Keeping your job: How to stay relevant in tougher times

Large multinational organisations and small local businesses alike have felt the pinch of the infamous global economic downturn and nowadays, job security can somehow seem like an unfamiliar term from the past.

With this in mind, there are several things that can be done to ride out the turbulent times and stay ahead in the workplace.

Whether one is currently working, has just secured a position or been in a job for some time, they should never believe that they are indispensable.

According to Managing Director of SteppingStones Recruitment, Training and Development Ltd Milly Serpell, demonstrating a good work ethic, punctuality, avoiding unnecessary breaks and not spending time on your mobile/Internet are paramount.

Serpell added that every employee needs to prove their worth and, “If ever there was a time to demonstrate how hard working and dedicated you are, this is it.”

She implored all employees to stay busy, meet deadlines and remember to focus on quality, as well as quantity.

Another characteristic that employers will look at with pride in an employee is the ability to complete tasks.

Mrs. Serpell said to score points in this area, persons should always ask supervisors for other things to do when a task is complete or offer assistance to a colleague.

“This will not only demonstrate your willingness and commitment but also give you more experience and knowledge of other aspects of your job and the company’s business,’ she remarked.

Experts also agree that good work ethic alone may not be enough on its own to keep people employed. They suggest that employees look for ideas to generate new business, improve systems and work more efficiently. So keep abreast of new industry developments such as new products and services, as well as new legislation, in addition to monitoring competitor activities so that you can spot opportunities.

A positive attitude is essential and employees should try to maintain a professional decorum at all times. Avoiding getting involved in any office politics or gossip and being mindful of the fact that times are hard and everyone is cutting back are good prerequisites to remaining optimistic and looking for opportunities to excel.

Another important point raised by Serpell, is trying to keep up to date. She says, “In a recession, training can often be one of the first things that a company cuts in an attempt to reduce costs.

“You should therefore try to keep up to date with industry knowledge by reading books, journals and articles, as well as using the Internet to research information.”

This may seem like an additional effort when you’re already “on overdrive” trying to keep your job but it can also help to keep you one step ahead of the competition, according to literature from SteppingStones Recruitment.

Also, try to keep a record of all you accomplishments- meeting sales targets, taking on additional projects and responsibilities, new business contacts made, training courses attended and cost savings ideas.

It can be useful to share this with your manager on a quarterly basis or at performance reviews. This will help your company to assess your contribution and value an ongoing employee. A list may also assist you in achieving a promotion.

How to interact with others on the job

In most cases, no single incident is usually serious enough to get a person escorted out the front door by a company’s security officer, but continuous occurrences of even minor infractions are a recipe for disaster.

In fact most authorities on the subtleties of job success and employee staying power, say knowing what is expected is one of the crucial ways in which an individual/team can set themselves apart from others.

If you are not aware of the corporate culture and what your superiors expect, you are starting at a disadvantage and therefore should make absolutely every effort to become familiar with the standards and practices of your respective company.

Also, try not to create the impression that you are working just for a pay check and remember that if you are so unhappy with your job that you  live for the 15th and 30th of every month, it might be time to start looking for another position.

Financing and Accounting Recruitment Consultant for Personnel 2000 Mark Choice said “It is important to show your employer that you take pride in what you are doing; beyond remuneration.”

He added that most companies are already under financial strains and are looking to get the very most out of their employees.

What to avoid

“Isolation makes you vulnerable. You don’t want to be seen as someone who thinks you are above all your colleagues and simple courtesies should be extended to your co-workers: good morning, good night, please and thanks,” commented Choice.

Mark added that a good employee will always give credit where it is due and not take the credit for someone else’s work.

As far as office romances are concerned, these should be avoided, say experts.

We all have the potential to work extended hours and sometimes work can turn into an extension of one’s social life, leading to romantic entanglements. This is fine if you get married and live happily ever after. However, what would happen if the partnership ends badly? Try to avoid this when it is in your power to do so.

The company e-mail system is another area where employees can make a silent statement about their character by the content of what they send and receive or what they do not send or receive.

Do not use your e-mail to gossip and by all means make sure you don’t write anything you would not want read by your superiors.

The right job can make a marked difference in the quality of one’s life and over all wellbeing. It is important to treat your work like it is an extension of yourself and give it the attention and respect it deserves.