How secure do your team members feel in their jobs, and how does it influence their health and well-being? Job security is more than just a sense of stability; it profoundly affects employees and organisations. We delve into the impact of job security on employee well-being and what leaders can do to make a difference.
Job security refers to the assurance that your position is safe, and that you can expect to continue in your role for the foreseeable future or until you decide otherwise. Research, including a study from 1989, has shown that perceived job security influences employee health. Job security is intrinsically linked to mental health and quality of life, emphasizing its importance.
Beyond individual well-being, job security has wide-ranging implications. It influences employee turnover, retention, job satisfaction, and organisational commitment, which, in turn, impact profits and productivity. Recently, a study during the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain revealed that high job insecurity and work-family conflict correlate with increased anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Perceived job security is a subjective experience, and is influenced by five dimensions:
1. Company Concern: Do employees feel valued and believe in the fairness and honesty of management?
2. Job Permanence: Are employees confident about job security or anxious about job loss?
3. Self-Performance: Do employees consider their job performance and work quality to be commendable?
4. Company Stability: Do employees perceive the company as stable, growing, and successful?
5. Long-term Orientation: Is the job seen as a career with a desire to retire from the company?
Although job security is often considered a personal matter, leaders can influence their team members. Another study investigated two companies and suggested that company culture and climate can affect the relationship between perceived job security and employee health. Even leaders who aren’t involved in strategic decisions can make a positive impact on their team members‘ job security and well-being.
Here are some practical ways leaders can enhance perceived job security:
1. Clear Communication: Keep your team informed about changes and challenges. Open, honest communication fosters trust and reduces uncertainty.
2. Performance Feedback: Regularly provide feedback on individual and team performance to boost confidence and reduce feelings of job insecurity.
3. Professional Development: Support your team members in enhancing their skills and advancing their careers within the organization.
4. Recognition and Appreciation: Acknowledge and reward your team’s hard work and contributions to reinforce their value.
5. Work-Life Balance: Promote a healthy work-life balance to reduce work-related stress and anxiety.
6. Conflict Resolution: Address interpersonal issues promptly to maintain a harmonious work environment.
7. Empowerment: Encourage employees to take ownership of their roles and contribute to the organization’s success.
8. Mentorship: Provide mentorship and guidance to help employees feel more secure in their career paths.
9. Company Culture: Advocate for a company culture that values employee well-being, fosters growth, and emphasises long-term commitment.
Remember that, as a leader, you play a crucial role in shaping your team members‘ experiences and perceptions. By fostering a supportive, communicative, and empowering work environment, you can positively influence their sense of job security, contributing to their overall well-being.
(This article is based on a chapter in Better Work: A Leader’s Guide to Creating Happier, Healthier, and More Productive Workplaces.)