In my profession, I have the unique opportunity to talk with “big wigs” and be among “the people.” Most of all, I have the opportunity to be a part of both sides to every story. Right now, the story everyone is talking about is their frustration at the workplace.
I consider this blog a public service announcement to help my fellow “people” and share with you precisely what employers are thinking and how it may impact your job (primarily if you’re working at a small business like so many of us do).
There’s a common grumbling from both sides.
SIDE ONE: Business Owner/Director – “We’re not going to survive until everyone takes ownership in this company. Where is the ‘whatever it takes’ attitude? Do they understand we all don’t take home paychecks unless we all work together to make this happen?”
SIDE TWO: Employee – “Why is my boss asking me to do things that are not my job? I’m already on a reduced salary. There’s no incentive to me to do more for less.”
I know it’s difficult to hear, but there IS an incentive to do more. The incentive? Job security. This is why making yourself invaluable is absolutely critical to you today.
Here’s the part I get stirred up about: While listening to employers tell me their frustrations over the last eight to 12 months, I’ve been most concerned about their perception of their staff. Instead of telling you their frustrations, I’ve opted to list suggestions on how to create a sense of “security” in their mind when it comes to your employment with them.
If you have financial responsibilities – which is likely everyone reading this blog – there is no worse mistake to make at this economic time than to overlook the need to make yourself invaluable at your place of work.
Create your own personal public outreach program to give you an added sigh of relief when it comes to your job.
Here are small, yet impactful, tactics you can take:
- Embody the “it takes a village” vs. “it’s not really my job” philosophy. These days, no one can afford to have a sense of entitlement. Do your best to take on new work, new challenges – even if it means picking up copy paper at an office supply store. You WANT to be wedged into every possible nook and cranny of your business.
- Get out more. If you want people, including your employer, to take you more seriously, you need to be involved. I suggest connecting to an association related to your trade, a group that can generate business leads for you and at least one charity cause you can sink your teeth into. Church groups and knitting classes are great, but won’t do the job you’re looking for it to do at the workplace.
- If you’re not the one hustling for business, then make certain you are hustling to be a team player in EVERY other way. Do not isolate yourself. Good professionals bring a company money, relationships or a constant flow of ideas. Invaluable employees do all three.
- Be an idea machine. This is especially important if you work as a “specialized” professional, as oftentimes you are (unfortunately) perceived as simply a producer – someone considered “a dime a dozen.” Set aside time each week to brainstorm ideas that can help your company, even if they’re not related to your department. How can you improve processes or results at your company? Employers will love you. They will love you even more if your ideas are easy to implement, low cost and help save the company money.
- Expand your skill set. There are hundreds of people vying for your job right now, and you don’t even know it. People who are hungry for work, are more experienced and have a handful of skill sets you don’t are sitting at the forefront of your employers’ minds as we speak. The more diversified you make yourself (be an innovator), the less likely your employer will think about ever letting you go.
Amber Stidham is the Director of Strategic Planning at Imagine Marketing.
Contact Amber at firstname.lastname@example.org