Déjà vu all over again – good news, bad news for employers and job seekers.

I remember…  with trepidation … the market events in the fall of 2008 that caused the real estate crash in 2009 and the resulting rise in unemployment with hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs. (I was one of them. As a HR director, I had to write my own layoff letter!)  The recent pandemic is not quite the same, but the impact is eerily similar and much worse for workers who are now unemployed. With luck, this time, the economy will swing back quickly once folks get back to their office or location work sites as cures, vaccines, and plasma infusions are deemed safe and made available to inoculate the general population.

In 2009, the bad news was employers laid off, terminated, or furloughed workers with no known return-to-work date.  This was a crisis for the company and its workers. The events affected stability, growth, and/or revenue for the business, but also provided a unique opportunity to enrich the workforce and gain more valuable employees in the long run.  Companies initially targeted ‘slackers,’ ‘redundant,’ or unskilled (untrained) employees in the mass layoffs. Workers able to do the work of others, had cross-training, or whom were more productive were more likely to be retained.  

Those laid off or terminated were often the workers with the lowest return on investment (ROI) for the business model.  Unfortunately, it was also a great opportunity to drop what the company determined were ‘troublemakers,’ ‘high maintenance employees,’ and those who had reached a salary ceiling for their job level.

When the economy picked up again, the company had a choice of rehiring the furloughed workers. In some cases, companies found more productive replacements for the past terminated workers.  Some businesses chose to continue to pay unemployment taxes on furloughed workers and hired fresh employees to train to higher standards and productivity.  This may happen again in 2020. If fresh, new workers can provide a higher rate of productivity after training, the companies could turn a higher profit, faster, and decide not rehiring the furloughed workers is worth the business risk.

The good news is some workers ‘sent home’ during this pandemic event may not have been fired.  Companies recognized some work (telework) could continue if workers had the right equipment and access to work-related applications from home.  The scramble to set the employees up to work from home may result in long-term and increased ROI based on lower overhead costs. This event may help business leaders see the opportunity to keep workers, monitor productivity, and simultaneously reduce overhead costs by continuing to keep employees working at home. 

It is bad news for the workers who are permanently laid off or furloughed. The economic crisis does provide opportunities for those who lost their jobs to go back to school, take more technical or trade training, and refresh their resume(s) for more practical or higher-level educational opportunities. 

The good news is, even though the furloughed worker may have been highly productive, this is the perfect opportunity to use one’s advanced experience and skills to search for a new career position. Shop for that new job with companies who terminated the ‘redundant’ workers and are looking for that higher productivity employee.  When an employee is laid off it’s the perfect timing to refresh their resume to identify their strongest skills and their greatest weaknesses.

It is vital to showcase on the resume the job seeker’s achievements and accomplishments to document the metrics and capabilities of the worker in past and potentially future work environments.  Review the education section to decide when, where, and what to add to skill sets by taking online classes, going back to schools (colleges, universities – online courses where available), or targeting technical schools for updated trades training. 

When economic crisis upheavals create market impacts and job losses, it’s best to be prepared for the ‘what ifs?’ in one’s career path.  Use the lessons learned from the 2009 economic crash to preparing for the current pandemic-related crisis, and/or future events with equitable impact on worker’s careers.  Keep updating one’s work skills, ensure your productivity at work is at its high level and makes a profit (or reduce overhead expenses) for your company. Continue to learn or take training in a variety of skills to make yourself non-expendable to your employer.  If you are not constantly improving yourself, you will not survive or do well in the worst-case economic scenarios of the future.

Dawn Boyer, Ph.D., owner of D. Boyer Consulting in Hampton Roads and Richmond, VA – provides resume writing, and editing / publishing / print-on-demand consulting. Reach her at: Dawn.Boyer@me.com or visit her website at www.dboyerconsulting.com.

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Déjà vu all over again – good news, bad news for employers and job seekers.

I remember…  with trepidation … the market events in the fall of 2008 that caused the real estate crash in 2009 and the resulting rise in unemployment with hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs. (I was one of them. As a HR director, I had to write my own layoff letter!)  The recent pandemic is not quite the same, but the impact is eerily similar and much worse for workers who are now unemployed. With luck, this time, the economy will swing back quickly once folks get back to their office or location work sites as cures, vaccines, and plasma infusions are deemed safe and made available to inoculate the general population.

In 2009, the bad news was employers laid off, terminated, or furloughed workers with no known return-to-work date.  This was a crisis for the company and its workers. The events affected stability, growth, and/or revenue for the business, but also provided a unique opportunity to enrich the workforce and gain more valuable employees in the long run.  Companies initially targeted ‘slackers,’ ‘redundant,’ or unskilled (untrained) employees in the mass layoffs. Workers able to do the work of others, had cross-training, or whom were more productive were more likely to be retained.  

Those laid off or terminated were often the workers with the lowest return on investment (ROI) for the business model.  Unfortunately, it was also a great opportunity to drop what the company determined were ‘troublemakers,’ ‘high maintenance employees,’ and those who had reached a salary ceiling for their job level.

When the economy picked up again, the company had a choice of rehiring the furloughed workers. In some cases, companies found more productive replacements for the past terminated workers.  Some businesses chose to continue to pay unemployment taxes on furloughed workers and hired fresh employees to train to higher standards and productivity.  This may happen again in 2020. If fresh, new workers can provide a higher rate of productivity after training, the companies could turn a higher profit, faster, and decide not rehiring the furloughed workers is worth the business risk.

The good news is some workers ‘sent home’ during this pandemic event may not have been fired.  Companies recognized some work (telework) could continue if workers had the right equipment and access to work-related applications from home.  The scramble to set the employees up to work from home may result in long-term and increased ROI based on lower overhead costs. This event may help business leaders see the opportunity to keep workers, monitor productivity, and simultaneously reduce overhead costs by continuing to keep employees working at home. 

It is bad news for the workers who are permanently laid off or furloughed. The economic crisis does provide opportunities for those who lost their jobs to go back to school, take more technical or trade training, and refresh their resume(s) for more practical or higher-level educational opportunities. 

The good news is, even though the furloughed worker may have been highly productive, this is the perfect opportunity to use one’s advanced experience and skills to search for a new career position. Shop for that new job with companies who terminated the ‘redundant’ workers and are looking for that higher productivity employee.  When an employee is laid off it’s the perfect timing to refresh their resume to identify their strongest skills and their greatest weaknesses.

It is vital to showcase on the resume the job seeker’s achievements and accomplishments to document the metrics and capabilities of the worker in past and potentially future work environments.  Review the education section to decide when, where, and what to add to skill sets by taking online classes, going back to schools (colleges, universities – online courses where available), or targeting technical schools for updated trades training. 

When economic crisis upheavals create market impacts and job losses, it’s best to be prepared for the ‘what ifs?’ in one’s career path.  Use the lessons learned from the 2009 economic crash to preparing for the current pandemic-related crisis, and/or future events with equitable impact on worker’s careers.  Keep updating one’s work skills, ensure your productivity at work is at its high level and makes a profit (or reduce overhead expenses) for your company. Continue to learn or take training in a variety of skills to make yourself non-expendable to your employer.  If you are not constantly improving yourself, you will not survive or do well in the worst-case economic scenarios of the future.

Dawn Boyer, Ph.D., owner of D. Boyer Consulting in Hampton Roads and Richmond, VA – provides resume writing, and editing / publishing / print-on-demand consulting. Reach her at: Dawn.Boyer@me.com or visit her website at www.dboyerconsulting.com.

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