What is job insecurity? Job insecurity refers to a person’s fear of losing their job and everything that comes with it, like their income and benefits. There are two types of job insecurity: acute and chronic.
People experience acute job insecurity when there’s a specific reason to fear job loss, such as impending layoffs or terminations.
Chronic job insecurity occurs when an employee experiences ongoing worry about losing their job. People in the gig economy, who depend on short-term assignments for work, are more likely to experience chronic job insecurity.
Why It’s Important to Curtail Job Insecurity in the Workplace
What is job insecurity, and how does it impact the workplace? Feelings of job insecurity can have adverse impacts on both employees and employers.
Workers experiencing job insecurity are more likely to suffer from mental health challenges. They may have difficulty sleeping, suffer from substance abuse, and experience depression. At work, they’re less likely to stay motivated or perform at the level of their true capabilities.
Employees’ lack of engagement and motivation can be contagious to other workers. Employers may see higher levels of burnout in the office and a decline in morale.
Workers who lack motivation may demonstrate poor performance and general malaise. Those feelings can lead to less productivity and innovation, directly impacting the company’s profitability.
Reduce Job Insecurity with These 5 Tips
No company wants their employees to feel insecure in their jobs. If feelings of job insecurity spread, managers know it can dramatically impact the mood in the office.
The best way to overcome worries about job insecurity is to build strong relationships with team members and remain completely transparent when difficulties arise in the company.
Here are five tips for managing job insecurity among your team members.
1. Practice Empathy and Listen to Employees
Pay attention if you notice your employees aren’t performing as well as they usually do. Invite them for a conversation in your office — not to chastise them, but to understand what they’re dealing with. Explain that you’ve noticed they don’t seem as happy in their roles as they once were, and ask them why.
Pay attention to their answers and lend your support. If they express unfounded feelings concerning job insecurity, gently reassure them to ease their worries.
2. Be Transparent About the Current Situation
If your organization recently had layoffs or a reduction in force, having honest communication following the event with employees is essential, as many members of your team will likely be uncertain and worried about their own job status within the company. Communicating openly with your team about the organization's status following a significant change will help put employees at ease. In turn, they will feel more secure and able to focus on their work.
Conversely, if rumors are swirling about layoffs but you know they’re unlikely, hold a quick meeting with your team to assuage their fears.
3. Offer Training and Upskilling Opportunities
Employees who stick with you for the long term may have a more challenging time finding a new job than others, especially if they don’t pursue opportunities to learn new skills for today’s hiring environment.
Even if you’re not planning any layoffs or terminations in the near future, prioritize your workers’ well-being by offering training opportunities.
Workers with an up-to-date skill set will find it easier to find a new role in the event of company layoffs. It will be easier for them to bounce back following a job loss. With the right combination of training and education, they may qualify for a better-paying position than yours.
4. Provide Opportunities for Team Bonding
Sometimes, an employee’s feelings of job insecurity aren’t realistic. They may be due to the worker’s past experiences with other organizations or a belief that they don’t click with their team members.
If some of your workers could use a motivational boost, consider creating a few opportunities for team bonding. Activities outside work allow employees to build stronger relationships with their team members. Better connections with other employees can help ease feelings of job insecurity and improve team camaraderie.
5. Let Your Employees Know You’re There to Help
Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to prevent employee layoffs. You know they’re coming, and so do your team members. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t assist when they occur.
Tell your employees you’re there to help them through the process. Provide them with the resources they’ll need in their job search, like references or introductions to people in your network. That way, they know they’re not alone, and you’ll continue to be by their side through a challenging situation.
Don’t Let Job Insecurity Run Rampant Through Your Organization
While you can’t guarantee your workers a lifelong position with your company, you can continue to help them realize their capabilities and strengths.
Encourage your team members to work on their skills, so they’re less likely to feel a brunt impact from a job loss if it occurs. You should also maintain transparency with your workers. Employees who trust you are less likely to experience unnecessary job insecurity.