Monday, January 29, 2001
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Posted on: Monday, January 29, 2001

60 Seconds on Business
Skills give workers 'job' security

By Dr. Drake Beil
President, Solutions Inc.

Job security is no longer employment security — a guaranteed job no matter what. Rather, it’s security based on an individual’s increased value in the internal and external labor markets.

Managers in the 21st century will have to use new motivational tools as a result, tools that focus on education and training. IBM and General Electric, for instance, have been able to attract and retain top talent because people see them as a good place to learn.

For many workers, access to training and opportunities to learn will gain importance. They’re seen as rewards, and as career development tools. New rewards are not based on status, but on contribution. You can’t always have regular promotions and automatic pay raises, but the excitement of learning and the chance to advance can work well instead.

Banks and financial firms have transaction activities that must happen over and over. They want to automate these as much as possible because cost per transaction is much lower for an ATM than for a teller. That doesn’t create a strong sense of job security, so the real career opportunity is in moving on from teller positions into other roles.

What can banks do to keep these people and build on the valuable customer contact skills they have developed? They can cross-train the employees so they can expand their skills. One way to accomplish this is a job rotation program. This approach gives employees a broader understanding of what the other people in the company do, and removes some of the boredom that often induces errors. In the case of vacation or sick leave, it also makes it possible to replace employees from within.

If you’re experiencing high turnover in a particular job, that’s a very good time to start a cross-training program. It will give your people access to education, and perhaps create a new sense of job security in your organization.

Dr. Drake Beil can be reached at

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