It’s Friday! And while that may mean TGIF parties for many of you, Friday is also a day that is commonly considered the “best” day to lay off employees. Some companies are very good at keeping internal restructuring under wraps. However, there are often a few warning signs that indicate that your job (or even your whole division) may be at risk. Will your Friday night end with winks and beers or drinks and tears? Read on to find out if your job might be at risk.
1. Watch the Markets
If you work for a publicly traded company, it’s important to track the price of your company’s stock. The rise and fall of a stock isn’t a perfect barometer for predicting layoffs, but it can often be an early indicator.
You should also make an effort to track your company’s profit margins, whether or not you own stock in the company. If you see sharp drops in any quarter, brace for impact.
2. Keep Tabs on Other Locations
If your company operates out of multiple locations, keep your ear to the ground and stay abreast of any hirings and firings at other branches. Your market may be different from the other branches, but what happens at one branch is likely to happen at another branch.
3. Look Out for New Faces
In the movie Office Space, you know things are about to go south for Initech when two consultants show up and start to separate the wheat from the chaff. If your company starts hiring consultants, or creates a new directorial position that seems like it could also be used to cull jobs from your organization, this can be a warning sign that there are cuts in your company’s future.
Another type of fresh face to keep an eye out for are security guards at your building. The larger the company you work for, the more likely it is that your employer will hire extra security guards in the event that a laid off employee freaks out and needs to be escorted off the premises.
4. Look for WARNings
According to online job search expert Susan Joyce, you may be able to get up to two months of advance notice if there is a mass layoff in your company’s future.
“In the US, companies meeting certain specifications are required to provide 60 days notice to affected workers and local governments in advance of plant closings and “mass layoffs.” This is a requirement of the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act. A WARN notification is required if more than 500 people (or 33% of the “active workforce”) are being laid off. Check your state’s Department of Labor (or whatever it is called in your state) to see the notices that have been filed by employees in your state.”
5. Executive Meetings Becoming More Frequent
If you hear tell that the execs from 5 different branches from all over the country are meeting with increased frequency, this is definitely a signal that there is something important worth talking about. It isn’t always a bad thing…but if there is a sudden increase in the frequency of these meetings, that might signal that the thing being talked about has urgent financial ramifications.
6. Your Hours or Pay Are Reduced
Before flat-out firing people, some companies prefer to offer pay cuts or reduced hours to their employees as a preliminary measure to cut costs. If this happens to you, or happens to other people in the company who are at your pay grade, this should set off some warning bells. On the plus side, you may be eligible for part-time unemployment benefits, depending on your state’s laws, which can cushion the blow while you look for a new full-time position.
7. It’s Been Ages Since You Got New Office Supplies or Technology Upgrades
A company in financial trouble will likely cut back on office supplies, which might range from pens and paper to desktop computers and company-provided phones. If the office itself is starting to look run down and like its in need of an upgrade, it’s indicative of excessive belt-tightening measures.
8. Your E-Mail Suddenly Gets Managable
According to Brian Satterfield of HRWorld, a sudden change in the volume of your e-mail is never a good sign.
“A sudden, pronounced and prolonged drop in the volume of email you receive may be a welcome respite from communication overload, but it also might mean that key projects that would have normally been assigned to you are being handled by employees that the company sees as key to its future. Meaning, not you.”
Friday is actually a terrible day to fire people, according to Karen Lucas, a Chicago executive coach. She says that firing employees on a Wednesday is better because they don’t have to wait for two whole days to start their job search or apply for unemployment.
We hope that these warning signs have been helpful, and we hope that everyone reading this has a long, happy career at their current company.
Have you recently been fired or laid off? What warning signs did you notice before you got the axe? Tell us in the comments below!