Last week one of my senior leadership clients told me that he didn’t feel safe at work. His boss was eliminated, and the company was re-organized recently. This speaks to the current trend of business. When businesses are not seeing the revenue growth as expected, they will cut their workforces and re-organize in order to cut costs. For example, in August HP converted hundreds of employee positions into contracting ones. The employees who lost their positions were transitioned out of payroll, and as a result, HP didn’t have to pay them benefits anymore.
The bottom line of business has become the highest priority in our current economy. Employees and leaders who recognize this reality don’t feel safe about their jobs security.
Under these circumstances, the first question one should ask is, “How can I add value to the company’s bottom line?” Often times, when one doesn’t feel safe, he/she will manipulate data in order to look good or take on more work to show his/her commitment. None of these practices will take one too far. A better approach is to be very clear on the company’s strategy and figure out ways to support it by using your strengths. Therefore, you want to develop self-awareness on your strengths and make sure you are in a position to leverage them.
A second question to ask is, “What skills do I need to be up to date for the current job market?” This is often asked reactively when one loses his/her job. A better approach is to be proactive: keep up on the market trends, know the skills in high demand, and be able to maximize your value as an employee based on this knowledge. For some people, this can be difficult when work pressure is too high. However, spending 15 to 30 minutes a day studying your field will not only increase your options in the job market, it will increase your worth to your current company.
Feeling unsafe is not a good contribution to the atmosphere of any organization, especially during these times when revenue growth is difficult. Leaders should tune in to employee morale and use positive reinforcement to boost the energy and create better results.