Almost every day, the headlines report more layoffs. As economic uncertainty continues, more companies are cutting staff in several industries.
For employees, the prospect of losing a job can be scary. But keep in mind that most layoffs involve only a small percentage of a company’s entire workforce. If you’re worried about the possibility of a layoff, consider taking these steps to boost your value at work and potentially protect your job.
Improve Your Skills
Being able to do more than what’s expected of you is a great way to set yourself apart from your colleagues. Take time to learn new skills, such as additional software programs, coding languages, or other technical abilities. You can also take courses online or join professional associations to stay up to date on the latest trends in your industry.
Proactively Take on New Projects
Demonstrate your value by showing your employer that you are willing to take on new projects and challenges. Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and suggest ideas that could help the company. This shows that you are invested in the success of the organization and are willing to go the extra mile.
If your company stops replacing departed employees to cut costs, look for ways that you can help fill the void. Maybe you can take on a couple of tasks that were previously handled by another employee or share their work among your team.
Network and Build Relationships
Networking can be a powerful way to make yourself more valuable at work. Make an effort to build relationships with others inside your company in various departments, and nurture your external network by attending industry events and conferences to meet new people and stay up to date on the latest developments in your field.
A strong network will boost your value to your employer, as you may be able to facilitate connections with new partners, customers, or vendors. A strong network will also be helpful to you personally if you do get laid off or if you just decide to look for a new opportunity.
A management study showed that when people have a choice of whether to work with a “competent jerk” or a “lovable fool,” they’re much more likely to choose work partners based on likability than ability. That doesn’t mean competence is irrelevant, but it does mean that being easy to get along with can make a difference. If managers are faced with choosing which employees to keep and which to lay off, a person who is positive and collaborative may have an advantage over someone who is whiny, easily annoyed, or combative.
Taking these steps may help you protect your job during an uncertain economic environment, and they will also help position you to bounce back quicker if you do experience a layoff. In addition to working to protect your job, it’s important to face economic uncertainty realistically by continuing to sharpen your professional skills and strengthen your financial situation by increasing savings and monitoring your credit.
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