Will your company keep you?

Job security is a growing concern.  Have you found yourself asking….

“Do I have it?”

“Will I lose it?”

If you have, you are not alone, most professionals have job security as a  “top of mind” concern.  Rightly so, we might add.     A better question might be…  “Is job security real?”

Positions  in corporate America are constantly open to evaluation.  The cost of labor is  typically  the  largest  expense a company can have.  Companies are designed to make a profit.  Even non-profits can’t spend more than they bring in. Every job in the company has to contribute to that result.  What does this mean to you and your job?  Simply that your job is always under review.

According to surveys, young professionals entering the workforce today expect to have eleven to twenty job changes during their careers.  Most of those changes will be voluntary and self-motivated.  Several will not.   Our hyper-competitive marketplace forces companies to make the hard decisions about jobs and the people in them.  No employee is indispensible, no job is sacred.  Companies do, however, value certain employees more than they value others.  Who stays and who goes often has little to do with the employee’s job.  Often is has everything to do with the employee.

Employers want people who bring value to the organization over and above their job.  These are the people they will try to keep even if the job is eliminated.  “Do I have job security?”  is the wrong question.   The real question to ask is “How do I increase my value to my employer?”  If you want to increase your value and be one of the people they keep, work to develop and demonstrate these four defining characteristics:

Risk Taking – Employers want their people to take risks.  Improvement comes from changing the status quo.  Employees who take risks show they have a “can do” attitude.  This is especially valuable in today’s economy.  Risk takers are results oriented people.  They aren’t afraid to try something new to get better results.

Pro-active Problem Solving – When you bring a problem to you manager, also bring a solution.  Today’s manager has too much on their plate today to solve every issue.  Good managers want your input and appreciate your willingness to be part of the answer.  People who bring problems without solutions will be a source of frustration, not value.

Competency – When was the last time you proactively took a course or seminar to improve your job knowledge?  Are you a member of your occupation’s professional associations?  Have you asked for additional training?  Competency is more than just doing your job well.  Companies want people who seek out opportunities to grow in knowledge and skill.  Don’t expect the company to pay for all it either.  Employees who take responsibility for their own development are what companies’ value today.

A Difference Maker –Difference Makers are employees who are motivated about their contribution to the company.   These employees want to make an impact.  They accept responsibility for their performance and they are accountable for their results.   Most companies will try to find a place for the Difference Makers.

Today no job is exempt from reevaluation, retooling, or elimination.  If you are worried about your job then you are worried about the wrong thing.  Instead, concentrate on the value you add to the company.   Take a risk, find solutions, grow and develop in your job and your industry, and be a Difference Maker.  Don’t let your job define your value.  You need to define it for yourself.

Do the Opposite – Employees Will Love You

When I finished my active duty service with the Navy I took a job as a sales representative.  The company sent me to a training session with a world renowned sales trainer.  During one session he asked us to list the first word that came to mind when we heard the term “salesperson”.  We all listed words like “pushy”, “obnoxious”, and “slick”.  He told us that if those are the words 95% of the pubic used to describe salespeople we should become the exact opposite and we’d be successful.  For me that strategy worked very well.

Employers can apply this lesson after they read the article linked below.  Not only does the article list the most hated jobs, it also provides great insight as to what employees hate most about a job.  It’s not what you might think!

Today it is the company with the best talent that beats the competition and increases profits.  Employers don’t want their top talent hating their jobs.  Read the article then be sure your company is doing the opposite!

10 Most Hated Jobs

Unpacking The Jobs Plan – What is Really There?


The link below is to an article in the Wall Street Journal about the President’s jobs bill.  It is an excellent overview and every employer should read this.  Some key points contained in the jobs plan….

  • Nothing really addresses the underling cause of current unemployment; the real estate mess.  Until real estate, housing in particular, starts to make a comeback we will not see tremendous growth in jobs.
  • Like a domino effect, the housing crisis has created an access to capital crisis.  This was cited in Inc. magazine as the number one reason why small businesses are not hiring in a robust way.  According to the article below nothing about capital is addressed in the plan.  Small business tax breaks are part of the bill, but they appear to be temporary and most small business owners will take those savings to the bottom line, not necessarily hire people.
  • A large portion of the plan relies on government sponsored/funded construction projects. While this may offer some temporary unemployment relief for that industry, it is doubtful the Super Committee will spare the axe for these projects.

Read through the article and leave me your thoughts.  The comments on the WSJ site are particularly interesting.

Article Link:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904836104576560593248402036.html


Step 4 or 4: High Performance Teams

Give employees a career instead of a job

“That’s just not fair!”

Whether it is true or not, this is not something you want employees to say.  Often is beyond a company’s power to control how employees feel.  However, company’s can avoid creating situations that might cause an employee to think or say this.  Companies DO have a great deal of control in which they hire and promote.

In my executive search business we often hear from executives who feel this way.  Either they have been passed over for a promotion or they have seen others passed over multiple times.  Sometimes their company never considered an insider for an open position. Whatever the reason, these people feel like a commodity instead of a valued contributor.  If this kind of perception starts to permeate the workforce the company is doomed – especially now that top talent is harder to find.

There are many reasons why a company would go outside to hire top talent; they don’t have a qualified person internally, they want fresh perspectives, they want competitor intelligence, etc…  Hiring outside is expensive, time intensive, and dangerous (see steps 1 & 2)! Often it can be avoided if companies have a career development culture instead of an open seat culture.

Hiring from your current employees only works if you diligently practice Step 3.  It also means a huge ROI on your labor expense.  When employees believe they have the opportunity to grow and advance they don’t spend time looking elsewhere.  When they enjoy a company development program they have greater confidence to take on more responsibility.  Employees will take their performance more seriously and pursue self-development agendas.  Giving an employee a career is a long-term investment strategy, one that every company must follow.

This is the final installment of the four steps to building a high performance team.  Putting these steps into practice will have tremendous impact on company profitability and competitive edge.  Don’t wait until your competition has all the top talent, beat them to the best people now!