Who Will Get Laid Off?
In a union shop, the most common is the last hired, the first fired. However, in
organizations that do not have unions, the least valuable/least skilled are first
on the lay-off list.
If a business is simply right sizing, the desire is to get rid of the "deadwood." If
the business is threatened with non-existence due to financial constraints, cuts may be
so deep that even very valuable employees are laid off.
Who might fall into the "deadwood" category?
- The Out-of-Date. This person can be a Guardian who is avoiding learning new skills that the company needs, an Artisan who is blind to future company needs and doesn't want to be pushed to learn, an Idealist who considers people-connections more important than company-valued new knowledge, or a Rational who resists getting expertise in a field that doesn't seem as fascinating as the fields already known in depth.
- The Slacker. This may be the inexperienced employee who wants to be laid back and doesn't care about the job, the employee who leaves others to pick up the slack, or the employee who is getting close to retirement and is coasting on the job.
- The Sneaker. This is the employee who talks behind other's backs or can never be found when others need to discuss job issues.
- The Costs-Too-Much. If the cost is in money, it is usually an older worker with a high paycheck whose value to the company does not equal the pay. If the cost is in time, it is any worker who brings personal problems into the company either from home or in relationships with other employees. Dealing with this person costs the manager too much time and layoffs provide the perfect excuse to get rid of this type of person. The person may show attributes of the Whiner, the Constant Arguer, the Martyr, the Arrogant or the Rebel.
- The Embarrasser. Usually Guardians do not fall into this category since they usually have high respect for authority, but the other three temperaments may. Managers never want to be embarrassed in public. A Rational may challenge the manager in a public meeting on questions of knowledge and competency. An Idealist may challenge on questions of values. An Artisan may challenge on questions of actions. The few Guardians who do challenge usually challenge on safety and risk.
To avoid being seen as deadwood, one needs to be in alignment with the manager on goals
and objectives, needs to communicate effectively with the manager and staff, and focus on
learning skills that will continually make the employee a valuable company asset.
Some people try to avoid layoffs by not calling attention to themselves. This tactic
usually backfires. Others show their anxiety by talking too much and speculating. This
also backfires. To lessen the probability of being laid off, stay as up-beat as possible
and stay in the manager's corner. DO NOT talk negatively about any of your colleagues in
hopes that they will be chosen instead of you. Finger-pointing lessens your own value.
It is best to always keep some contacts outside the company in case a layoff might occur.
That way you have a safety net. Above all, stay positive.