Activating the best of you!

Kelly recently wrote in asking for strategies to help secure her job in anticipation of company layoffs.

I discussed four smart ways to secure her  job (and yours) in my last blog post  here.

In Part II, we are continuing to explore ways to keep your job and position you as a strong, value-add  employee. Here are some things to consider doing both in and out of the workplace:

5.  Leadership Opportunities: Demonstrate your ability to recognize both  problems and opportunities and show your manager ways to address them. Perhaps morale is sinking with the news of the merger. You can offer to help put together a recognition event for a major program success in your group. Or, perhaps you know that a new company product would be ideal for a market that has not yet been addressed. Show that you are a leader. This is the time to show that you have great ideas to build the team and positively impact the company’s bottom line.

6. Training and Development: While others are spending time worrying, you need to focus on ways to add to your skill set. Discuss training opportunities both inside and outside your company. Refer to your development plan and look for ways to add skills that will make you more effective in the new organization. And as quickly as possible, use those new skills to show increased value add.

7. Offer to go the Extra Mile: Ask for ways you can demonstrate your commitment to the team. Perhaps they need extra people at a trade show. This is your time to show you are a really dedicated team player and hard worker. Do the research to make you extra effective at any new work you take on. Try to find colleagues who have demonstrated best practices in an area that is of high value to your company and learn from them. You might even find a powerful mentor along the way.

8. Yes, start a job search: All of the strategies given can be powerful ways to secure your position and avoid being laid off. But, that said, they might still not be enough. I was in a company where the entire marketing team was laid off as the acquiring company had their own, complete marketing organization, and saw ours as redundant. Period. Everyone was laid off.

And, quietly begin your search for a new job. Better to find out you have a job offer from the outside and a secure position with your current employer, than to be caught jobless.

The moral of the story is that one should always be trying to add value and new skills, seek ways to learn and have more impact on the company.  And especially when you find out that an acquisition, merger, reorganization will be  happening, do all you can to be prepared, effective and visible.

All the best,

Coach Joan

Dear Coach Joan,

I want to give you a six month update since I completed my career coaching work with you. As you know, I was delighted to get my new position! It turned out to be everything that I was looking for: a great manager, a challenging position, in the right industry and with collaborative co-workers. All good. But here’s the unexpected bad news. My company is being bought, and we were told to expect  layoffs due to redundancy in the workforce.

My question: How do I best position myself to be on that short list of most valuable employees who get to stay?? You taught me so many best practices about the job search process, but now I need to learn best practices in becoming a competitive candidate internally, increasing the odds that I get to keep my job.

Thank you for your thoughts.

An appreciative client,


Dear Kelly,

I’m so glad you continue to enjoy your new position and of course, so sorry to hear that there will be layoffs at your company. The world of employment moves very quickly these days with mergers, acquisitions, leadership changes, cost cutting measures, global market changes, and many variables that make downsizing a very common occurrence. So I think your question is an excellent one, and one that many readers will find relevant.  In fact, this is such an important topic that I will divide into two articles, each offering four proven strategies to bolster your chances of keeping your job during a downsizing:

1.COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR MANAGER. Let your manager know that you realize a layoff is on the horizon and reiterate your commitment to your job and your desire to be retained.  Present recent key deliverables and the priorities of your work as you see it,  and ask for feedback and ways you can increase your value and impact. This is the time to SHOW UP, not phase out, as some employees who are fearful, begin to do.

2. DO RESEARCH. Google to find out all you can about  the company that will be acquiring yours. Learn about their culture, leadership, priorities and  operating style. Check in  to read employee reviews. You might learn ways you can parlay and position your experience to show relevant impact and value.

3. UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE AND POST INDUSTRY NEWS. Even though your intent is to retain your position, start a soft but decisive campaign to position yourself for a new job, internally or externally. Update your Linkedin profile and resume to include new skills and accomplishments. Recruiters are active on social media and  always looking for attractive, skilled candidates. Add vibrancy, recency and power to your online presence by adding posts about any industry leadership activities, new credentials or  awards.

4. START AN INTERNAL PUBLIC RELATIONS (PR) CAMPAIGN: Prepare for and schedule internal informational interviews with key managers in your company. Prepare questions about upcoming strategies and priorities for their organizations. Remind them of your skills and accomplishments. Layoffs often include reorganizations that results in moving of employees from one group to another. Be  proactive and let other managers, who may be allotted additional headcount, get to know you as a resource!

And of course, pick and choose to use the strategies that best fit your style and your work environment. By making yourself a more assertive, knowledgeable and proactive employee, you will increase the odds of securing your job, while inviting new opportunities as well.

And look forward to  PART II with four additional ways to secure your job and avoid being laid off.

All the best,

Coach Joan