Tales from the Corporate Frontlines: The Responsibility for Job Security
This article relates to the Job Security competency, commonly evaluated in employee satisfaction surveys. This competency evaluates how your employees view their job security within your organization. In today's often volatile or contingent labor market, it's crucial to understand the level of security your employees feel about maintaining their jobs. Studies show that employees who do not feel secure in their jobs are less likely to be committed to best assisting customers. Evaluating this competency can be especially useful if your organization has suffered recent layoffs or firings.
This short narrative, The Responsibility for Job Security, is part of AlphaMeasure's compilation, Tales from the Corporate Frontlines. It tells the story of two employees with two completely different ideas of what to expect from their company in terms of employment security.
Our company had just finished the second round of layoffs in a single year. The mood throughout the building was depressing. Several of the affected employees were long timers. I knew them well, had partied with them on social occasions and played with them on the company softball team.
I decided to visit them, to say goodbye and good luck. Not a happy task, but one that I felt compelled to do out of a sense of loyalty, and a small amount of survivor guilt.
First, I headed for Mike's office. I noticed that he was packing. He leaned over a box, staring silently at the contents. He looked up at me with sorrow, fear, and confusion. As I stood next to him, Mike told me how shocked he was that he'd been chosen. Always a model employee, with tons of knowledge and talent, he never thought this would happen. He wasn't bitter or angry, but couldn't help asking himself what he'd done wrong.
I didn't know what to say, except that I was sure there was nothing - these things had to be random...conversation got awkward, and I wished him luck and moved on.
When I reached Rick's office, things looked different. His personal belongings were already packed. He smiled at me and asked if I had time to sit. I offered my regrets. Rick looked at me, clear-eyed and calm. He told me that it was okay, really. One door closes, another opens. The world and its economy are changing so quickly...how can any job last forever?
Rick wasn't afraid, he told me, because he was confident in the skills he'd built while working at the company. He'd received plenty of training. Rick had been promoted twice, and he'd completed his degree using the company paid tuition assistance program. He felt confident that his next career move would be a step up. He understood that the layoff was not his fault; it was merely an unavoidable business decision. He appreciated all the support and security the company had provided for ten years, and used it to build his confidence in his own abilities.
I left Rick's office deep in thought about my own future. I realized that the responsibility for creating job security lies not only with the company. It's up to us as employees, as well, to build confidence to help deal with the changing realities of the modern workplace.
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Josh Greenberg is President of AlphaMeasure, Inc.
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