It is almost inevitable that at some point in your working life you will encounter a time when the company that you work for are forced into making cut-backs. Retrenchments happen and they are unavoidable. What can be avoided however is retrenchments happening to you? Well, it might not be a complete guarantee, as a lot will depend on the situation that your company finds itself in, but, if you want to stand out from the last in first out mentality that is generally applied when retrenchments take place, here are a few bows that you might want to have in your quiver.
Be able to do more than one thing
A person who has a broad skill set is a big asset to any company – if you can do these things well. So, make an active effort to be employable on multiple levels. If for example you are hired as a coder or developer, it might be a good idea at some point to do a Diploma Project Management. This is a skill that will sit very nicely alongside what you do, but it also means that if people are being let go, the bosses can cut a developer and a project manager and keep you. Two for the price of one – indispensable.
Bring the can do
Having the right attitude at work is very important – and it is much too late to start showing this when retrenchments are on the cards, you need to have established a long track record of being the person who can get things done. The one who can close deals or deliver projects. Often when retrenchments happen the bosses use it as an excuse to get rid of the deadwood – a pruning exercise for want of a better term. Make sure that you are not in a position to be pruned!
Don’t be a cost centre
People who are responsible for generating revenues are always more likely to survive a cull than those who cost the company money. Staff who cost money are luxuries that cannot be afforded when the going gets tough. This is not to say that you need to be in sales specifically, but you do need to be able to show a direct correlation to the work you do and the bottom line of the company.
Contracting is not the way to go
Many people like the idea of being contractors or freelancers. They feel that it pays better and that it gives them freedom and flexibility to do what they want when they want. This is true. But the downside is that when budgets are tight, and management is looking for ways to cut expenses they will almost always get rid of contractors first. The human resource and legislative requirements involved in ending contract deals are far less onerous than they are for permanent employees. So, if you sense that the economy is bad or that the trading environment of the business that you contract to is poor, do your best to secure a permanent deal.