The FTSE is floundering, sterling is spiralling and British workers are bracing themselves for post-Brexit redundancies. The collective mood is one of apprehension and many wonder privately whether they might soon be summoned to a talk about streamlining, scaling back, reallocation or trimming the fat.
But, in the judicious words of the Warren Buffett, it is when others are feeling fearful that we need to get greedy. It is now that the most prudent employees become yet more proactive and resourceful, affirming their strong position in the job market no matter what comes their way. It is now that the ambitious turn away from fear and focus instead on getting ahead.
Celebrities, of course, have long made enthusiastic use of social technologies and take very seriously the issue of personal branding. Just look at how Oprah made $12.5m from crafting a single tweet in praise of Weight Watchers. But while the reasons behind Oprah's social success are largely self-evident, could social technologies really work for an accountant in Manchester?
Ed Major, co-founder of social business consultancy Orca Social, believes that they can. "If you can leverage social technologies, then you can have a voice in your industry" says Major "This means you have an influence over customers, colleagues and your industry media. Becoming a thought leader in your industry will then put you at the front of the queue when it comes to winning new contracts, promotions or even a new job."
For those of us who suspect we'd find little to say, then joining an employee advocacy programme is probably the way forward advises Major. Set up by forward-thinking companies looking to empower their employees, employee advocacy initiatives provide workers with content relating specifically to their company and industry so it is easy to edit and share on their social networks. Vodafone, IBM and Deloitte, for instance, all have employee advocacy programmes that are powered by internal technology platforms.
Therefore it can be worth finding out whether your company has such a programme and, if it does not, suggesting that a programme is implemented. After all, the benefit of employee advocacy is two-fold: bolstering your own profile while raising awareness of your company's brand. From the perspective of any boss, what could be better than making sure your employees are the best advocates of your brand?
"Your company brand is really too important to leave to your marketers alone" says Jos van Haastrecht, Head of Global Brand and Communications at global science-based company, DSM "The brand should be internalised in the whole company. It comes back in every touch point, so in your products, in your services, in the people, in everything you do."
Some employees have taken to blogging and even vlogging about their industry, using the platforms to share ideas and showcase talents while enhancing their professional credibility. Since anyone can now self-publish using a platform such as LinkedIn, a particularly insightful post can be shared with industry connections with the potential to reach a global readership of millions. Posting to a company blog or team webpage can also help develop employees to become teachers, advisors and thought leaders, cementing their expert status and strengthening company culture.
"Long-form publishing gives employees the ability to delve deeper into their subject matter and cultivate conversations on social technology channels" says Ed Major "From an employer perspective, it can be a highly effective type of content marketing, while for the individual, it's a powerful way of elevating personal brand".