Suddenly losing your job because the company you’re working for can be devastating, especially when you didn’t see it coming.
That said, there are many contributing factors behind the fall of each company, be it a small startup business or large multinational companies (MNCs). We have written about how certain job positions will gradually extinct and replaced by Artificial intelligence (AI), and how companies failed to adapt to modern technology fast enough.
Before you hit the panic button, here are seven common signs to watch out for at work to know if you are on a sinking ship.
#1 Constant Payment Delays
A company that has trouble managing cash flow and paying salaries on time are often one of the first signs employees should pay special attention to. According to the Employment Act, employers must pay salaries to employees at least once a month and within 7 days after the end of the salary period.
The fall of Infinium Robotics, a company specialising in indoor drone technology, was a great case study for everyone to learn from. According to an inside scoop from TechInAsia, the former employees shared how their salaries had been delayed for months until the company stopped paying them entirely.
“Every week he (employer) would say our salaries would come this day. You’d wait for that pay but it didn’t come,” one said. Days turned to weeks, then months. “(The delays) got longer and longer, and at some point he just stopped paying.”
#2 Delay In Product Launches
When a company struggles to deliver and has been postponing product launches over and over again, it is definitely something an employee shouldn’t mistaken as pure rotten luck. The inability to deliver as planned shows a lot more about the company’s poor performance management.
Since March last year, BlackBerry finally pulled out from producing smartphones and changed their focus to developing and licensing secure device software. With the multiple delays on their BlackBerry 10 OS launch, their shift of business direction didn’t come as shocking news to people in the tech scene. Consumers were starting to trend towards iOS and Android phones while they took their time to launch the much-anticipated BlackBerry 10. When the BlackBerry 10 finally launched in 2013, it was simply too late for them to recover their market share.
#3 Management Issues
If a company changes their mission statements almost every other day, chances are that they have little directives on what they want to achieve and let alone, the ability to lead their staff.
Hewlett- Packard (HP) was well-known for its dysfunctional board when they announced plans to merge with Compaq back in 2001. The company went through a whole series of hiring and firing at the Management level, changing three CEOs in less than two years. The moves have shaken confidence in the company’s leadership. In 2015, HP cut down more than 30,000 staff due to the restructuring of HP and HP Enterprise.
#4 Freeze Of Headcount
A headcount freeze helps a company to limit costs. That also means no new positions can be created and existing open roles cannot be filled. Even if the department is severely understaffed, employees will have to make do with the remaining resources they have, however long the company plans to unfreeze the headcount.
You may have heard about ‘frozen headcount’ towards the end of each year, especially from people in the banking sector. Some companies implement this to reassure shareholders that they are serious about cutting costs, while some are affected by the economic and business slowdown.
#5 Layoffs And Constant Restructuring
When the key players in the company starts leaving one after another, it is a clear sign that something is not quite right. The sudden restructuring at Nuffnang with both founders, Cheo Ming Shen (also known as Boss Ming) and Timothy Tiah, stepping down from the company with no clear reasons apart from a vague response on one of Timothy’s blog entry, left everyone in the suspense wondering what actually happened with the Management. If it left us outsiders thinking about the future of Nuffnang, we are certain that the employees have thousands other concerns about their roles after the restructuring.
#6 Losing More Deals Than Winning
The company starts losing big clients and struggles to clinch new ones. These clients cover your paycheck and that explains why you should really be worried about your rice bowl if the company is losing more deals than clinching new ones.
#7 Hearing Rumors Everywhere
Rumors may not be true at times but if words have been going around about the health of the company, you may want to take special observations on the movements in the office to verify if the rumors are true. The fall of Carrefour gives us a good assessment of how rumors could give employees a good head start of what is about to come. Rumors were speculating around internally about the closure of their two stores at Suntec City and Plaza Singapura, and the aggressive stock clearance during the last two months became a clear indication to the staff that the rumors were true.
If You Are On A Sinking Ship, What Should You Do?
As a dedicated employee, you may ask yourself if there is anything else you can do to prevent your company from sinking. Regardless of your role at the company, we think it is important to continue to motivate your peers and encourage everyone to put in their best effort to push through this difficult period together. At the end of the day, a good employee will always be remembered till the very last moment at the company and leaving on a good note will bring you great referral benefits and unexpected opportunities in the future.
DollarsAndSense.sg aims to provide interesting, bite-sized financial articles that are relevant to all Singaporeans. Subscribe to our free e-newsletter to receive exclusive content not available anywhere else. Also follow us on Instagram to get your dose of finance knowledge visually.