Layoffs aplenty: How do you avoid losing your job?

The Israeli economy is at the beginning of a widespread wave of layoffs. How do you avoid the naughty list this year? Here are some tips from experts. 

 A woman is frustrated while working from her computer with notebooks all around her (Illustrative) (photo credit: PXHERE)
A woman is frustrated while working from her computer with notebooks all around her (Illustrative)
(photo credit: PXHERE)

Amid widespread layoffs that have plagued the world in the past few months, all of Israel's workforce is nervous, no matter the industry. 

The layoffs in Israel began amid the increase in interest rates in the economy, which increased the expenses of companies while decreasing the demand for their services and products.

As a result, various employers have already decided to tighten their belts, among other things, by reducing the number of employees in the organization.

Several of the companies active in Israel, along with a number of large Israeli companies, have also announced layoffs, including Google, Strauss, SodaStream, the Postal Authority, Lahabim Technology, and Israchart, which will send hundreds of employees off to find another source of income.

Intel, as well, is also shrinking down its workforce in Israel, either through direct layoffs or through what can be defined as "less but painful" voluntary early retirement.

 Two women talking at work, problem-solving together (Illustrative) (credit: PEXELS) Two women talking at work, problem-solving together (Illustrative) (credit: PEXELS)

This is supposedly an understandable process. If, for example, you employ 120 employees, it is likely that in an era of economic difficulty, you will regretfully lay off about 20 of them in order to keep the business alive and to keep the other 100 employed. 

However, not all employers foresee an imminent cash flow problem, and they certainly aren't experiencing anything of the sort today. Others claim that they are simply taking advantage of the increasing uncertainty in the global and Israeli economy since the beginning of the year in order to streamline or refresh the ranks of employees.

As a result, we're seeing employers who are laying people off continuing to hire new employees.

This results in a somewhat confusing situation, during which, on the one hand, a spotlight is directed at the wave of layoffs, which is claimed to be a preparation for a difficult economic situation that is expected to arrive, and alongside it is an equally powerful spotlight aimed at a record demand for workers in Israel.

The main demand stems from the same industry that started the wave of layoffs in light of the closing of investors' pockets - the hi-tech industry, where dozens of Israeli companies recently laid off workers.

In a situation where most of the workers remain in the workplace, while others are thrown out of it, the question arises whether workers who are not involved in any workers' unions can keep the looming threat of layoffs at bay.

"Employees can be perceived as problem solvers, as a positive force that motivates the workers around them and even as critical factors for the company," said Dr. Gil Hafzadi.

"Employees can be perceived as problem solvers, as a positive force that motivates the workers around them and even as critical factors for the company."

Dr. Gil Hafzadi

Hafzadi is a former district psychologist and director of career development in the Southern District of the Employment Service who currently studies the world of work and career management at the Faculty of Management at Ben-Gurion University.

The basis of maintaining our value as employees in the workplace is, according to Hafzadi, believing in ourselves and in our contribution to the company. 

Hafzadi says that managers are already used to employees coming to them with problems, but employees who come with suggestions for improvement and solutions are uncommon and are exactly what their managers are looking for.

Employees also need to emphasize their value to the organization by learning about their work environment and examining the glasses through which management examines them.

In this regard, employees should take on more responsibility and initiative in the work routine, Hafzadi says, as well as offer assistance to other employees, volunteer to perform tasks in the company that colleagues do not really like to perform, participate more in team meetings and initiate the raising of new ideas.

Read the room

"It is worthwhile for the employees to read the room by asking for feedback on their work and through this to try and understand what impression they and their work has left in the company," Hafzadi said. "The simplest way to do this would be to ask for feedback on the work, which is an opportunity to initiate a conversation with the direct manager and express your satisfaction with the workplace."

It is also worth raising the topic of seeing yourself as a long-term part of the company in front of one's direct manager. "The very opening of such a conversation will show the seriousness which one feels towards the workplace and the work alongside a desire to improve, and this is one of the most required skills in workplaces today," he said.

Along with all of this, we must also take care to promote ourselves within the work environment. Not promote in terms of a job promotion, of course, but rather to promote one's image. 

For example, did you receive an emotional "thank you" email from a client? Did you detect a serious glitch in the system that no one was aware of? Did you successfully complete a project? Well done to you, but it is still up to you to ensure that your manager knows of your successes, too.

There are casual ways to bring this up. Employees can, for example, write to the direct manager, forward the relevant email, or alternatively mention something positive by passing in the work group chat. Even telling your boss by passing in the hallway is a good way to go.

Judging by the words of Hafzadi, who monitored the layoffs and PTOs throughout the coronavirus crisis, if you work with pleasure and wholeheartedly, you may become a positive force in the eyes of the employer and strengthen your position in the company.

You must be careful, however, not to fall into a place where the employer exploits you.