Much emphasis has been placed in the last few years on employers to try to engage their workforce to raise productivity and improve profitability, but a recent study has proved what I suppose seems like common sense – whether you actually engage with the business you work for is ultimately down to you. Don’t get me wrong, employers should do all they can to try to engage employees and have an obligation to do so, but at the end of the day only you can choose how you react or engage with your employer.
Engagement: stubbing your toe
It is a bit like stubbing your toe – there are moments of choice on how you react. If I’m in front of my 7 year old nephew or in front of clients, I will temper my language and reaction. If I’m by myself, I might hop around in pain muttering all sorts under my breath. The point being that there is a moment of choice when I can control what should be an automatic reaction, dependant on those around me.
I’ve been in a situation where everything at work is rubbish, and when something happens, because of the frame of mind I’m in I automatically look for the negative. The same thing happens when things are going well and you look for the positives. But the point is, even when we are feeling negative, we can choose how we react to what’s happening. The other point to recognise is that by being negative, yes our employer suffers, but so do the colleagues that we work with and the person who suffers most is us.
Being engaged with your organisation makes work more pleasurable and more satisfying – it’s tough to grudgingly just go through the motions. So what can you do to help yourself to engage with your employer?
1. Look for a role model: start with your senior leadership team, and work out who you identify with most – what do you admire in them and what can you learn from them?
2. Design a career path: look at your current role and look at the other roles in your organisation. Which role would you most like to do? What path could you take to get there and how can you identify the opportunities that will give you the right skills and experience to get there? Having a career plan within a company helps you to see a positive future, even in tough times.
3. Understand the company goals and identify the ways in which you personally contribute to them: this will help you to realise that you are an important part of the business and that your contribution matters.
4. Identify ways in which you can contribute more: can you see a process that doesn’t work well? Can you see a way of meeting your customer’s needs better? Can you see a way of saving money? Invest your ideas and opinions and contribute to the wider success of the business.
5. Choose to be engaged: Possibly the most important of all of these, and sometimes the hardest to do – take a moment to choose – and to be a positive part of the organisation.