As company staffs shrink, work to redirect yourself

Some companies were still shrinking as recently as 2012, Seattle-based PayScale Inc. says. PayScale reports amassing compensation data with 36 million salary profiles. More than a fifth (21 percent) of large organizations shrank, while 17 percent of both small and medium-sized companies did.

Samuel Dyer, board chairman at the Medical Science Liaison Society in Highland Beach, Fla., says pharmaceutical industry companies are downsizing, slowing down and realigning resources because traditional pharmaceutical sales have dramatically shrunk.

Rich Romano, senior account executive at Wakefield, Mass., information technology staffing firm Eliassen Group LLC, says some companies are growing rapidly, while others are downsizing. He predicts that large financial institutions will shrink.

If you’re happy in your current organization but it’s cutting staff and/or not refilling positions, what can you do? Eduardo Senf of Chicago, in transition to his next senior management position, says companies struggle when they trim staff.

“Having an open conversation with the employer helps both parties by taking employee stress away,” he says, particularly when the employer helps in the search.

Recruit your manager to serve as an internal reference, Romano suggests. And be certain your manager and human resources know you want to continue working there, advises Diane Bogut, a former staffing firm manager and current job seeker in Wexford, Pa.


Romano recommends being proactive, beginning with building relationships in strong parts of the organization.

“Go to the person in that other division and present yourself with one page, not a resume, showing what you’ve been able to accomplish in the old division,” Dyer says. “Don’t rely on a friend of a friend or give it to a person in HR.

“(Demonstrate) not only the value you bring but activities similar to that functional area, through hot topics or key indicators.”

You’re essentially career-changing within the organization.

Understand that you’re best qualified to convey the value you’ve brought to the organization, Dyer says. Assure professionalism by pulling back and removing any emotion before you begin speaking.

“Move the conversation from ‘I will cost you $X’ to ‘Hiring me will generate or save $Y,’ ” says Gaetan Giannini, dean of the School of Adult and Graduate Education at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa.

“This can come as knowledge of systems, demonstrated performance in developing business, cost reduction or a reference to knowing the right people to help the business succeed,” Giannini says.

Did a line of employees precede you to the plum employer? If so, Romano says to pull out your internal reference, such as your boss or a co-worker, or even someone from outside who knows someone internally and can help you stand out.

If you’ve felt comfortable working at the company for some time, you may be reluctant to take these steps. Take a break from everyday life’s the distractions and imagine a day, a week, then a month with your familiar routine shattered.

If you’ve motivated yourself to do things for the company, you can motivate yourself to walk down this unfamiliar path.

Avoid the danger in not trying, Romano adds, even if everyone ahead of you in line was turned down.

“Ask for the job or you’ll be kicking yourself,” he explains. “When you leave, go around to people telling them you enjoyed working with them on a project. They may end up hiring you then — it happens all the time — or a month later when they get a new project or new funding.”

Giving them the chance to welcome you in their area gives you the chance to redirect your career.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at © 2013 Passage Media.