The speed by which COVID-19 has impacted businesses, economies, and jobs is unprecedented and no one really knows what the coming months will bring.
Already, people in the several industries have lost their jobs and more are likely to come.
Although there is a tendency to retreat in times like this, your best approach is to be proactive. Here are six strategies to help you cope and hopefully thrive through these uncertain times:
1. Seek ways to deliver value.
When downsizing, employers usually look first at cost centres, like customer service, human resources, finance, and administration, to save money. If you happen to work in a cost centre, look for ways to reduce costs. You can be just as valuable to your employer if you save money as another employee who brings in money. Even if you are not able to influence the bottom line directly, you can contribute tangibly by becoming a better team player, serving as a mentor to younger workers, or spreading positive news, rather than gossip and worry.
2. Be a supporter not a resister.
These are challenging times for managers too. They will be facing difficult decisions about what to do. This is not the time to resist change. Support any new plans, offer helpful suggestions, and speak favourably about it around your co-workers. Your ability to empathize, particularly when facing adversity, reveals a maturity that could elevate your status down the road.
3. Stand out among the crowd.
This is not the time to just “put your head down and do your job.” Make sure your boss knows what you are doing. Without sounding boastful, communicate your contributions to the company. Speak up at meetings. Offer new ideas. Look for innovative ways to generate revenue.
4. Be easy to work with.
Employers are more inclined to keep employees who have a positive attitude. While there is an inclination for many people to complain about circumstances beyond their control—such as the economy—a bad attitude will not be well received by your employer. Having a respectful, caring, enthusiastic attitude is the best policy.
5. Keep your skills current.
Companies also tend to first let go people whose skills are outdated, or those who have difficulty accepting change. Even if your employer will not reimburse you for training costs, continue to upgrade your skills. You will be seen as someone willing to invest in your own future and worth hanging on to.
6. Build relationships.
If your boss is the only person who knows how good you are, you are taking a big risk. True, your boss can be a real champion for you. But don’t rely on them. They may have their own problems or may leave the organization. Instead, ensure that you are well-known throughout the organization and that you are open to opportunities in other departments. These internal relationships can be handy when most needed.
Question to consider: What are three things you can do right now to help your company in this time of need?