How to remain resilient during layoffs

how to remain resilient through layoffs

Are you a technologist wondering how you can stand out from the crowd and retain your job during these tough economic times? If the answer is yes, then this article is for you!

US today reported that the tech industry added 1.3 million workers in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is an indication that there was a hiring boom.  In 2020 the Tech industry experienced a season of layoffs and then recovered in 2021. There were so many job opportunities in 2021, so much so that people felt confident in resigning from their roles, and switching jobs to work in remote, flexible environments. It’s now known as the great resignation, or ‘the great reshuffle.’

Sadly, due to recent uncertainty in the Tech industry, companies are once again forced into restructuring their teams and making layoffs.  https://layoffs.fyi/ has been tracking the numbers. A number of reasons have been highlighted for these layoffs, the main ones being;

  • Turbulent economic times – Fears of a recession have seen consumers reduce expenditure, which has impacted revenue for many organizations.
  • Change of strategy – Organizations seem to be embracing the idea that the more lean they are, the more efficient they will be, e.g. the layoffs announced recently by Meta and Twitter.
  • Product evolution and transformation – Companies are becoming more focused on product profitability and are choosing to drop off products or projects that are not bearing much fruit, which is resulting in reorganization and restructuring.
  • Over-hiring – it’s also been clear that most tech organizations anticipated growth after covid and therefore expanded. Unfortunately, business is not doing well for most and they have to downsize.

How can a Tech expert stay resilient and relevant during this current employment crisis?

  1. Understand your company vision or purpose for being – Ensure that you understand your company vision and that your role is aligned with the vision. If you are a software engineer, ask yourself whether the feature that you are working on speaks to the company vision. If it doesn’t, determine whether you should move into another team that is more aligned with the vision. Is it possible to make adjustments and align the product you are working on with the vision? Have these important conversations with the product team and other stakeholders.
  1. Deliver business value – Be sure to deliver business value; don’t just focus on your day to day. Rather, look for ways to increase value from a business perspective. Is it participating in conversations and offering ideas on how you can maximize the product value by releasing early and often to keep a tight feedback loop with the market? Whatever you do, ensure that it impacts the company profits/bottomline.
  1. Participate in strategic conversations – Most of the time, strategic conversations happen in management. However, it’s those people working closely on the product and its users that have the most insight on what would work best. Be sure to share your insights and empower your management team to make good business decisions. These insights can be shared as part of a status report, during sprint reviews, or during backlog grooming sessions with the product owners.
  1. Understand your KPIs – Ensure that you understand your KPIs and frequently assess whether they’re still aligned with your organization’s strategic goals. If not then you need to come up with suggestions of KPIs that do align and discuss them with your team lead. KPIs are indicators of progress that provide a focus for strategic and operational improvement.
  1. Build relationships across your organization – relationships are key and they’re helpful when you need to move departments or drive strategic decisions. Not only should you build relations with your peers, but also with decision makers in various departments that you interact with as you deliver. This can be done through 1:1 meetings, or networking during industry or company events.
  1. Master your craft: Ensure that you have such a comprehensive knowledge in your area of expertise that people in your organization or industry will see you as a point of authority. This will increase your marketability so that even if you were affected by layoffs, you would not stay without a job. If you would like to learn how to master your craft, here is an article that highlights some of the steps you can take.
  1. Constantly stay up to date with modern trends: There is a lot going on in the tech ecosystem especially in AI, AR, VR and blockchain fronts. Some organizations, for example Meta, could be laying off workers with a plan to change strategy and focus on entirely different products that required different skillsets, for example CNBC reported that Meta has trained a new AI language model called LLaMA.
  1. Be an agent of change: Identify the Muda(Waste), Mura(inconsistency) and Muri(excessiveness) in your organization, and come up with ways to help your organization become more efficient.
  1. Understand what your customer needs are – Since the current economic status has been identified as one of the reasons for global layoffs, it’s important to identify your customer needs and do all you can to prevent churn that is caused by factors within your control, including seeking regular feedback from your customers on how satisfied they are.
  1. Have the attitude of a leader – realize that you are the expert in your domain and be comfortable giving guidance and direction on best practices, or solutions, to the present day pain points. Read our article on six steps to becoming a tech leader!

Following the above tips won’t prevent your company from making their employees – including you – redundant. However, the points are designed to help you ensure that anything within your control is taken care of. When impacted, remember that the layoffs have nothing to do with your performance, but are a result of the current economic times.

Better days are definitely on the horizon. This will not last forever and hey, chances are that you will find a role that’s even more exciting than your current job!

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