Surviving Downsizing

by on Jul.16, 2012, under Wellness

Corporate downsizing is running rampant today, as companies cut costs in a highly competitive market. Mass layoffs create more people chasing fewer jobs, and statistics show that laid-off workers end up earning 10 percent less on average than they would have earned in previous jobs. In the book Hit the Ground Running, Gene Garofalo notes that, “The good life appears more remote to the younger generation.”

Although jobs in the service industries, such as fitness, typically have not been as heavily affected by layoffs, the days of longterm job security are over. Even formerly secure government positions are undergoing elimination and restructuring. Regardless of the industry, jobs whose productivity is difficult to measure are increasingly being considered expendable. This can particularly affect corporate fitness centers, where companies may see fitness programs as extra perks and easy targets to trim the budget.

How can you reduce your likelihood of becoming a layoff victim? The following guidelines will offer some help:

* Be visible. Now is not the time to be coming in late, leaving early or incurring numerous absences. Be prompt and consistent, and don’t be a clock-watcher. Offer to fill vacant shifts if possible.

* Get busy. Organize your monthly, weekly and daily responsibilities on lists, and try to follow them. Try to arrange your day to handle priority items first (allowing for inevitable interruptions) to maximize your productivity.

* Help others. If your area is particularly slow sometimes, ask others if you can assist them. You’ll discover how other areas operate, and you may learn a new skill and promote teamwork in the process.

* Cross train. Learn what your colleagues throughout the facility do and how they accomplish their tasks. Volunteer to work with others so that you expand your knowledge and experience levels.

* Make your manager’s job easier. Figure out whatever it takes to simplify your manager’s workload. Turn in reports a day earlier, document problems (and suggest solutions) in memo format (as opposed to a quick hallway conversation), do your homework (prepare a list of equipment needed, prices, terms, etc., for example) and handle as much as you can before turning to your boss.

* Propose solutions. Brainstorm ways to improve established policies or procedures that are no longer efficient. Query staff as well as club members, if necessary, and then submit several written proposed alternatives to management.

* Boost your value. Pursue continuing education opportunities, seminars, workshops and classes, either directly related to your position or in an area where you want to expand your knowledge. Regardless of whether your company subsidizes continuing education, pursue it to increase your own value. Read business journals or books as well. The more skills you possess, the more you have to offer your facility.

* Take pride in your work. Strive to do your best, whether that means arriving before class to review new choreography, cleaning the equipment more frequently or assisting a member in the pro shop. Don’t read, talk on the phone or disappear while members need assistance.

* Be enthusiastic. Downsizing is extremely stressful, and morale can plummet. Even if you survive cuts, you may be expected to accomplish more with no additional hours or commensurate increase in pay. Don’t get caught up in complaining and gossiping. Enthusiasm and a positive attitude go a long way in demonstrating your commitment to the facility. No manager can train someone to be motivated; make yourself shine by exuding energy and enthusiasm.

* Laugh often. Although layoffs are difficult and foster uncertainty, don’t take yourself too seriously. Remember to laugh at yourself, and encourage others to find the humor in life each day.

While none of these behaviors alone are guaranteed to guard against being laid off, taken together, they can make you a greater asset to your facility. By being more productive and maintaining a positive attitude, you will enhance your value and reduce your chances of being let go.

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