It is quite common today to hear news of companies laying off, organizations initiating hiring freezes, and small- and large-sized businesses closing. Those currently searching for new employment opportunities are faced with numerous challenges, but what about those who are already employed? In this economy it is vital you take some important steps to help protect your current position, pay, and standing.
To this end, the old adage "the best defense is a good offense" is as true as ever, so consider these strategies:
Companies across all sectors are forecasting plummeting sales and growth; for example, The New York Post recently reported, as just one example, that Clear Channel Communications has begun restructuring and reallocating resources.1 To survive these changes, remain adaptable and accommodating, whether it means taking on a different work schedule, shifting job responsibilities, or relinquishing that optional pet project.
When managers are told to lay off 10% of the team, you will want to be sure you are at the top of the list of performers. Consider advice in a recent article in the Business & Technology section of The Seattle Times: "By assuming additional responsibilities, you demonstrate how you can increase value for the corporation."2 Now, more than ever, you want to be sure you demonstrate a willingness to contribute and ability to outperform peers.
Now is also a good time to assess your skill set and identify any training or qualifications that can round out your professional profile. A recent article by Money Magazine suggests that having specialty skills others do not possess can provide "a true competitive edge."3
Managers and accounting departments must focus on the bottom line. Make sure your work shows that you have a bottom-line focus, as well. When possible, volunteer for extra projects or responsibilities and be ready to accept the toughest assignments. In short, Mitchell Ashley with Networkworld.com—a leading resource for IT Executives—suggests: "Make sure you know what's important to your employer's business, really important, and align yourself with the priorities of the business."4
Companies are looking for ways to save money and energy costs are increasingly a top priority. With the current push to "go green," taking action that will save energy costs while encouraging your manager and colleagues to participate will further increase your value. The website Planet Green suggests switching to compact fluorescent bulbs, turning off your computer monitor during lunch, printing less, and reusing supplies.
Considering these steps, monitoring global economic changes impacting your industry, and remaining aware of the cultural climate at your company will help to maximize your success in this complex market.