Sunday, June 7, 2009

For many workers, fear of layoff is big motivator

For many workers, fear of layoff is big motivator
For many workers, fear of layoff is big motivator for trying to please the boss

Christopher Leonard, AP Business Writer

(Source Yahoo Finance)
Her job description says Madeline Adams is a social worker. But lately she's begun volunteering for tasks she never had before at the St. Louis marriage counseling agency where she works: planning events, ordering supplies, stocking shelves. She estimates she's put in hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime work.
Adams isn't gunning for a promotion. She just wants to keep her job.

Bosses around the country these days are discovering it's not too much ask for a little extra help around the office. Anything but.
More employees seem to be showing up early, forgoing vacation time, taking on extra projects -- and doing it all with a smile (whether real or otherwise).
It's hard to say just how widespread the phenomenon is. But Labor Department figures show workers have sharply boosted their productivity over the past year as layoffs mounted. Workers' output-per-hour jumped 2.7 percent during 2008 -- nearly double the increase during 2007 and triple the increase in 2006.

Not all that extra productivity has been voluntary. Some workers are simply forced to do more as co-workers leave, notes Steve Davis, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute.
The pressure mounted Friday, when the government said employers cut 345,000 jobs in May, and the nation's jobless rate hit a quarter-century high of 9.4 percent. Fear of being the next layoff is pushing some workers to fight harder to cling to their jobs, said Bruce Tulgan, founder of New Haven, Conn.-based Rainmaker Thinking Inc., workplace consultants.

Often, the efforts amount to common sense. People dress better and show up early. They say nice -- OK, flattering -- things to the boss. And they try to look busy.
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