In these difficult and competitive economic times companies are always surveying their work force looking for somebody's butt to kick out the door to save labor costs. What will they see when they point the company elimination gun site at you? Will they see an expendable body, or will they see an employee who is too valuable to let go?
This article reveals five attributes that companies value, and having one or more of these traits gives you much higher job security than other employees who are just doing a good job.
Knowing Other Areas of the Company
Many workers just stick to their one little area of the company and if some work comes up that is outside that area or outside their job description they sing the old phrase "not my job". Successful employees are always scouting out other areas of the company, trying to figure out what they do, how they fit into the big picture.
Who do think is going to get laid off first, an employee that only knows their own little job, or an employee that the company can use flexibly and shift to other areas of the company if the need arises? When a company is trying to operate a minimal labor force, flexible employees that can be moved around the company are like gold. They are far too valuable to the company to let go.
To learn about other areas of the company requires you make friends in other parts of the company and learn how they operate. If the work load in a different area of the company becomes too heavy, you can volunteer to give them a hand, either during your normal working hours, or for overtime pay.
Staying in one part of the company for your entire career can make you an expendable employee. Keep a watch on the company job board and if you see an interesting opportunity in another part of the company that would add to your knowledge of how the company operates, apply for that position. An employee who understand the company big picture are far too valuable to the company to let go.
Having Industry Knowledge
Today companies operate in a globally competitive market. If they don't keep up with what's going on in their market, what new technologies are coming online that might affect their business, they won't be in business long. That's why an employee with industry knowledge is too valuable to the company to let go.
How do you get industry knowledge? The first step is to read business magazines and/or business websites. Then there are trade magazines and trade websites. Most trade magazines require you to have purchasing influence or authority in order to subscribe to their publication. If you don't have purchasing influence or authority in your company, see if you can find someone who does and ask if you can borrow their trade magazines when they've finished reading them.
Most trade websites require you to be a member. Often membership is free, but you need to provide information about your purchasing influence or authority within your company. Hey, everybody has some "purchasing influence". For example if you tell your boss a certain tool would make your job easier, that's "purchasing influence".
Industry trade shows are another great way to learn about your company's industry. You don't have to be a big shot to get a free ticket to a trade show, most shows like to see as many bodies attend as possible. The problem is, if the trade show is not directly related to your job, you'll need to take off work and pay your own travel expenses. However, since employees with industry knowledge are so valuable to companies, you might as your boss if the company will sponsor your attendance. It can't heart to ask, and the answer might be yes!
The holly grail of industry knowledge is actually having a friend who is either a customer of the industry or works for a competitor. This puts you right in the thick of industry news and gossip. In this case you might frequently have the company president coming down to chit chat with you.
Understanding Customer Relations
Most of the time a company will try to keep customers away from direct contact with their employees. Why is this? Because the average employee doesn't think about or understand customer relations. You never know what an employee is going to say or reveal to a customer. Comments about problems within the company should always stay within the company. Image if a salesman brought a customer by you and you started talking about the poor quality of the last production run?
If difficult to be of value to a company if they have to keep you hidden because they fear what you might say to a customer. How do you give your company confidence that you understand customer relations? The best way is to get known as a person who never says bad things about the company, about people in the company, or about the company's product or service. If you get a reputation about being an optimist and always saying good things within the company, then they will have confidence that they can introduce you to customers.
Good customer relations involves not revealing any inside information, don't talk about company problems, company profit margins, or any information about other customers. You have to think of yourself as a company salesman, because in reality, you do represent the company.
Every company would like to show off their dedicated employees to customers. It's a great way to build customer confidence in the company. That's why an employee who understands customer relations is highly valued by the company.
Ability to Talk in Front of an Audience
Some surveys have shown that many people would rather die than have to talk in front of an audience. They feel that everyone in the audience is judging them. Of course, sometimes there is an idiot in an audience, but in general most people in an audience are asking themselves "what information can I gain that will be useful to me?"
The only way you can learn to talk in front of an audience is to do it. The first time you get in front of an audience you may be nervous, your speech may quiver, but you've got to do it. The second time you get in front of an audience, you may still be a little nervous. By the third and fourth time front of an audience you wont be nervous because you'll understand that the audience is people just like you, courteous and respectful and just seeing what they can learn from you.
Eventually, you might get to like being in front of an audience. Companies are always looking for people with the ability to talk in front of an audience because they usually have lots of product training and promotion to do. If you develop the ability to talk in front of an audience, you'll be too valuable to the company to let go.
As an aside I would also like to inform you that there are people who have the ability to talk in front of an audience, called "presenters" who make six and seven figure earnings, sometimes lecturing about such mundane subjects as positive mental attitude or how to lose weight.
Willingness to Travel
Most employees just want to do their little job and go home at the end of the day. But most companies are national or global and are always looking for someone to travel. Travel might be required to coordinate the various company locations, or keep in touch with the companies most important customers. For this reason companies are always looking for employees willing to travel.
Some people actually like to travel because it gives them a chance to get out of the office and away form the bosses. If you are willing to travel, this gives you extra value as an employee. And if you also understand customer relations and have ability to talk in front of an audience, you could be gold to a company. And as an aside, if you have these attributes and you are also bilingual, you are more than gold, you are platinum.
You don't need all five attributes mentioned in this article to be valuable to the company, but having one or two of them will make the company see you as an employee who is too valuable to let go.