In our competitive world today, acting as if you have work-related stress often means that you’re a very dedicated employee who cares about his job. Do you often get threatened by your boss for performing better or else lose your job? Being fearful of losing your job doesn’t make employees perform better.  According to the latest study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, continuous job insecurity doesn’t motivate employees to perform better. The study further said that job insecurity could have a bad effect on employees’ personality and productivity.

The study

For this study, researchers took the data from the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. One thousand forty-six employees answered questions about job insecurity for nine years. They also measured where the people fell in the big five personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and openness.

The study showed that having job insecurity for more than four years could negatively affect three of those five personality traits. Job insecurity also leads employees to be less likely to get along with other colleagues, and the employees become less mindful and emotionally unstable. The employee becomes very much unlikely to cope with stress and is also not able to achieve their goals. All this, in return, negatively impacted the employee’s productivity in the long run.

Lena Wang, Ph.D., Co-author of the study and a senior lecturer at RMIT University’s School of Management, said that some people might think that insecure work may increase work productivity. Because employees will work to keep their jobs in hands, but our research shows different. If job insecurity persists for a long duration, it could affect employees’ productivity.

The research says that employees who have long term job insecurity are more likely to decrease their efforts and may also shy away from building a positive and strong working relationship. This can affect their productivity in the long term.

This research seems relevant in our current ‘gig economy” where full-time jobs are becoming harder and harder to come by. And concerns over advancements in AI making job insecurity a much more significant concern.

One study published in the Journal of Community Health, 2016 found that, in the 12 months, 33% of respondents reported having insecurity. Interestingly, men were 14% more likely to have insecurity than women. The other group that was more affected by job insecurity were people who didn’t have educational degrees, multiracial adults, and people aged between 45-64 years old. People who reported job insecurity were also in not so good physical health and also were at greater risk of having obesity, missing work, smoking, and having mental issues.

Final words

So, if you think that job insecurity in the employees is good for your business, then you may be wrong because it can affect employees’ productivity, which in return can affect your business.