Chances are you have seen and heard the vast amount of reports and research indicating that employee engagement is a critical component of retention, productivity, and the overall success of a company. As such, supervisors, managers, and CEO’s have been focused on ways to understand what employee engagement is and how to increase it in order to impact the culture, morale, and bottom line within their organization.
While these leaders work towards creating a workforce of highly engaged employees, I want us to talk about what you as an employee can do to recognize and improve your own level of engagement at work. Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe the role of a leader is to help engage and create committed employees on their team; however I am also a big fan of choosing your own destiny and taking steps each day to become a survivor of your experiences, not a victim of them. You know…the whole “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade” mentality. So here is my spin. Feeling disengaged at work? Engage yourself.
Here are some steps to get you started.
I prefer to take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side goes the company’s mission and value statements and on the right is a list of what I value or want to accomplish in life. Then I draw lines connecting the statements on each side to see how well they match up. Don’t know the mission of your company? Ask. The worst that can happen is your boss says “we don’t have one” and then you can ask if you can lead a committee to create one!
This exercise will help you feel connected to the bigger picture even if you had one of those days where it feels like all you did was play catch up and put out fires. Remember, a lot of the work you do each day will be uninspiring and yet very necessary to get the job done. It is okay to admit this. What is important is to recognize the many things you get done each day that DO tie back to the things that are most significant to you.
Feel like you aren’t getting enough feedback or are unsure if you are making a difference? Asking your peers and managers to provide you with feedback will help you see how your actions and day to day activities are impacting the team. You might discover new strengths that you never knew you had, or ways to increase your impact and support on the team. Asking others for feedback will also help to create a culture in the office where more and more people discuss each others strengths and needs and conflicts get addressed quickly instead of growing into unmanageable problems.
People commit themselves more when they are tied to and involved in something greater than what they are getting paid to do. When we volunteer our time, or agree to do something above and beyond our normal scope of work, it helps inspire creativity, vision, and excitement around our day to day work. You might find that you meet new people from other departments, or you get to know your coworkers on a different level and realize you have more in common than you thought.
So next time you find yourself wondering why you are feeling disconnected from your work, or questioning if you are truly impacting the team or company, don’t rush to the nearest job board and seek a career change. First, try making lemonade. Engage yourself by asking more questions, seeking feedback, and making new relationships. Doing so might be just what you need to feel reconnected and inspired at work.
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