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Staying Employed in a Recession

The world is going through a financial recession and, unfortunately, recessions usually mean people are losing their jobs so companies can save money. It's natural to be worried about keeping your job in times like this but there are things you can do to help stay employed. So, let's take a look at what you can do to make yourself a more valuable employee, and less likely to be asked to leave.

 

Think About Moving to Sales


Companies cut jobs to save money in recessions, so one way to make your job more secure is to have a position that makes your company money. Sales departments bring money into companies directly, and that usually means they are the last jobs to be cut.

Think about whether you could move into the sales division or a sales-based position like a cloud architect, enterprise architect, solution architect, sales engineer, or any other position that works to bring money in. Don't worry if sales is not an option for you, there are other things you can try below!

 

Be Easy to Work With


Whatever your position, be easy to work with. When jobs get cut, people with smaller, weaker social networks are often the first to go. It's also a good opportunity for managers to remove people they dislike, or just don't know the value of.

You could improve your value to your company by working on your attitude and enthusiasm. Make it clear how much you care about your team and believe in the business overall. Just be careful to keep your enthusiasm to a level that is not tiring to be around, and try not to suddenly change your attitude overnight. Increase your visible enthusiasm more naturally over at least a few days.

 

Be Consistent


Companies value consistency - the perfect employee is one who, when given a task, will do it well, be on time, and be honest about any feedback. In times of financial uncertainty consistency is even more highly valued, people don't want to take risks. Aim to be as consistent and reliable as you can. People will rely on you, trust you, and be less likely to close your position.


Part of being consistent is also being consistently you. We can naturally sense when someone around us is wearing a 'mask' and not being their true self. So, how can you be your true self and increase your enthusiasm? Isn't that a mask? Not really.


Strengthening your true emotions a little is positive thinking and it's really helpful at times like this. Masking is saying you love skiing when you hate it or telling a colleague you love their ideas, and then telling another colleague how bad you really think they are. Stay who you are, just encourage yourself to be a little more positive at work.


Being yourself doesn't mean telling everyone your deepest secrets, moving your personal boundaries, or trying to be friends with everyone, it means being the same person each day. We trust consistency because it's difficult to lie for a long time! So, do be easy to work with, but keep your personal boundaries, what you share, and your work personality the same over time.

 

Be Careful

Don't join in with any 'office gossip' with co-workers. That seems obvious, right? But it's easier to say than done, especially when people are worried about their jobs.

Employee Action

What the Supervisor Might See

Alternative Action

Shows sympathy for a colleague who is losing their job by saying it's a bad decision.

An employee splitting their team by encouraging disagreement with their supervisor.

Tell your colleague you understand it is a difficult time for them but think things will work out OK.

Tells their co-workers they are stressed and worried about losing their job.

An employee stressing out their colleagues, encouraging splitting, and reducing productivity.

Talk to your friends, family, or even a therapist, and save your thoughts for a safer audience.

Shares a funny fact with their teammates about their supervisor, to make people smile.

An employee splitting the team and threatening their supervisor's authority.

Encourage a 'we can do this' attitude in your co-workers. Share jokes about safe, non-work topics.

Invests less effort into their work because they are feeling low.

A disinterested employee with low productivity who is demotivating their colleagues

Prioritize keeping your effort and productivity consistent, to show your value as an employee.

 

Get Involved in Big Projects

Getting involved in large company projects, especially highly important, difficult projects nobody else wants to do, is a great way to keep your job. When looking for people to fire, you are more likely to be low on the list because you are working on a significant project. Nobody wants to say goodbye to someone who does the difficult and unpopular tasks, or someone who is a valued part of an important long-term project.

 

Share Your Talents and Skills


You might think the best plan to keep your job is to keep your specialist skills to yourself, but experts are expensive and can be high on the list to say goodbye to. So, what's more valuable than an expert? An expert who trains the whole team!


Sharing your expertise and supporting your team demonstrates that you aren't just an expert, you can help rebuild a team of skilled colleagues when the economy improves. Demonstrating your enthusiasm for coaching and bringing out the best in your team makes you a more valuable employee. So, develop and use your leadership skills. Let your manager know how determined you are to support your business.

 

Develop Your Own Skills


Invest some time in self-development. Adding to your skills and refreshing what you already know makes you a good employee to keep on the team, and a better applicant for other companies if you do need to go.


Look up the key skills and competencies needed for your current job and the position above you. Then use your self-development time to take courses and educate yourself ready to compete for your current job, or even a better one! If you aren't sure what to work on you can't go too far wrong with leadership, sales, emotional intelligence, and business skills.


Recessions can often encourage companies to fire and hire. Restructuring your company isn't just an opportunity to reduce staff numbers, it's a good time to hire one highly skilled employee with the flexibility to work in three different roles when needed.


Sites for online courses to develop your skills:

 

Wrap Up


Reducing staff sizes is an unpleasant task for business leaders, and not a priority when things are going well, but it's essential when in financial difficulty. When a recession hits, smart leaders see opportunity as well as difficult times to come.


Recessions can be a chance for business leaders to make big changes to:

  • Stop negative team dynamics by removing the staff involved.

  • Increasing staff productivity by removing inconsistent team members.

  • Hire less expensive employees.

  • Hire more flexible and skilled employees.


Knowing what companies are looking for in a recession is your secret weapon to staying employed! Get involved in long-term projects, be a team fixer and not a team splitter, refresh your skills and learn new competencies, share your knowledge with those around you, and make yourself someone it's too hard to say goodbye to. Then, no matter what happens, you are still in an excellent position to move into a similar or better role somewhere else. You've got this!

 

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