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Karen Dwyer: What’s on Employers’ Minds in 2009 and How it Affects You

Amid the uncertainty, here's what you can do to stay ahead of this year's trends.

With the economic recession in full swing and showing no sign of letting up until 2010, companies face a tough business climate, and within it, pressures to cut costs and hiring efforts. Although pinching pennies seems to be the theme for a majority of businesses, other trends are expected to emerge in 2009. Here’s a short list of what’s top-of-mind for employers and how it will affect you.

Karen Dwyer
Karen Dwyer
Utilizing Social Networks
Building online communities to enrich customer relationships is something businesses from large to small are turning to in 2009. With so many competitors for consumers to choose from in today’s market, brand building has become increasingly important to businesses everywhere. And, building an online community is a highly effective way to help build brand awareness. Businesses want to reach out to their communities and connect on a personal level. By creating online communities and targeting consumers in their markets, companies are increasing loyalty and giving customers a place to organize around a brand and its products and services. Many companies are utilizing social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other Web-based programs to launch their online communities, and others are creating stand-alone communities.

How does this affect you? As more and more businesses reach out through social media, the lines between personal and business interaction may continue to blur. Employees may be encouraged to be more visible online and promote interaction among consumers as a professional representative of the company. Others may have to deal with employer policies for personal community involvement online.

Reducing Costs
Budget cuts will be another common denominator for most companies in 2009. In addition to scaling back company expenses, companies will be looking for ways to stretch every dollar to maximize their efforts.

What this means for you is that you probably won’t see an increase in your salary this year or get that bonus for reaching department goals. According to a survey of 264 companies released by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a finance consultancy company, 49 percent of companies surveyed plan to decrease bonuses, while 24 percent plan to freeze salaries. Companies are cutting back on all facets of the budget, and unfortunately for you, salary increases and bonuses will be the first to go.

Going Green
Climate change and diminishing resources have become a major concern for both people and businesses. Finding ways to go green will see more momentum in 2009 as companies really ramp up their strategies to counteract global warming. Businesses are going green to save money and build a socially conscious brand. Going green can be costly in the beginning, but over time, it can be come cost effective and save companies lots of money.

You can expect to see more recycling bins, fewer Styrofoam products, and more energy-efficient lights in the workplace. Some employers might ask for employees to work together to come up with innovative ideas to help reduce waste and energy companywide.

Recruiting Quality Candidates
With unemployment at record levels, companies now have more candidates from which to choose. Employers can take their time to make sure each person they extend an offer to is the absolute best person for each job. Businesses will focus on skills, personality and qualifications before making a decision. Employers care about recruiting and retention in this economy because it costs a lot of money to train new employees to replace old ones, so employers will put a lot of emphasis on the quality of hire before extending offers in 2009.

As a job seeker, this may make a huge impact on whether you receive a job offer. It also means it may take more time to go through the job search process. Distinguishing yourself among the others is vital now more than ever in your job search. If you’re looking for a job, tailor your résumé to each position and make sure you’re ready to impress if you get called to an interview. If you’re already employed, make sure you show that you’re the best person for your position. Protect your job by doing quality work and show your boss that you’re valued in your job because you never know when you could be looking for one. Setting yourself apart from other candidates and co-workers may make the difference between keeping your job or a job offer and the unemployment line.

Make sure you stay up-to-date on these trends that businesses are already buzzing about for 2009. No one knows what exactly the new year will bring, but being familiar with these trends can keep you ahead of the curve and help you navigate a successful career path this year.

Express Employment Professionals is proud to serve the Santa Barbara community by helping people find good jobs and local companies find good employees, since 2007. Contact us today for more information on these types of trends and to ask how we can help prepare you for the upcoming year.

Karen Dwyer is owner of Express Employment Professionals, 9 W. Figueroa St. Click here to contact her or call 805.965.6900.

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