When you think about advancing your career, you likely consider pursuing new hard skills through seeking out training, obtaining certifications, and learning new tools. There’s no question that those professional development activities are important, but few consider the impact that their engagement level has on their career. For companies, an engaged employee is a highly valuable one, and yet only 33% of U.S. workers are engaged at their jobs. If you’re able to stand out as an engaged employee, you’ll not only be happier at work, but you’ll be more likely to get that next promotion. Let’s take a look at ways to improve your workplace engagement, surrounding culture, and subsequently, your career.
When starting a new job it’s easy to be an optimist, but staying positive gets harder with time. In staffing, recruiting, and sales roles especially, it’s all too easy to fall into the monotonous and never-ending cycle of chasing candidates or trying to close deals, focusing more on the losses than the wins. However, positivity is a trait greatly valued by employers, as studies have proven positive employees are more productive. Optimism is the foundation of healthy workplace engagement.
If employers want optimistic employees, how can you stay positive during your day-to-day grind? Firstly, it’s a mentality to actively keep in mind throughout the day. Remind yourself that the workplace can be a fun and lighthearted environment, and that stressing too much and burning out are no way to get ahead in your career. Secondly, focus on staying organized. Take time each morning to understand deadlines, what tasks need to be pushed, and what tasks you need to ask for help on. It’s far easier to stay positive when your desk, inbox, and mind are in order.
Embodying the Core Values and Mission Statement
Too often, an organization’s core values and mission statement are forgotten, left to sit on a rarely-visited page of the website. In fact, 61% of employees don’t even know their company’s mission statement. Healthy engagement means actively embodying what your organization stands for, and not just memorizing a list of nice-sounding qualities during your training. Print out the core values and pin them up on the wall next to your computer screen. At the end of each day, take a few moments to look at the list and reflect on how you represented one or more of those during that day.
What if your organization’s core values and mission are unclear or lack much meaning? If you see an improvement can be made, approach your supervisor to discuss ways to refresh the company’s core message. Even if your ideas don’t get put in action, being proactive in this fashion is the definition of being engaged and an impressive employee trait. Plus, think about how good it will sound in a future interview if you can say that you were instrumental in overhauling your previous organization’s core values.
It’s impossible to be engaged with your workplace and coworkers if you’re locked in your office all day or never leave your cubicle walls. Your organization likely holds at least some sort of activities or team bonding opportunities, and participating in these should become a priority. Besides, they’re fun. At CyberSearch, we feature events like Food Fridays, bowling outings, team lunches, holiday celebrations, mixologist cocktail-mixing lessons, group volunteering, and much more. If you feel you don’t have opportunities like this at work, take initiative and ask permission to be the one that plans them.
At the same time, participation should go deeper and permeate your entire day. Don’t just attend meetings, but participate in them. Ask questions, and share your ideas or thoughts. Regularly ask your boss and coworkers if they need a hand on any projects. Do the “small things” like holding doors open, refilling the paper towel dispenser in the breakroom if you see it empty, and tidying up the copy machine if paper is scattered about. These actions directly improve your work environment and get noticed and remembered by coworkers and managers. Not only are they your professional references, but they’re the ones deciding whether or not you receive a promotion.
Focusing on Communication
In sales and recruiting roles the ability to communicate clearly is critical to success, so it should be no surprise that 77% of employers value soft skills as much as hard skills. But communication goes beyond job responsibilities. Without proper communication, even your best efforts to be more engaged will fail. Whether it’s in-person, through email, or on the phone, remember that clear communication is what allows attempts to improve your workplace engagement to be successful.
Staying Engaged at Work
Don’t brush employee engagement and culture inconsistencies off as something for only your company’s management to be concerned with. It’s a two-way street, and seizing each day by practicing positivity, embodying core values, and actively participating will make you a shoe-in for the next big promotion at work. Keep it up, and you’ll quickly find yourself on the express train to your career goals.
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