How Layoffs Can Be ‘Wrong’: When Employees Are Found to Be Underutilized

What portion of the layoffs can be attributed to either excessive hiring or employees not fully utilized? About 25% of employees report not being able to use their strengths at work every day, a survey reveals. A similar study by Gloat found that over a third of minority employees have skills that are not being tapped by their employer.

Companies may not be seeing their employees’ potential for a reason; they’re difficult to capture at scale. Now add AI (artificial intelligence) into the mix — and how employers may take their side, too, thinking they can do everything — and you’ve got yourself quite a challenge.

Global mobility professionals are doing this tightrope act — between employers and their talents. Too often, companies will often want answers and disregard insights — which can be valuable and one that AI cannot provide. 

In the age of AI, are human insights going to take a backseat to AI?

Employees will need to step up and imbibe psychological resilience amid the current job and layoff climate, and effect of AI on a company’s hiring policies. Staying determined, persistent and realistic will become even more important.

Here’s a list of how humans can still surpass the capabilities of artificial intelligence:

Creative Thinking

Generating novel ideas, making intuitive leaps, and discovering innovative solutions through unconstrained thinking. Innovation remains exclusively human, for now. Hypothesizing, experimenting and evaluating are creative processes that exceed AI’s capabilities. AI lacks human creativity when it comes to relevance, topicality and context. 

Emotional Intelligence – Understanding emotional cues, expressing empathy, and building rapport through shared experiences. AI does not experience human emotions.

Generalizing Knowledge – Gleaning conceptual knowledge from one domain and applying flexibly to entirely new domains. Humans learn adaptively.

Common Sense – Drawing on years of accumulated basic facts about the world that AI lacks, allowing reasoning and problem solving.

Open-ended Learning – Humans have an innate curiosity and adaptability that allows picking up new skills and knowledge in unstructured ways.

Introspection – The ability to reflect inwards, evaluate our own thought processes, and be aware of our consciousness. AI currently does not have true self-awareness.

Human Judgment – Exercising subjective decision-making, weighting nuanced factors, and making value-based choices relying on wisdom. Who will define company culture? Not AI. Company culture is built and reinforced by people, meaning you and your peers.

While AI capabilities are rapidly advancing, there remain profoundly human skills rooted in people’s consciousness and subjective experiences that AI cannot yet truly replicate: human creativity.

Of course, AI has downsides if poorly implemented — job displacement, biased algorithms, loss of accountability. Proper governance is essential. AI’s immediate business benefit is clear – massive productivity gains. But its true promise is unlocking human potential.

Employers and global mobility professional managers can unlock that and maximize the potential of their talents to make sure that they can contribute more to their organization. It’s more important now than ever for employees to band — and bond — together. 

It’s more imperative than ever to make assignees’ voices count. On a cultural level, here are some ways they can encourage this camaraderie, so employees don’t feel left out. 

Help them build personal connections with their peers

Remote work is not providing any help in terms of building personal connections. They will need the extra effort to forge relationships with new an dexisting team members, particularly those adjusting to remote work or a hybrid environment, so they can champion causes that will be beneficial for the company. 

Seemingly small gestures can yield significant impact. Colleagues will perceive you as a positive ally, resource, or even a friend — all of which amplify influence and growth potential. Furthermore, cultivating more friendships enhances your overall job satisfaction.

Remember, having a “best friend at work” is a strong predictor of long-term engagement. Since you spend 40 to 50 hours weekly with your coworkers, it’s worthwhile to enjoy their company.

Celebrate and innovate in the workplace

Recognizing and celebrating teammates’ contributions fosters a positive culture, even if it’s within a department. Actions convey that you’re attentive, acknowledge others’ efforts, and champion their work.

You can also show your colleagues that you value them holistically through subtle yet powerful gestures. Remind your team of birthdays and work anniversaries, and encourage support during significant life events. These simple acts foster a genuine culture of care. Consider this: without someone organizing dates, gathering funds for a cake, and prompting signatures on a thoughtful card, there’s no celebration!

Provide support without resentment 

When a manager offers additional accommodations to a coworker, it’s natural to feel envious or resentful. For example, a young, healthy colleague might work extra hours to assist senior coworkers with family needs. In such situations, one can either see themselves as a victim or as someone stepping up to help others in need.

Remember, everyone faces challenges. Empathy reveals that you can’t truly grasp what someone else is experiencing, whether you interact daily or pass by occasionally.

This doesn’t imply becoming a doormat. Strive for a balance between saying “no” and “yes,” without resentment. Consider the impact of cheerfully supporting a colleague during a tough time. Eventually, you’ll require assistance too.

Contribute to a culture of mutual support

Lead by example. Many companies encourage employees to join resource groups, short-term projects, or committees dedicated to improving the workplace. Participation is beneficial. It expands networks, hones in communication skills, displays willingness to shoulder responsibilities, and enhances the work environment. Additionally, be a dependable and compassionate role model, especially for newcomers.

If you possess job security and a strong reputation, take it a step further by practicing self-empowerment openly. This encourages others to do the same. Embrace real lunch breaks, utilize vacation time, lead the way in using benefits like extended parental leave, or provide constructive feedback to your boss. Be the team leader who unapologetically demonstrates that prioritizing your well-being is acceptable and often necessary.

While advice often centers on managers for fostering positive team cultures, you too can play a crucial role. Change requires initiative, and that initiative need not solely stem from leadership positions. It requires a leader, and with some creativity, empathy, and proactive effort, that leader can be you, not an AI.