Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Specializing in Employee Opinion and Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Improving the Workplace

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.

Only half of all employees believe their job is secure.

In a previous of "Improving the Workplace" we talked about what employers can do to manage employees during times of great job insecurity. In this issue, we will talk about the flip side — what employees can do to survive in today's economy.


Most employees today live within the shadow of impending layoffs. Most also feel helpless to do anything about it. Consequently, many employees:

  • Live in a perpetual state of fear and uncertainty

  • Distrust management

  • Have withdrawn psychologically from their organizations

  • Have lost confidence in their ability to support their families


  1. Continually Upgrade Your Skills

    Employers today are less willing to retrain employees when their skills are no longer needed. It is your responsibility to seek additional training and learning opportunities both within and outside the organization. Create a self-development plan each year outlining how you are going to upgrade your skills.

  2. Network Within the Organization

    During layoffs, many organizations encourage employees to look for jobs within the organization. If, however, you do not have a strong network of colleagues and friends in other departments, the chances of you landing another position within your organization are poor. Get involved in cross departmental committees, participate in company activities such as fund raisers, and make it your business to meet the right people in other parts of the company.

  3. Network Outside of the Organization

    Become an active member of at least one professional association in your field. This will help you keep abreast of the latest developments. More importantly, you will be able to meet people in other companies who may know of jobs if you are laid off.

  4. Continually Provide Value

    Constantly improve your resume by amassing accomplishments. The three ways of doing this are: 1) Helping your organization make money; 2) Helping your organization save money; and 3) Developing something new that would not have existed without you. If you are not providing value to your current organization, your days are numbered and your marketability is low.

  5. Always Be Looking for Greener Pastures

    No matter how much you enjoy your job and your organization, you should always have an eye out for other opportunities. Always keep your resume up-to-date. Make certain that the leading executive search firms in your field know who you are and why you are special. Continually ask colleagues in other organizations how they feel about their company and what opportunities exist there.

  6. Practice Searching for a Job

    Preparing your resume, dealing with search firms, networking, and job interviewing are skills that must be part of your repertoire. To wait until you are unemployed to learn these skills is career suicide. Practice makes perfect.

  7. Don't Be Complacent

    Through no fault of your own, today could be your last day at your current job. In today's turbulent economy, anything can happen. The key is to be prepared.

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