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Economic slowdowns can be harsh. The effects can impact you like a strong blow from a hammer in the case of a job cut or it can be slow burning, with cuts in pay and incentives. One cannot be sure if one will traverse the uncertain path and get out unscathed. With the automobile industry layoffs to falling sales across industries, it’s a difficult time to be in. In such a scenario, here are the lessons one can apply, from some common life situations –
Being at an amusement park
What’s the most eye catching sight you see when you enter an amusement park? It’s the games and the rides. Some rides are enticing while some are frightening. Maybe you are one of those who would like to try them all. But better sense prevails and you finally decide on a couple of them, while leaving out the rest. This is exactly how you should navigate the murky lanes of an economic slowdown. Assess each and every opportunity and weigh your actions before taking any decisions. You don’t want to go on a particularly rough ride that churns your stomach, neither do you want one which leaves your head reeling. While a certain amount of risk taking is a good way to find opportunities, a time as delicate as this, calls for risk aversion.
Being on a solo trip
Nothing better than a solo trip to teach us to deal with a slowdown, simply because it takes courage. Courage to set about traveling all by oneself. If you have ever gone on a solo trip, you know how you planned it well ahead in time to tackle any unwelcome circumstance. In the case of a slowdown, this could be an unforeseen layoff. You are the sole decision-maker, the only one having your back while taking care of everything coming your way. Similarly, a recession requires you to have an open mind and exercise utmost independence in terms of seeking out opportunities.
First day at work
We all remember our first day at work. A whole new world with faces you’ve just seen for the first time in your life. You are keen to know the people. In much the same way, it’s a good idea to network even when you aren’t actively looking for work as it is an effective way to be in the know of the job market and of the latest trends and developments in the industry. During an economic slowdown such as now, become that much more active and reach out to people on professional networks like LinkedIn to forge new connections. A wide web of connections can not only help you spot opportunities but also make it easier to approach people regarding them.
In such turbulent times, when there’s a constant sense of anxiety hanging over our jobs, it’s only natural to be even more alert and active when it comes to looking out for opportunities. Take the time to focus on stepping back a little and reassessing your career graph and analyse, where is it going and where you want it to go. Join a class or take an online course, anything that would increase your value and credibility by improving upon your existing skill and picking up newer ones. Such times are known for layoffs and if you prove your worth, the organization would want to retain you.
Being in a relationship
If it were your significant other, you would be more sensitive and attuned to their issues, ready to offer help in any way you can. In the same vein, lend an ear, or a shoulder for your co-workers, who may need support. In an organization, cost-cutting measures can lead to job cuts or other cut-offs in perks and incentives. Understand, that it’s not just you but your employer too, who is going through hard times. Practice patience and perseverance as you would in a relationship. While you may be tempted to jump ships, direct your energy in a positive manner and look for internal solutions.
As an HR, have an understanding, supportive and an empathetic approach towards the employees, especially during uncertain times. By having initiatives in place, which focus on skill and employee career development, you pave a way for employee retention as they would see it as a way to equip themselves with new skills and knowledge. Research by MIT and Deloitte found that in the highest performing companies, 73% of the employees update their skills every six months, while 44% do so continuously.
The economy is going through a delicate situation and while surfing through the choppy waves, the thing for employer and employees to remember is, this too shall pass!