Stay Focused, Flexible: Workplace Resolutions for 2009

The year 2008 has been challenging and volatile worldwide, with political and economic turmoil persisting in its final days. As President-elect Obama and his top appointees prepare to take command, economic instability will test the resilience of the U.S. workforce in 2009. Adecco, a recruitment and workforce solutions provider, offers the following tips for navigating the changing workplace in the new year:

For employees:

1. Stay informed -- Know how the market is impacting your business and your competitors and what the issues are; following the news and staying informed around current events is the best way to prepare for any possible changes coming your way. Follow weekly jobless claims, monthly jobs reports and your company's performance -- these pieces of information will help you to make the best moves and decisions.
2. Talk openly about what issues are affecting your job -- Keeping an open dialogue with your managers will ensure there are no surprises down the road should your working environment change. For example, if your healthcare benefits or compensation process will change, ask questions and engage in the corporate conversation to give you time to explore your options and make good choices.
3. Remain positive -- As history has proven, every economic downturn eventually comes to an end. Staying positive and planning for the long-term is the best course of action. Look beyond the issues affecting you this week or even this month and invest in the right education, training and experience to keep yourself as marketable as possible.
4. Stay focused -- Try not to get caught up in the doom and gloom, deliver value everyday. Conversations around the water cooler have likely changed in recent months and there's more concern out there around job security. Focus on exceeding expectations and helping the company succeed, and you'll be putting yourself in the best possible situation for now and the future.
5. Your health is just as important as your job -- During times of uncertainty; many people tend to get overstressed and overworked. As employers are pressured to do more with less resources, be sure to take some time out for yourself and closely monitor your work-life balance so that you can achieve a healthy balance and maintain your peace of mind.

For employers:

1. Keep the line of communication open and honest -- Don't hide vital information from your employees. If management makes no statement after a financial setback, rumors will abound. If you're going through tough times, let your employees know what strategies you have in place to stay afloat. The only thing worse than laying someone off is losing key talent because they feared for their jobs.
2. Talk frequently -- Communicate as often as possible, striving to keep your staff well-informed about what's happening internally and externally and how it will affect their place a the company. Whether it be through in-person town hall meetings, during Webinars or through e-mail letters/newsletters -- there are many effective outlets that can help in keeping your staff engaged and at ease.
3. Be creative -- Volatility and change are two prominent words right now. In order to withstand both of these dynamics, companies will need to be as innovative and creative as possible to successfully meet the current challenges, manage through the present situation and set themselves up for growth and prosperity in the future.
4. Treat everyone with respect -- Unfortunately, the effects of a recession are not limited to the workplace. Many of your employees will be under additional stress in their personal lives. Going the extra mile and making sure everyone is treated fairly will not go unnoticed and will yield huge benefits in the form of better retention when everything turns back around.
"As we look forward to 2009, it's important to keep in mind that the U.S. workforce has always been at the center of innovation, productivity and resilience," said Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer at Adecco Group North America. "Despite the uphill battle we're likely to face this year, the better and more effectively managers and employees work together, the quicker things will turn around."

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