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  • Zmia Bertaud

Job Security: COVID-19 Aftermath

Updated: May 29, 2020

Who will still have a job after this? Not sure. Will the pandemic press CEO's and Human Resource Departments to find a solution to downsize their number of employees and rely more on machinery and technology? You bet! Some industries are losing billions due to the absence of a workforce. CNBC reported on March 12, 2020 that the five biggest tech firms, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, and Microsoft lost a combined $416.63 billion in value as the markets continued to crater on coronavirus fears and economic uncertainty. The human need to keep a company abreast is in question. As wage earners suffer the first wave of unemployment due to the decline in small businesses that are unable to survive the financial impacts of the pandemic, salaried employees may lose out on their positions due to eliminations or consolidations to safeguard the salaries of those employees that are the backbone of a company. Employees may find themselves with greater responsibilities. Human resource managers may be forced to assess and leverage talents along with restructuring job descriptions to help offset the organization's financial hardship. Either way, set your mind on being prepared for change.

Now more than ever, new teleworkers, as a result of company closures, must prove the importance of their existence within their organizations. It is very easy for the 'out of sight, out of mind' syndrome to set into the reality of management. This means that management develops a false belief that if the employee is not present, then their position/skill is no longer needed or beneficial to the organization. A teleworkers goal, at this time, should be to make themselves present and functional in their absence. Be on time to scheduled meetings, do not miss meetings, bring more resolutions to the table than complaints, stay connected with upper and middle management depending on your position, and always speak in the future tense when referring to goals and the state of the organization (psychological tip). Example of future tense and goals: "Mark, once we get back in the office, I will ensure these new developments are incorporated in our mission statement." Now, your team or managers envision seeing you in the office and will possibly expect you to be there once the pandemic smoke clears. Sometimes, when your physical efforts are unable to make an impact, you must resort to the psychological.


The vast majority of employees were not given the fortuity to telework and all they are able to do is to play the 'waiting game'. Anxiety and stress is what remains in the wake of losing their means of financial support. It is difficult for many to devise a plan that will ensure they can maintain their employment and many are unsure if they will find employment if their company lay-off is indefinite. It is easy for those who are not in fear of losing their jobs to say that things will be okay, as they are not feeling the blow-back from this crisis. What really needs to be said is how we all can help one another remain hopeful and offer advice on how to prepare for this unexpected transition. Below, you will see my contribution to those of you who are living in peril over job security. I pray you are enlightened by the information and it aids you in developing a strategy that will get you back on your feet, back to work, and back to living your best life.


Tips on making yourself more marketable while in quarantine. Remember, this is about to be a rat race.

  • Start transitioning your resume by honing your skills towards online occupations

  • Consider a new skill or trade and find online resources for education

  • Reach out to/Lock in headhunters that are associated with companies that house the exact position that you hold or held previously

  • Stay connected to HR: They'll be the first to know what positions and employees will still be appertained

  • Periodically check labor force websites: Unemployment agencies and temp services will have info on hiring waves and companies that are looking for immediate hires

  • Prep for negotiations to get your foot in the door i.e. pay decrease, wave certain benefits

Just as there are high numbers in employment currently, when businesses and services are back to full operations, consumer demands will sky rocket. This influx will drive a wave of employment that is needed to balance out supply and demand. Be ready to chase the cheese. The rat race is nearing.


On another note:

Industrial and Organizational psychologists should be in high demand during and after the pandemic. Their expertise in the field of crisis management are what is needed to consult many of these devastated companies towards a recourse that will allow them to thrive beyond this economic downturn. IO-P'ers, I encourage you to market/offer your consulting skills. Opportunities and demands are definitely at hand for our field. Good luck.


References.

Hassleton, T. (2020, March 12). The five biggest tech companies lost more than $400 billion in value on Thursday. Retreived from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/12/techs-big-5-lost-a-combined-416point63-billion-in-value-on-thursday.html


Disclaimer: This article is not based on research results, but is a personal construct theory from personal observation and personal experience of current events. All articles of APM are to provoke thought and influence future research.


Author: Graduate Student of Touro University Worldwide, Industrial and Organizational Psychology Major, May 2021 expected graduate date