Job security centrestage

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 08, 2012 18:58 hrs

pThe conventional wisdom is that job security is something only 50-somethings care about for younger workers it is way down the priority list In that sense the findings of the Towers Watson Global Workforce Study released earlier this week are a surprise According to the survey which covers those below 30 job security ranks first as a driver of attraction The larger trend that emerges is that employees now evaluate just how good the security blanket employers set up is Even the reputation of the organisation is now being perceived as a surrogate of trust rather than the badge of value it represented earlier Stress and anxiety about the future are common as over half the respondents agreed retirement security is more important today than just a few years ago That&rsquos a completely new idiom for India Inc which till recently was grappling with a high rate of attrition and wasn&rsquot quite sure whether an employee leaving work today would come back tomorrowppMany human resources experts however are not surprised by the study findings &mdash considering it inevitable that a global slowdown a listless economy and uncertain job markets affect employees&rsquo mindsets And despite exceptions such as employees in China and Japan ranking job security much lower at fifth this is largely true worldwide The Towers Watson study itself says security is taking precedence over almost everything all over the world and most employees would trade a smaller salary increase or bonus for a guaranteed retirement benefit that doesn&rsquot rise or fall with the market in other words a defined benefit More than half want to stay with their current employer until they retire Salary and job security top the list of what people want when considering a job followed by the opportunity to learn new skills and build a career &mdash which are of course also routes to a higher salary and long-term securityppIt would be dangerous if many Indian employers see in this an opportunity to get even with employees who seemed to have had the upper hand when the going was good and when companies were forced to hire anyone with an arm and a leg That would be myopic The winners would be the ones who use this time to develop employee engagement &mdash which may have begun life as a corporate buzzword but over the last decade has been widely acknowledged as a critical element in drawing out greater effort from employees Studies at a number of organisations have shown a clear relationship between workers&rsquo willingness and ability to go the extra mile and improved financial and operational results And high-engagement companies have been found to have operating margins three times higher than those with the lowest levels have 65 fewer days lost per year per employee and a 41 per cent lower retention riskppIf a company cuts jobs without being transparent and perceptibly fair when the clouds over the economy lift it will be left with the ones it didn&rsquot want to keep in the first place The most talented will jump ship at the first available opportunity simply because no one wants to work for employers they don&rsquot trust You can&rsquot run a 21st-century business with 20th-century workplace practices and programmes If anyone tries cracks in the foundation will show up It is difficult to disagree with Towers Watson that retaining those employees you want depends most on the quality of employees&rsquo relationship with their managers their trust in senior leadership and their ability to manage stress on the jobp

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