Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Your Employment Viability

In today's economy if you work for a company of any size the word layoff gets your attention.  In fact I recently read an article that losing one's job especially right now is one of the top issues that keeps Americans up at night.

I am often asked how one can increase their viability to a company that may be considering layoffs.  It's a great question and one that each of us should take seriously.

In my opinion it's about your own personal brand.  How have you positioned yourself to be known within your organization.  For example?

Do you show up on time or better yet, early?

Are you the one that volunteers for new projects?

Do you show enthusiasm for the work that you are assigned?

Do you continually display a positive and supportive attitude?

Do you ask your boss regularly for feedback - asking for areas he or she would like to see you improve on?

Do people at all levels consider you a resource?

Regardless of what position you hold do you function and perform each day as a leader?

Do you deliver projects on time and even ahead of schedule?

Will you go the extra mile for a co-worker when you see them struggling?

Are you doing anything outside of work to build your experience and knowledge for your work?

Do you avoid the company gossip and back-biting that often permeates many company cultures?

Are you well liked as an individual?

Do you go out of your way to build connections throughout the company?

I could ask you literally dozens of questions that would get you thinking about how you perform as an individual for your company, these are just to get you started.  You see building one's brand in the eyes of their superiors, co-workers and customers is an essential element to insuring that you are a key player for your company moving forward.

It seems obvious but clearly for so many it is not. I see so many people failing to evaluate their own contribution to the companies they work for.  Instead they complain about having to work more hours, deal with more responsibility or spend their time bitching about everything under the sun.  They call in when they don't have to, they do less than stellar work unless the boss is watching and studies have shown spend more time Facebooking and Twittering than actually working.  And in spite of all that, they wonder why their name tends to creep to the top of the list when layoffs are considered.

I know this seems easier said than done.  Some of you might even say its too late to try and change how people within your company perceive you.  To which I would say absolutely not!  Here's the thing, even if you have been less than a stellar employee, you can decide right here and right now to change that.  Keep in mind someone in your company saw something that told them they needed you way back when otherwise you wouldn't have the job you have right now.  You can still prove them right ya know...show them they made the right choice when they hired you over that other guy.

There is no time like the present to either build or enhance your personal brand.  The quicker you start to answer some of the questions I've asked above and start contributing like the super star your company needs the more likely the layoff bug won't ever hit you because you'll be inoculated from it.

Think about it.  Better yet....do something about it.

Ripple On!!!

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Carlon said...

Great post, Steve. Just to add to it. I think your bad performance as an employee can also have detrimental effects on how you feel about yourself and on the habits you create.

I take great pride in my work and if I slack off and don't get the job done, I feel bad about it.

Some people will deny this and say they get no satisfaction from their jobs. That's too bad. Change your job then.

But those bad habits will carry over, and lord forbid they carry over to a job that you DO like.

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