With all the layoffs lately, "workers are definitely feeling an increased threat of job loss. Many are wondering if there is anything they can do to minimize their chances of being down-sized," says John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc, an international outplacement firm. Challenger says a clear picture has emerged of who the winners will be in a tightening job market. He identifies eight types of workers who are most likely to retain their jobs.
Clockless Workers. Employees who make themselves available for problem solving by adopting management's "clockless" definition of the workday. Such workers demonstrate a willingness to work with a managemento attitude, displaying an understanding of the business's competitive pressures and showing that the company's concerns are their concerns.
Border Crossers. People who display flexibility and perform several tasks well often can do the jobs of two or more employees, saving payroll. Cost-conscious employers, especially smaller firms, often cannot afford specialists.
Job Vacuums. This employee sweeps up extra tasks without being asked. Such a person demonstrates a strong work ethic and a willingness to tackle jobs that others would find unappealing. Management is likely to take note of such commitment and selflessness in a time of reorganization and change.
The Great Facilitators. Today, diversity is more than a buzzword. Companies value those at all skill levels who can ameliorate differences among groups. Often the ability to resolve conflicts comes from experience in community and volunteer work. In an increasingly team-oriented workplace, companies rely on coalition builders.
Trouble Seekers. These employees are proactive problem-solvers who seek out difficult assignments. Individuals who gear their work lives in this direction can help make themselves almost "untouchable" during a downsizing or reorganization.
Non-Stop Students. Enthusiastic employees who are eager to learn, especially in the areas of technology and global business issues, are more likely to find a secure niche within their organization. Employees who soak up new information and use it to enhance the business or their own job performance are highly valued.
Un-Retirees. Older workers, many of whom retired and are returning to work, will be sought after in a slowing economy. These seasoned veterans need little if any training, and many are willing to work part time, lowering payroll costs. Despite fewer hours on the job, these experienced employees can rival the output of two full-time, entry-level workers.
Self-Managers. Some employees, with the discipline and skills to impose a measure of self-management in their jobs, are virtually fire-proof. Typically armed with more education and access to technology, self-managers often communicate directly with supervisors, cutting the need for layers of bureaucracy and saving valuable time.