn’t just about proving how well you fit with the company, they also need to prove that they’re a good fit for you. Use the time you have together to let them know that employee-employer trust is a critical factor in your decision-making process.
Be direct in your questions and focus on what’s most important to you. For example, if you want to know you can trust the employer’s promise to deliver career development and opportunities to advance, ask for specific examples of how they’ve done this in the past. Then, take things one step further and ask how they plan to provide the same to you (should you receive an offer).
Trust is a two-way street; be transparent in what you have to offer, and your prospective employer will likely do the same.