With ever-changing economic trends, workers endlessly worry about layoffs. The emotional cost of layoffs impacts your workplace. Employees may be living through personal health problems which stifles further employee engagement and diminishes morale.

As an employer, you can help employees feel secure in their jobs and boost workplace wellbeing. Read more to learn how to support your employees all while maintaining wellbeing in the workplace.

Why workplace wellbeing and job security is important to employees

Job security is about employees knowing their job is safe from layoffs and feeling assured they'll stay in their current position for the foreseeable future.

And yet, many workers recently experienced reduced work hours during the pandemic, and some lost their jobs. The post-pandemic recovery is happening amid additional stressors, like record-high inflation, rising interest rates and longer-term economic uncertainty.

As a key determinant of wellbeing, job security — or insecurity — can significantly affect workers and organizations. 

And yet, many employees don’t have that: 23% of Canadians are constantly worried about their job security, according to Indeed’s Work Wellbeing 2022 Insight Report. Uncertainty causes stress, and employees are more likely to lose their concentration, become less motivated, and make more mistakes. 

Uncertainty also leads to higher turnover. A survey on what Canadians are looking for in a post-pandemic work culture found that of the 22% of the workforce considering leaving their current job to find another, 44% are concerned about their current job security. 

How does job security affect wellbeing in the workplace?

 Whether an employee’s fear of losing their job is justified or not, they face stress and other negative physical and mental health effects.

Researchers examining the link between job insecurity and employee engagement found that engagement decreases by 37% when employees worry about their job security. For women in the workplace, Indeed Canada’s report Building on Optimism: The Future of Canadian Women in the Workplace found job security is second only to salary in importance.

Wellbeing in the workplace aligns with higher valuations, greater profits, and better company performance. Perceived job insecurity also has a significant connection with reduced employee engagement—a key predictor of productivity and profitability.

Addressing perceived or probable job loss is not as simple as telling employees their job is secure. Relieving job insecurity requires a concerted effort, so employers must consider all the external factors, from unforeseen global pandemics to advances in artificial intelligence, and endless news stories detailing the wave of layoffs affecting Canadian workers.

3 strategies to help employees feel secure about their jobs

When you help employees feel confident in their job security and stability, you’ll simultaneously have an effect on wellbeing at work. Here are three strategies to help address worries about job insecurity. 

1. Adopt open communication and transparency

Start ongoing, two-way conversations with your employees to understand what they value. You may learn they perceive their job to be insecure, even if, from your view, their job is secure.

Having two-way conversations is supported by research. Indeed’s analysis of job seeker behaviours, Meet the W+E Workforce: Empowering the Modern Job Seeker, details ways workers and employees can come together over shared goals. It’s a similar idea to stay interviews which more Canadian companies are adopting to retain and keep employees happy. 

Be clear about the concessions you can make for employees and the areas where you can’t reasonably deliver what an employee wants. And on transparency, workplace pay transparency is becoming increasingly important to individual and organizational wellbeing and success.

2. Encourage continuous learning

Learning new skills, whether through upskilling, reskilling, coaching, or professional development, can help employees and organizations succeed. When companies create opportunities for their people to grow, employees feel valued and secure knowing they have room for career advancement. 

Employers benefit too, as continuous learning and developing new skills ensures employees are better equipped to handle changes in their industry or job. For these reasons, providing and encouraging learning and development opportunities is integral to making employees feel better about their job security. 

3. Build supportive supervisors

Research from Gallup shows that supportive managers relieve job insecurity for employees and boost engagement. Researchers found that job insecurity undermines employee engagement, but employers can mitigate that effect by offering employees a supportive supervisor—specifically, a supervisor who delivers partnership and trust. 

The research also found that leaders should offer managers development opportunities. When managers can develop into coaches who provide meaningful feedback, they’ll empower employees to succeed. Leaders can also cultivate a transparent work culture where managers are open and approachable. 

The big benefits of job security for employees and employers

When you make concerted efforts to ensure employees feel their roles are secure and stable, you can help mitigate the adverse effects that accompany job insecurity. You’ll also boost employee engagement and wellbeing in the workplace, and in turn, realize increased organizational performance. Paying more attention to how workers view their job security brings big benefits to both employees and employers.