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.

Is Your Job Analysis Process on Auto-Pilot?

A funny thing happened on the way to school last week.  My son, a high school senior, was getting ready for an awards event.  Before leaving he asked me to tie his tie for him.  Putting a tie on is something I’ve done almost every morning for more than twenty years.  You think I could do it in my sleep by now.  But I couldn’t!   First I tried to do tie it standing in front of him while it was around his neck.  That was strange; I’d never done it before from that perspective.  Then I tried to tie one around my neck, over my own tie, while standing in front of his mirror.  For some reason that was even stranger.  It took me almost fifteen minutes before I could get it tied.  For years I put on my tie in the same room, at the same time, in the same mirror, the same way for so long.  Now I was out of my element, in a new environment, and I couldn’t do it.  The entire process was on auto-pilot and when something new came along the process broke down.

The same thing can happen if your job analysis process is on auto-pilot.  When a job evaluation has been done the same way for so long it becomes ineffective.  Companies that want to attract top talent must transcend the tradition of writing job descriptions.  Today’s talent will not come to your company when the human resources process for job evaluation is a cut and paste operation.  The HR job description from four years ago is not the same as a true performance based job analysis.

The process of job analysis consists of several steps (see my related post The Pros  & Cons of Job Analysis).   If you think your job analysis process is on auto-pilot, take a fresh approach.   Start with your HR job description.   This will have all of elements of what a person needs to have to do the job.  But the job analysis process goes well beyond writing job descriptions.   The next step is to understand what a person must do to be successful.  This can be different from the HR job description.  Would you rather have a person who has done the job successfully in the past or someone who has all the job description requirements?  Most Strategic Employers would take the former, even if person didn’t have all the requirements in the HR job description.

Take your job analysis process off of auto-pilot.  Begin the process of job analysis with what someone does to be successful, not what they need to have.

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The Number One Way to Fail at Motivating Employees

Are you still Fishing for employee motivation?   This was a popular employee motivation strategy several years ago.  There are lots of books on Amazon.com that will teach you about how to motivate employees.  Every business wants good employee relations and a happy, productive workforce.  Strong and positive employee morale is necessary for optimum productivity.  I can’t think of any client who has told me they didn’t want high employee satisfactory.  All companies work hard to motivate employees.

Corporate leaders and business owners have a lot of reasons to know how to motivate employees.  High levels of employee engagement make their jobs easier.  They want less stress in their employee relations.  They have profits to increase.   They want to sharpen their competitive edge.  They want to keep costs low and productivity high.  They want to generate more revenue.  They want, they want, they want…   Are you reading this?  They want to motivate employees for all their corporate reasons and this is why most companies fail in how to motivate employees.

Employee motivation, employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and employee relations will never improve if it is all about what the company wants.  No one is going to work to make the company better or to reach company goals.   Organizations will fail if they believe a slick, new “program” is the way to motivate employees.  Employees will only be motivated when they know what’s in it for them.   They will increase productivity only when their needs are met.   Incentives to motivate employees must be tied to what they value and desire.  Strategic employers know this.  They work hard to understand what makes their employees tick.  Only when employee values are linked to motivating incentives will companies succeed.

Employee Retention Hot Topic for Business Leaders

Entrepreneurs and business leaders report employee retention is still on of their top 3 challenges.

A 2011 AFLAC Workforce Report found that 18 percent of business owners see the benefits package as a direct influence on an employee’s decision to leave.  The report lists voluntary benefits as a way to reduce costs and still offer quality benefits.

What is important to note, however, is that even in a recession and high unemployment, good people are willing to leave their jobs.  This makes solid employee retention strategies an essential part of every business opeation.  As the report states “it takes time and money to recruit, interview, train and hire a new employee.”  Buisnesses who don’t drive employee retention strategies from the top down are going to lose their competitive edge.

If your business doesn’t have a written and implemented plan to minimize employee turnover, today is the best day to start!