Job Security or Job Satisfaction?
Of course the objective is obtaining employment that provides both job security and job satisfaction, yet what is one to do when he or she is left weighing off one versus the other? The preference is this will be a conjunctive conversation and not a disjunctive one…the “and” versus “or” distinction! We wish to hear those disjunctive/ declarative processors asserting “My job is secure!” “My job is satisfying!” And, we wish to hear those conjunctive/ cumulative processors asserting “My job is secure and satisfying!”
Elsewhere on this site there are numerous references to current potential capability, mode, dissatisfying employment arrangements and the simple fact remains that many individuals are misplaced in association with their employment. In each case there are several factors that require consideration, not only when applying for a position and on the receiving end considering potential candidates but also when reevaluating one’s long term commitment to his or her employer and vice versa.
The formula that requires consideration is CMP + SK +V +RB; where CMP is complexity of mental processing, SK is skilled knowledge, V is valuing the work, and RB denotes required behaviours. The latter is apt to be an expression of one’s satisfaction with the work assignment, or is an expression of the functional capability of the organization and its supporting systems or the manner in which it engages, respects and dignifies and acknowledges its employees.
In consideration of each of these essential focal points, there is apt to be a problem if any of these factors fall short. Granted additional skills and knowledge can be acquired and for individuals who possess high CMP these would be learned in short order. The employment relationship nonetheless becomes increasingly problematic when the employee does not value his or her work assignment, or when CMP falls below the mark or is significantly underemployed. The result is apt to manifest itself in the behaviours of the employee and management rather than focusing on the underlying problem will inevitably become fixed on the employee’s behaviour. The conclusion is apt to be the requirements for behaviour are not being met and it is the behaviour itself that is the problem. Not only might the employee not value his or her employment but the employer may no longer value the employee.
Where should the employer and employee go from here? Both employee and employer will be drawn to concerns regarding security. The employee will begin a trade off conversation that is weighing off the pros and cons of resigning versus staying on – on the one hand assessing and incurring the risk in resigning and on the other hand considering the benefits associated with job security. The employer will be drawn to consider the employee’s continued employment as a risk to delivering required outputs weighed off against the potential liability associated with terminating the employment relationship. In each case there is more negative influencing these choices than poistive. It is unfortunate but this is the world that many employees live within, in their organizations. The employee contemplating a change might conclude that the next organization is apt not to be any different. The result for many is they resign but don’t leave, becoming victims within the organization.
What needs to be done? Ultimately, we will want to create organizations that match employees compatibly with their work assignments and will want to have a trust enhancing workplace where both the employer and the employee can be direct in exploring the problem and in defining a mutually acceptable solution. This might include reassignment and occassionally deselection and dismissal. The organization, as a result, should view the deselection and dismissal process as one that is supportive of the employee, preparing the employee for life beyond his or her current assignment, providing fair benefits and adequate severance. We might go as far as to consider the employer could provide additional skills and knowledge that would assist the employee in obtaining a new position that he or she values. It is agreed that the immediate response from most employers is likely to be one that suggests that this is not the responsibility of the employer. We should consider that perhaps in the first instance the employer should be drawn to consider the costs associated with employing individuals who have resigned and not departed. Second, we might consider that the employer who offers alternatives to employees who feel trapped, because they cannot move beyond their security needs that are being experienced in deficit, defines some of the characteristics that are compatible with the workplace most people desire to work at.
Are we in the business of capitalistic economics, or social welfare, or both? And, how does one support or detract from the other? Organizations that are judged by their employees as being socially responsible are rewarded with improved economic results. How are organizations that become fixed on capital greed rewarded by their employees? I think we all know the answer to that question. Recently, I read the words of wisdom provided by a Chief Executive promoting “bloom where you are planted”. Some flowers simply will not bloom in the shade, or without water, or in inclimate temperatures. We might suggest that people should “plant themselves where they stand a reasonable chance of blooming.”
I think that’s pretty good advice.
When I had to guest lecture at someone’s course on leisure, I came across a study that found that life satisfaction is more highly correlated with satisfaction with leisure time rather than with job satisfaction. I don’t know how that factors in. And it ignored any stratum issues, of course.
What about the idea of the person who is leaving as a pariah?
The distinction between work and leisure, is the risk exists that the individual becomes resigned at work, and as a result becomes a victim within the organization. We all have considerably more control over the activities we select for leisure and if our leisure is no longer satisfying we find something else with which to occupy our time.
With refrence to the Pariah it would help to understand what has contributed to this disposition. The first question I usually ask is “what part of the system is dysfunctional such that this individual is interpreted in this manner?” Each employee nevertheless is still entitled to respectful, fair, and dignifying treatment.
This is a good description of the degenerative process of going from initial excitement with a new job to hating the very same job. As an employee I find it necessary to hide the value of “V” from the employer while deciding how much the security matters to the equation. If an employer knows the “V” the employee places on his work is low, he is likely to dismiss the employee as a liability.