Dear Working Wise:
I have a big mortgage and my company is struggling to remain profitable, which is making me worry about my job. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for how I can keep my job? Signed, Nervous
The pace of layoffs has slowed significantly over the past year and there are lots of signs that the economic recovery—at least in Canada—is taking hold. In fact, some employers are starting to experience skills shortages and Alberta may be short as many as 77,000 skilled workers within the decade.
Top-performing employees are valued and rewarded during both booms and busts and so an improving economy is no reason to stop striving for improvement.
Here are some tips for people who want to turn themselves into that employee that employers don’t want to lose—in good economic times or bad.
Be a model employee by being:
- positive and enthusiastic with a can-do attitude;
- productive: meet your deadlines, quotas, etc.;
- a friendly, respectful, and helpful team mate;
- engaged in your work and full of new ideas;
- reliable: maintain a good attendance record;
- accountable, dependable, and responsible;
- punctual for work, breaks, and meetings;
- a safe worker who follows directions;
- professional in dress and conduct;
- a self-starter who takes initiative;
- flexible and accommodating;
- open to learning new skills;
- the best at what you do;
- honest and trustworthy;
Increase your contributions:
- increase sales;
- improve quality;
- take on new roles;
- improve customer service;
- improve staff morale and motivation;
- learn new skills your employer needs
- increase your knowledge and expertise;
- increase efficiency: save time and money;
- solve problems and make helpful suggestions;
- become a “go-to” person that everyone relies on;
- identify new business opportunities or customers;
- learn the responsibilities and skills of your co-workers;
- offer to help your co-workers with their projects/deadlines.
Build a good relationship with your boss:
- ask your supervisor if they need help with any difficult projects or tasks;
- ensure your supervisor and others know what you do and how you add value;
- keep records of what you have accomplished, contributed and learned and keep your boss up to date. Your supervisor might even appreciate the good news, because your success reflects on your superiors.
For more ideas on how to become an invaluable employee, check out the following tip sheets on the Alberta Learning Information Services (ALIS) web site http://alis.alberta.ca/tips:
- 13 Ways to Be a Valued Employee
- 5 Ways to Shine at Work
- Adding Value: Giving Back to Your Employer
- How to Succeed at Work
- New Job? Here's How To Make a Good First Impression
- Work Relationships: Learn to Manage Your Manager
Be prepared for transition
If your best efforts to increase your value to your employer don’t work, you will at least be prepared to transition to another employer. All your hard work will not be in vain.
Your current employer will have good things to say about you as an employee and your list of recent accomplishments, acquired skills, and experience will give you a leg up on the other job hunters.
This article is for general information only. Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration.