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.