Many working people are beset with a very real fear today. No, it is not the fear of getting Covid-19. They are afraid of losing their jobs.
The Coronavirus pandemic has hit the whole world very hard. Across industries, companies have been affected. Revenues have plummeted and the future looks uncertain at best. No one knows when things will return to normal, and if they ever will.
These are tough times, and as an employee, you know what employers do when times get tough. They downsize. So, if you are worried that your job may be on the line…you are not alone. Every employee in the private sector shares this fear with you. Especially those who work in SME businesses.
The question is, what can you do about it? Is there a way to make sure that your job is safe?
Well, while there is no magic bullet to secure, there are a few things that you can do to make yourself indispensable. Before I get into explaining them, there are a few things you must realise:
1. Your employer is also grappling with similar problems – both at home and work.
2. They have never faced such a situation before.
3. They are worried about how they will meet their expenses, which includes your salary.
4. They don’t have all the answers
And, for that very reason, they don’t want to take any drastic steps lest it affects their ability to grow the business when the situation improves.
That said, let’s get back to what you can do.
1. Make yourself aware of your company’s situation.
Take that extra effort and understand your company’s financial situation. It is a large, listed company, you will find this information on its website. If it isn’t listed on the stock exchange, try and find out by discussing it with colleagues and your manager.
For small and medium companies you can get an idea by using the following trick:
Take an educated guess as to the average salary of an employee in your company.
Multiply that with the number of employees.
You will get the cost of employees.
Double this to add costs like rent etc.
Now do a bit of research and find out if the company’s sales figures (or gross margins) match this expense.
How does this knowledge help you?
If your company’s financial health is strong, you have less reason to worry. If it is not doing too well, then you have to plan your future moves more carefully.
2. Understand your role in the organisation.
This is a basic necessity but I am reiterating it nevertheless.
It is important to understand that every employee’s role contributes to the larger goal of the organisation. You are an important cog in the wheel and you must know clearly how your role supports the company.
3. Set and receive Expectations Clearly.
Talk to your supervisors and get clarity on what they are expecting you to do. Give proactive feedback and set the expectations jointly.
4. Upgrade yourself.
Take the effort to upgrade your skills and knowledge. Not just in your role but also in the overall business environment.
5. Show a willingness to put in the extra effort.
Tough times call for tough measures. So you must be ready to get out of your comfort zone. Show your employer that you are ready to take on new responsibilities. Demonstrate that you are eager to help in every way.
This is especially important if your company is not doing well financially, the quantum of your work has reduced and expectations from you have come down. In this case, you need to show your employer that they can count on you to support them when they are faced with a crisis.
If necessary, you must even volunteer to take a pay cut. But be sure to set common milestones to revert to your original salary when the situation improves
If you follow and action these five suggestions, you will make yourself valuable to your employer. This means they will find it difficult to let you go, so your job becomes more secure.
Let me leave you with four simple principles to make a great career:
Think Positive. Think Ahead. Work Hard. Work Smart.