Tag Archive | "stagnation"

Tags: downsizing, extra hours, fear, long-term, motivation, overtime, paradox, perspective, productivity, promotion, replacement, stagnation, Unemployment, workload

The Invisible Promotion

Posted on 06 February 2011 by Brucellus

The past 2-3 years has seen increased tightening of the Swiss labor market, a process that began with the opening up of Switzerland to EU labor. With the drastically increased pool of labor and the contractions or stagnation in key economies,  unemployment has been high by Swiss standards (4% – 5%) and salaries have stagnated.
 
An unwelcome result has been an increased workload for those who survived cuts and downsizing.  This is the world of the ‘invisible promotion,’ where you keep your job but have to do as well a part of your fired colleague’s or dismissed boss’s.
 
Productivity is high, thanks to unemployment. Across Switzerland, managers and staff now shoulder duties from laid-off managers and peers or positions that were eventually to be filled but probably won’t be.  The extra work means extra headaches and longer hours, but little or no extra money.
 

The piling-on of responsibilities is at an all-time high.  Employees who find themselves in such a situation often have difficulty working up the courage to ask for recognition for the work they are doing,  either a promotion and raise to recognize the additional work and responsibility undertaken, or a splitting up of the extra work among several people.
 
Though many people fear risking their supervisor’s wrath in an environment where jobs are still scarce, almost a third of employers say they’re willing to discuss raises with employees this year, according to a recent survey released in December. The percentage rises to over 40% for business-services and IT companies.
 
If you want to build a case for a real promotion instead of an invisible one, you need a strategy.
 
First, objectively document how you’re contributing, whether that is by bringing in more money or saving it.  Even if you’re not in sales,  your work or your ideas may have impact on increasing revenue.   Employees who consistently find unusual value for the company are always appreciated and retained.
 
Second, have a sense of timing. Being sensitive to the organization’s own pulse is critical.   
 
Then bring solutions to your boss, even including a staffing analysis.  Making things look easy is a good strategy. Act like you’re not tired, worn out, and angry,” even if you are. To keep one’s team engaged and motivated use appreciation, openness, respect – lifestyle gimmicks like work-from-home Fridays can be very effective, allowing staff to wear pajamas or spend an extra hour with their kids, and taking some of the pressure off those ‘invisible promotions,’ making them a little less stressful.
 
There are a few way to make that ‘extra work’ work for your career in the long run :
 
Prioritize: work with your manager to understand what your role is now that so-an-so is gone and not to be replaced any time soon, what the key results are, and which are the most important elements.  An important thing to cover is determining which tasks can be eliminated  (even if they once seemed important).
 
Ask for training or — if relevant — coaching.  In you the responsibilities that have been foisted upon you, you may need to develop new management techniques to handle the new tasks.  To succeed, you have to figure out what skills you need and then get your management to buy into the training; they need to see that it’s cheaper than hiring someone else.
 
Fill the holes in your résume.
You may not have asked for the job, but now you need to prove that you can keep it.
If you’re in a context wehere everybody has an MBA but you don’t, then you’d probably  better sign up for that Saturday-morning program.
As with any new change in job description, one needs to take a hard look at one’s skill set and make sure one has what it takes.
 
Establish a time frame.   If your employer is now adding a huge extra load to your job, you have to hammer out some kind of agreement about the expectations and the time frame. 
 
If you find yourself with a bunch of new responsibilities dumped on you, make a case for your promotion.  Be clear that you want to move up — and that you see that as good for the department and the company/organization too.
Alternatively, if you want to return to a lower level, think up a plan to make that happen.  
 
If these strategies don’t work, look around for another job.  But in the interim, try to stay appreciative of what you have.

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