An individual’s level of professional wellbeing is predicated on many factors—one of which is job security. When employees feel they or their jobs are safe from termination or layoff, they are more likely to stay at the company and perform better while they’re there. For any organization, though, staffing challenges will arise and must be dealt with.  

How does job security influence employee attitudes?  

Job security has a significant impact on performance. It also influences employees’ intention to quit. Recent client data from InVista [1] show that, as job insecurity increases, so does turnover, while job satisfaction and organizational commitment decrease. On the other hand, as job security increases, job performance improves. To bolster employees’ perception of job security, make performance expectations clear. Employees should know what good performance looks like and be able to tell when they’re not meeting expectations. Rightfully, many organizations have moved away from the annual review and into ongoing performance coaching. This model better enables employees to know what they are doing well and what should be improved. 

Related article: How to encourage employee engagement 

Companies may face challenges due to economic hardship, and layoffs, salary cuts, and furloughs are sometimes inevitable. It’s important for leaders to provide a justification regarding these decisions. Good-faith explanations will increase the perception of fairness. However, layoffs are painful regardless of how thoughtfully they are implemented. They affect not only the person leaving but also the remaining employees. During these times, it’s crucial to be accessible, visible, and transparent. 

I don’t feel secure in my job—what can I do? 

It’s important to think through what you can do in your current role to be successful. Having clear lines of communication with your manager will help prevent any small issues from developing into larger issues. Let your manager know you are open to feedback and constructive criticism—accepting these will help you proactively address any concerns. Having frequent performance conversations and working to understand your manager and company goals can help you demonstrate your value and ensure you are meeting expectations. If you feel your skillset could be put to better use in a different role, take an inventory of your skills and accomplishments and determine how these might translate to another role in your organization. Actively practice and use those skills so that others recognize these strengths. 

Though job security is sometimes scary to think about, reflecting honestly on how safe you feel in your role can lead to improved communication and understanding about company issues. Other areas you may want to consider to improve your professional wellbeing include how much bureaucracy you are dealing with, your level of autonomy, and your perception of fairness. 

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[1] InVista. (2019). [Unpublished raw data for Client 1]