written by Angie Morgan

Disruption within the white-collar workforce is picking up.  Many leaders we connected with this week are experiencing a fresh round of layoffs within their organizations.  It’s quite natural to be concerned about losing your job during times of economic crisis; it’s even more important, though, to acknowledge your concern.  While we can’t control many outcomes, we can control how we choose to respond to them.

As we listen to professionals share their worries, we often hear them over emphasizing the role their employer plays in their security.

Today, challenge and change are forced upon us.  Yet, it’s in these moments of imposed change that we build resilience and develop an appreciation for our strengths.  We learn more lessons as we walk through valleys than we do during those rare mountain top moments.  When change happens, the more you stay open, accepting, and determined to shape your response, the more likely you’ll meet (and exceed) your vision of success.

With Disruption Comes Innovation

This week we learned of a company, hard hit by market challenges and led by an outstanding management team, beginning to implement a creative win-win solution to meeting employee needs and balancing budgets.  Their talented leaders were nervous about how quickly they had to implement remote working during COVID times.  Fearful results would not be as strong, they were proud to see their team rise to the occasion, remotely.  Now, as some come back to the office, the company is giving employees a choice: stay remote, 1-2 days per week, and volunteer for a 10% pay cut.  Prefer to work mostly remote, 3-5 days a week?  That’s a choice you can make in exchange for a 20% pay cut.

On the surface, we know how this looks.  The implication may seem that the business doesn’t view remote work as productive as office work.  However, this novel solution came from a sincere desire to retain talent, while calculating costs like commuting, dry cleaning, and extended childcare often related to working in an office environment, and the need to ask employees to share in the savings with the company, to contribute to financial stability through the crisis and beyond.

Now, we know you could argue that the company should just allow everyone the chance to work remotely with no pay cuts, yet in times like these, finding innovative ways to support success and foster shared responsibility is just what businesses must do to come out of this pandemic intact.

Find a (Great) Job During a Crisis

With the global economy in meltdown mode and tens of millions of Americans out of work, it can seem like this is the worst time to find a great opportunity.  Not so says the data.  Rapid shifts in remote recruiting practices and quickly crumbling geographic barriers to working where you live allow a job seeker to scale their search more effectively.  Here’s a fantastic article from Claudio Fernández-Aráoz that shares a detailed process to put the odds in your favor (literally, the article includes a mathematical formula) for finding a better opportunity if you are out of work or seeking to re-evaluate what you’d like to do professionally.  Based on landmark research on how people find good jobs, he highlights “the strength of weak ties” illustrating how to activate your network for success.

As COVID continues to impact us, keep being of service and support to others.  Stay aware of how those around you are being disrupted by the pandemic and as you can be helpful, act.  Leaders are doers.  And a common trait among great leaders is that most of their doing is for others.