Americans are anxious about a potential recession for a lot of reasons. One of the top reasons, however, has to do with the impact a recession could have on the job market. A recent article by Fortune reported that nearly 80 percent of US workers are worried about losing their jobs should a recession hit.
The study sighted by Fortune, which was conducted by the staffing firm Insight Global, also found that 56 percent of US workers “don’t know how to prepare” for a recession. Of those surveyed, 54 percent said they would be willing to take a pay cut during a recession to avoid being laid off.
While no job can be considered recession-proof, there are some things that experts advise for becoming less likely to get laid off during a recession.
Prepare for a recession by becoming a “value-added” employee
“The key to avoiding a layoff is increasing your value to your organization,” says Micheal Gibbs, CEO of Go Cloud Careers, a global organization that provides training for elite cloud computing careers. “One way to do this is by shifting out of positions that cost the company money and into positions that instead make the company money.”
Recessions tend to have a huge impact on buying power, which means consumers are not as quick to part with their resources. Companies that want to compete must provide more efficient and affordable options.
“Revenue trumps all, which means the last people to get laid off are those who bring money to the company,” Michael explains. “To be safe, migrate toward the sales department or a sales-based role. Those who are in positions that help to increase the company’s overall revenue are those who are most likely to stay safely employed in a down economy.”
Employees can also become more valuable by playing a bigger role in an organization’s operations. Volunteering to participate in projects, especially high-profile projects or projects that others may try to avoid, can increase your value. If layoffs become necessary, those with broader involvement in operations are harder to let go, but those who are involved in critical projects may be impossible to let go.
Prepare for a recession by increasing your likability factor
It is well known in the business world that being likable is important to getting hired and promoted. Some even say that likability is more important than having the right skills when it comes to getting a job. For those concerned about getting laid off, improving likability is an important step.
“Regardless of your job position, be likable,” Michael advises. “Those who are not socially connected are typically the first to get laid off when staff cuts happen. Work on your attitude, your energy, and your enthusiasm. Show the hiring manager that you care about their team, the people on that team, and the people in their company.”
How can you show that you are a team player who should be kept on the roster? While it may sound counterintuitive, sharing your skills by teaching others how to succeed is one way.
“You might think that keeping the skill in your head provides you with job security, but the exact opposite is true,” says Michael. “If you show your employer that you are someone who is willing to teach, coach, and bring out the best in others, then you will be perceived as someone who can help rebuild the team when the economy gets better. Sharing your skills increases your value.”
Prepare for a recession by exercising your leadership skills
Businesses navigating a recession have much more than financial concerns to consider. A company’s morale can dip just as significantly as their profits. In those situations, those who exhibit solid leadership skills become significantly more valuable.
“Good companies know that someone with proven leadership skills can bring out the best in others, which results in higher morale and better work performance,” Michael explains. “Someone with high emotional intelligence can defuse tense situations and lighten the mood. Someone with polished communication skills can help to craft and deliver the challenging messages that often must be delivered to employees in a down economy.”
The leadership skills that Michael highlights as important include soft skills, presentation skills, communication skills, emotional intelligence, and executive presence. Showing you have an aptitude in these areas decreases your chances of being among those who are laid off.
Every company wants to emerge from a recession with a strong team that is well-positioned for success. To ensure that you remain a part of that team, take steps to increase your value and your visibility. Show your organization that you are among their best and brightest.