Whilst trying to get a feel for the number of job losses à la crunch I stumbled across an article in the Telegraph by Jamie Dunkley on the 2nd February titled Financial Crisis: Job Losses. It’s worth a read as he diligently lists the 83,368 job losses in the four months prior (UK). And according to an influential report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development due to be published tomorrow, it seems that two out of five employers plan redundancies in the next three months.
This all begs a key question – what criteria will those who decide the fate of this soon to be unemployed workforce use to make their decisions? The obvious – closure of unprofitable business units will see unnecessary, un-transferable skills and expertise go first. The fat will be cut and under performing individuals will be next on the list. Plans for growth and expansion will be shelved for the time being and with it the associated headcount. And then the difficult bit. The bit that is based on how people are perceived vs. any of the above.
I was consulting with a client who was employed by one of the financial giants that lost its footing recently. He and a number of his team were subsequently re-employed by the organisation that bought out selected business units. He described the agonising process of picking the few who would stay. The cut was 30 out of an original team of 100. The under performers and skills mismatch were a no brainer, which left him with 60. Losing the remaining 30 was difficult to say the least. All qualified, experienced, skilled – all technically right for the roles.
It eventually boiled down to perceived soft skills and relationships. Now we all know that perception is reality. Or I should say, perception is a form of reality. It can be demonstrably false, and all too often it is. Those with the perceived soft skill smarts stayed, and those without, left.
There could not be a more urgent need for all of us to take a good look at the impressions we are creating in the minds of those who can and may affect our success in the future. And I am talking all areas that have an influence – our bosses, clients, investors, employees, suppliers, business partners, colleagues. Its not rocket science, its not complicated – but it does need attention, soonest.
At times like these, extraordinary times, some settle into an inertia born of a perceived lack of control over their destinies. And others reach determinedly for the next rung. They both take the same amount of energy with very different outcomes.
Learn how: Personal Branding – The Competitive Edge