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Job Security
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What Is Job Security?

The term “job security” can be defined as the likelihood that an employee will retain their job for an extended period without the risk of losing it due to job performance or external factors such as company downsizing. An employee’s job security is the mutual responsibility of both the employer and the employee. Employers are responsible to their employees to provide a reasonable level of job security and to effectively communicate that assurance to their employees. Employees are responsible to maintain their job performance and remain compliant with all company policies and expectations. Additionally, governments can play an important role in providing a safety net for workers, particularly during times of economic uncertainty. A safety net, such as unemployment insurance or social assistance, can help mitigate the negative effects of job loss and provide a temporary financial cushion for workers who are between jobs. While this doesn’t increase job security, it can decrease job security related stress and anxiety during times of economic uncertainty. Having employees aware of such “safety nets” during potentially unstable seasons helps them to remain focused on their job rather than focusing on planning for the worst. Another aspect of job security is known as “perceived job security.” This is the employee’s subjective perception of their job security, regardless of whether that perception is accurate or not. It is based on the employee's beliefs, expectations and emotions regarding their job and employer. Perceived job security can have a significant impact on employees’ behavior and job performance. For example, an employee who perceives their job to be highly secure may be more likely to invest in their work, develop new skills and work harder to improve their performance, while an employee who perceives their job to be insecure may be more likely to be disengaged, withdraw effort, or look for another job. Employers need to be aware of their employees' perceptions of job security and take steps to address any concerns or issues that may arise to maintain a positive and productive work environment.

Job Security vs Job Stability

Job security and job stability are related concepts, but they are not the same. Job security refers to the likelihood that an employee will be able to maintain their current job for an extended period of time without the risk of losing it due to various factors such as job performance, company downsizing, economic downturns or other external factors. Job stability refers to the level of consistency and predictability in an employee's work environment. A job that is stable is one that provides a consistent level of work, income and benefits, with relatively little change in job duties or working conditions. While job security and job stability are related, they can exist independently. For example, an employee may have a job that provides a high level of stability, such as a government job with a fixed schedule and benefits, but that job may not be secure if there are budget cuts or a change in government policies. On the other hand, an employee in a rapidly growing industry may have a high degree of job security due to the demand for their skills, but their job may not be very stable due to changes in technology or market conditions.

Why Is Job Security Important?

The importance of job security cannot be overstated, as it not only impacts the well-being of individual workers but also the overall success of the company. Job security is essential for a company's success. It impacts everything from employee retention, job satisfaction, company reputation, creativity and innovation, and costs associated with downsizing or restructuring. By understanding the importance of job security, companies can take steps to prioritize this aspect of employment and create a more stable and rewarding work environment for employees.

Higher Employee Retention

Employees who feel secure in their jobs are less likely to leave for other employment opportunities. According to this survey by monster.com, 25% of respondents agree that job security is much more important than a pay increase (that’s with 45% answering that they are equally important!). This reduces the company's turnover rate, which can be expensive in terms of recruiting, hiring and training new employees. Retaining skilled and experienced employees also helps to maintain a stable and consistent workforce, which improves productivity and performance overall.

Increased Job Satisfaction

Job security gives employees a sense of stability and peace of mind. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and motivation as employees feel valued and invested in their work. Satisfied employees are also more likely to provide high-quality work and engage positively with coworkers and customers.

Improved Company Reputation

Companies that prioritize job security are often seen as more attractive by potential hires. This can enhance the company's reputation and help attract top talent in the industry. A positive reputation also boosts customer confidence in the company's products or services.

Enhanced Creativity and Innovation

Job security can encourage employees to take risks and try out new ideas, which can lead to greater creativity and innovation. When employees are not worried about losing their jobs, they are more likely to think outside the box and experiment with new approaches to problem-solving. This can lead to improved performance and positive competitiveness within the company.

Reduced Costs Associated With Downsizing or Restructuring

Companies that prioritize job security may be less likely to engage in large-scale layoffs or restructuring, which can be expensive in terms of severance packages and the negative impact on employee morale. This can also lead to a loss of experienced and skilled employees, which can be detrimental to the company's performance. By prioritizing job security, companies can avoid these costs and maintain a stable and consistent workforce.

Ways to Improve Employee Job Security

In today's rapidly changing job market, employees are increasingly seeking job security. To increase job security and improve perceived job security, here are some effective measures to put in place.

Be Transparent and Communicate Clearly

Employers should communicate openly with employees about the state of the company and its plans for the future. This can include sharing information about the company's revenue, profitability and growth prospects. By being upfront about the company's situation, employees will feel more informed and involved in the company's future, which can increase their sense of job security.

Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Employers should review their compensation and benefits packages regularly to ensure they are competitive with industry standards. This can include offering health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits that are attractive to employees. Providing fair compensation and benefits can help employees feel valued and appreciated, which can increase their job satisfaction and sense of security.

Foster a Positive Work Environment and Culture

Employers should strive to create a positive work environment where employees feel supported and engaged. This can include offering opportunities for professional and personal development and growth, recognizing and appreciating employee achievements and fostering a culture of collaboration and teamwork. When employees feel that their contributions are valued and appreciated, they are more likely to feel secure in their jobs.

Provide Job Training and Skills Development

When a company invests in training and skills development for their employees, they not only invest in improving employee performance but also in providing them with transferable skills that can increase their job security. Providing employees with opportunities to learn new skills can increase their job marketability and make them less vulnerable to layoffs or restructuring. This also grants employees a greater sense of involvement in the organization and control over their employability.

Implement Performance-Based Evaluations

Employers should evaluate employee performance based on clear and objective criteria. This can help employees understand what is expected of them and how they can improve their performance, which can lead to increased job security and perceived job security. Providing regular feedback and performance evaluations can help employees feel more secure in their jobs by giving them a clear sense of their strengths and weaknesses.

Avoid Large-Scale Layoffs or Restructuring

This may seem obvious, but when focusing on overall job security and perceived job security, avoiding these whenever possible has a massive impact on employee morale. Employers should focus on creating a stable and consistent workforce by prioritizing job security. If layoffs or restructuring are necessary, employers should handle them with sensitivity and provide support to affected employees.

Provide Job Security Assurances

Employers can provide job security assurances to employees by committing to not engaging in large-scale layoffs or restructuring without significant cause. This can help employees feel more secure in their jobs and reduce turnover. Employers can also provide long-term contracts or other forms of job security to employees who are particularly valuable to the company.
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Kayla Farber

Kayla Farber

Kayla is the Chief Innovation Officer at Hero Culture, where the passion is to create company cultures of retention using the power of personality.
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