Do you feel marginalised? Do you have concerns that your job tasks are being taken over by a new hire or a coworker? Do you suspect there are meetings to which you’re not invited? You may not be paranoid. Many employers do take such actions in preparation, or in hopes, of getting rid of disfavoured employees. So while you shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions without investigating the overall picture, make sure you don’t ignore any warning signs.
A recent survey conducted by online career website, Careeerbuilder.com found 27 per cent of the 2,000 survey US employers have a current direct report that they would like to see leave their company. Their ways of handling the situation vary, however. For example, 42 per cent of managers said they would issue a formal warning, 27 per cent would point out shortcomings more often and 21 per cent would reduce responsibilities. Hiring someone else to eventually replace the unwanted employee got 12 per cent.
Knowing these warning signs can help employees get a final opportunity to move quickly and efficiently to salvage their jobs. They also have to know whether the situation at this stage can be rectified or it would be for them to look elsewhere and be psychologically prepared for an exit. Here a few points to keep in mind:
Read the signs
Make sure that you’re reading the signs correctly. While it is true that many employers may use these mentioned tactics to distance disfavored employees before they are replaced, there could be other reasons — like bringing to the employee’s attention that improvement is needed or even offering an opportunity for the employee to ask for help. Alternatively, there could be a company-wide redistribution of responsibilities that doesn’t reflect necessarily on any individual employee’s skills. So don’t just give up and decide to move on at the sight of the first red flag. Still, take the situation seriously and try to get the bottom of what is going on. If you’re concious of your performance and abilities, you should have some clues as to what extent this is related to your performance.
If your employment situation has reached a stage where being fired has become a likely fate, you should have an idea about what has gone wrong -- low productivity, poor team spirit, failure to meet goals, negative attitude. Be honest in taking responsibility for your mistakes. In addition, ask your supervisors for an honest assessment and a roadmap to get out of this situation. Focus on getting a set of achievable goals within a clear time frame. By acting immediately on addressing and eliminating problems, you can make a much-needed impression that you’re changing. In the mentioned survey, 63 per cent of the employers said that improving work quality is the best way to solve this situation.
Get back in action
Eight per cent of employers surveyed by Careebuilder.com said they would keep the disfavored employee out of the loop regarding new company developments and another six per cent mentioned they wouldn’t invite the person to certain meetings and projects. If you’ve sensed that you’re being excluded from work activities, perhaps now is the time to set a plan for getting back in action. This plan shouldn’t just be limited to asking to be involved. Instead, try to take a proactive role in breaking through the wall of secrecy, finding out more about these projects and offering actual assistance.
Have a backup plan
Parallel to your efforts in salvaging your job, check out alternatives. Sometime the damage may be too great to reverse or perhaps the employer has gone so far into the process of prepping a replacement that whatever you do you’re not going to keep your job. That is why trying to find another job may help be prepared for the worst, or perhaps be able to resign before getting fired, which looks better on your resume. Make sure you keep your job-hunting efforts discreet, however.
Set a future plan
If you survive this crisis and keep your job, it is important that you will be able to go forward without holding a grudge. Fifty-nine per cent of the surveyed employers mentioned that this ability is essential to repairing work relationships. In addition, don’t turn this negative experience a topic of gossip with coworkers. Start anew, avoid past pitfalls, and try to keep your sight on how to prove your ability to outperform expectations.
Rania Oteify, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is currently an editor based in Seattle
Survive the ax
• Know the warning signs
• Act immediately to reverse the damage
• Keep an eye for jobs
• Go forward without a grudge