If your job is boring, uninspiring or makes you want to paper cut yourself to death, then you should read this. Your engagement (as an employee) has become a hot topic globally and has every HR department scrambling for strategies to improve their company’s employee engagement policy.
This is because evidence is piling up to prove that employee engagement translates into more productivity, employee loyalty and company profit. There are dozens of websites and articles advising CEOs, Excos, HR departments and business owners on how to better engage their employees but just like a promising romance, it takes two to create an ‘engagement’. In fact, it may be quite similar to choosing a potential spouse.
What are you doing about your engagement as an employee? What behaviours are you practicing to be an “ideal match” for your company? “What’s in it for me?” you may ask. Well consider that your engagement may contribute to a better quality of life for you, greater job satisfaction and indirect benefits that would result in working for a company with increased productivity and profits.
This is not about feeling as though going to work is like lying on a marshmallow cloud as it rains warm chocolate into your mouth and unicorns massage your feet with rose oil.
The Conference Board, a prestigious, non-profit business membership and research organisation located in the US defines employee engagement as “a heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organisation, that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work”.
So in order to improve your engagement and make yourself more of an asset to the company, you should ask yourself the following questions:
1. Who are these people and what am I doing with them? How well do your personal goals, ambitions and values line-up with those of your company? In the same way you wouldn’t want to commit to a spouse whose life ambition was to live a Bedouin nomadic lifestyle – when yours is to shop for outrageously expensive shoes – you don’t want to work somewhere that represents goals and principles that are in conflict with yours. Finding similarities and aligning your goals with that of the company’s will improve your engagement.
2. If I’m the square peg in this round hole, what other holes are there available? It happens; sometimes you really are not cut out for the job you have been allocated (or you just don’t enjoy it). But before you slap that resignation down on your manager’s desk, have you explored other potential avenues within the company? A conversation with HR may just result in you finding a much better niche without having to join the unemployment throngs. This would be a win-win situation for you and your company if it results in you being more engaged.
3. Have I explored all the perks? Have you schooled yourself on all the company benefits that you may be eligible for and are currently missing out on? Incentive can be a hugely motivating factor. Does your company offer opportunity for furthering your education and expertise and are there associated companies and/or partners that could offer discounts and other benefits that you may have overlooked? Your improved performance may directly translate into money in the bank and an ‘engaged’ smile on your face.
When it comes to your wellbeing and job satisfaction, the onus is on you (as much as or more than your company) to explore how to become more engaged and therefore more productive and valuable as an employee.
Your engagements may just be the next necessary rung on the ladder to your own greatness. After all, none of us dreamed of being mediocre and just “getting along until payday” as a child.
Kevin Liebenberg is managing director of Actuate
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