A recent ERE.net article, “Helicopter Parents,” addresses the idea of companies “adjusting … business practices and offerings to meet [millennial generation] expectations.”
The conversation around how employers should cultivate an enriching culture that indicates employers are going to mentor, coach and care about the advancement and overall career satisfaction of their employees is valid. This topic is well-covered publicly in the media and privately, behind the scenes.
With the transparency of the Internet and social media, journalists, bloggers and others aspire to hold employers accountable for their business operations and human resource practices as well as how they impact the employee and the world at large. While not all companies abide by these methods of employee care, the topic is contemporary and top of mind.
Millennials are not the only ones seeking out more employee-friendly environments; all other generations up to, and including, Boomers desire work culture change, too. They seek increased freedom, flexibility, emotional rewards and collegialism.
With that said, and with all the talk of culture and work-life balance, are dialogues around what makes a company survive and thrive being diminished? Is discourse about productivity, performance and profits getting lost in the shuffle?
Perhaps not. If you search online, you will find hundreds—even thousands—of articles and blog post on this topic.
However, the dominance of the employee engagement and culture mantra is pervasive and perhaps is reducing, to some extent, the volume of the employer’s message that says employees also have responsibility to the overall culture process, and as importantly, to bottom line goals.
With that, following are five tips for employees to help take accountability in providing value to not only the culture but also to the company’s financial goals. This will help ensure workplace culture plays a part in sustaining future financial goals, enabling you more flexibility and free time to enjoy your life in and out of work.
1. Remember to work hard every day. It’s not just about working smart so you can get home, change clothes and go out with friends for happy hour or to volunteer at your favorite charity. It’s not just about the most efficient way to get from A to Z, so you can stop concentrating so vigilantly and pop into Facebook for a status update. It’s not just about feeling good about every task that you perform because you think work should always be fun and/or satisfying.
2. Ask your boss for one or two critical areas he or she could use your help beyond your job description. Inquire how you can help with a burning issue, problem, project or task that may help unfurl his tangled sails and get back on the right course. Problem solving is a key trait that employers look for. They not only need it in their staff, but they require it, and even if they don’t say it, it is an implicit need. Don’t ignore their needs.
3. Give before you get. Consider your job a netweaving opportunity to give before you get. For example, if you were hired to perform a special function, and you sold yourself in the interview that you are well equipped for such a task, then make sure you give the employer what you promised. This may mean self-training or reaching out to your own personal network for help before burdening your employer with additional training investment right out of the gate.
4. Perform in a profitable way. If you are in sales, bolstering the bottom line is easier to define. If your job isn’t directly sales- or profit-driven, you may have to get creative. For example, if you are in an administrative support role and this includes scheduling appointments for your boss, consider how you can more strategically assign his time to enable unbroken periods to work on sales, marketing or new product development initiatives. Or, if you are screening calls, protect your boss from time wasters; time is money, as we all know.
5. Prove your value. If you want more flexibility; if you want time away from your regular duties to spearhead social programs on behalf of your company; if you would like your company to invest more in you for advanced training, coaching and mentoring, prove your value first. Work hard and track your accomplishments and then periodically ask your boss to review goals and achievements with you.
Provide meaningful, measurable value while making sure your boss looks good and his burdens are eased. By doing so, it will be natural for him to want to support your career goals as well.