4 Tactics For Rethinking Employee Security And Wellbeing

The red-hot labor market is finally cooling down, but it’s still tight by historical standards. Mushrooming tech layoffs haven’t dampened overall demand for salaried professionals in other industries, and hourly workers remain in very short supply across the board.

Meanwhile, hiring and training costs are higher than ever. According to SHRM, the true cost of replacing an employee is three times the starting salary. Soft costs, like pulling department heads or executives into the interview process and away from core responsibilities, account for most of that expense.

In this environment, providing for employees’ security and well-being is not merely the right thing to do from an ethical perspective. It’s a business imperative. Employees facing burnout, financial instability, or safety threats are more likely to underperform and eventually quit than those who feel safe and fulfilled.

As a leader, you have more power to shift this dynamic than you might imagine. Adopt these four strategies to reimagine workplace security and well-being for your team.

1. Leverage Advanced Fraud Protection Solutions

Identity thieves and financial fraudsters have targeted workers and their employers for years. Recent economic turmoil and rapid advances in artificial intelligence are compounding the issue, creating a truly unprecedented threat environment.


According to a 2022 report by PwC, more than half of firms with $10 billion or more in annual revenues have been targeted since 2020. Nearly 20% reported losing at least $50 million in a single incident.

Experian’s 2023 Future of Fraud Forecast finds enterprise-level fraud bolder and more innovative than ever. Social engineering scams are increasingly common. So are ‘synthetic’ or ‘Frankenstein’ identity scams, where scammers mix real and made-up data to create convincing fake identities, which they then use to open credit lines with as many retailers as they can dupe.

Leaders can better help combat employee identity theft through proper cyber security training as well as by adopting fraud prevention and identity verification tools. By setting up the right systems, processes, and tools, employees are more likely to feel, and be, protected against identity scams.

2. Help Employees Upskill On Their Own Time

Finding time to earn new credentials, or simply to meet continuing education requirements, is challenging for employees working unpredictable shifts or navigating the ‘always-on’ demands of remote work.

Historically, employers haven’t had much incentive to help them find time—or cover the costs, for that matter. But it’s increasingly clear that in-career education is a good deal for employers as well.

With potential recruits scarce, providing tuition and time off (or at least flexible scheduling) for career development coursework and bootcamps is more cost-effective than scouring the talent marketplace for a replacement who has already done the work.

For example, online learning marketplaces like edX are helping make upskilling more accessible for all. Through online learning marketplaces, employers have the opportunity to upskill and better retain employees with online learning experiences.

Upskilling can take many different forms in the professional space. According to the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, 1.5 million monthly searches are made by people and companies looking for business coaches, life coaches and executive coaches. This has led companies like Bravely to partner with employers, offering one-on-one career coaching to teams of various kinds.

3. Make Hourly Shifts More Predictable

Replacing lost hourly talent was once as easy as taping a ‘help wanted’ sign to the door. But with ongoing worker shortages in the lower rungs of the labor market, employers in low-margin, labor-intensive industries need to be more intentional—and creative—about attracting and retaining quality employees.

The good news here is that simple solutions can dramatically improve employee well-being and raise morale across the board. A groundbreaking 2018 study found that Gap stores with relatively stable employee scheduling performed better than comparable stores where employees could expect to be asked to come in—or told to stay home—at the last minute.

The study identified tight labor budgets as a roadblock to widespread stable scheduling. Fixing schedules 10 to 14 days out is a logistical challenge in dynamic retail and restaurant environments too. But predictability delays burnout and eases financial stress for employees who may live paycheck to paycheck, reducing turnover and replacement costs. This leads employers to consider how they can adopt a system where predictable, consistent schedules are standard practice in order to foster a more stable work environment.

4. Create Safe Spaces To Manage Mental Health

Helping employees openly struggling with unpredictable work schedules or financial fraud is comparatively easy. Addressing less visible struggles—personal or family loss, depression, anxiety—is often more difficult.

Cultural barriers may compound the challenge. In certain industries, often male-dominated ones, taboos around open discussions of emotional or mental health issues wall off vulnerable employees from colleagues eager to lend support. Studies have shown that people who work in construction, for example, have a higher likelihood of dying by suicide, compared to other occupations.

This won’t change unless leaders in culturally vulnerable industries commit to intentionally break down barriers to psychological safety in the workplace. Cal Beyer, director of Risk Management at Lakeside Industries, led the expansion of his company’s Employee Assistance Program to cover hourly union employees and expanded safety orientation to cover mental health and suicide prevention. The results saw that EAP usage jumped, labor and management deepened collaboration on workplace mental health.

Your organization might face different challenges around employee security or well-being, or might find different ways to effect change. But the status quo won’t do. Leaders must take actionable steps in order to foster and facilitate an environment where employees feel secure and valued not only as an employee, but as a human being.

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