Career Advice, Insights

How to Be a More Engaged Employee

The struggle is real, folks. Employee engagement is on the decline, and it’s something every employer — and employee — needs to take seriously. According to Office Vibe’s Global & Real-Time State of Employee Engagement:

  • 60 percent of employees notice that their job is taking a toll on their personal life
  • 63 percent of employees feel like they don’t get enough praise
  • 57 percent of employees wouldn’t recommend their organization as a good place to work
  • 56 percent of employees believe that they don’t have any career advancement opportunities

The statistics don’t lie: many employees are not engaged. But it’s not just on employers — I firmly believe that employee engagement is a two-way street.

Employers should be engaging with their employees to build meaningful relationships — at my company, we send out bi-weekly pulse surveys to gain regular feedback from our employees — but employees should also show some initiative to become a more engaged employee. Because odds are, becoming engaged will make your day-to-day life at the office a whole lot more enjoyable. It might even boost your work performance!

Having personally read through hundreds of comments submitted by employees, I’ve found myself providing some of the same tips and advice over and over again. Below are my suggestions on how to become a more engaged employee.

Provide Feedback

How is a company supposed to fix a problem they aren’t aware exists? If your company is investing in surveys and feedback tools, the least you can do is engage and provide your thoughts and feedback. And if your organization does not have these tools, request them!

Transparency is expected in most organizations today. Let your employer know you don’t understand a certain policy or don’t agree with something. If you have a great suggestion, then share it! It doesn’t necessarily mean your new idea will be implemented, but at least you can have your voice heard and be a trusted source of feedback for your employer.

If you don’t speak up now, it’s hard to complain later. Just remember, feedback is nothing without honesty —  that’s what your employer is asking for!

Ask Questions

Question your employer. Not in a rude or “gotcha” fashion, but ask tough questions. I’ve found that when an employee asks a question, and I can provide context as to why a decision was made, it benefits all parties involved. Not only do you get your answers, but you show your employer that you’re invested in the company.

Set-up a regular meeting cadence with your manager — you can ask questions, talk about your performance and set career goals. These meetings don’t have to be long, but dedicating time from you and your manager’s calendar shows how important this meeting is to your success.

Become an Ambassador

You hear a lot today about employer branding (defined as a company’s ability to differentiate and promote its identity to a defined group of candidates that they’re interested in hiring). HR writer, speaker and advisor William Tincup simply states employer branding is “your unique scent.”

There’s no one better to help share your company’s message than you — an employee of the company. Studies show time and time again that employees are viewed as more trustworthy than CEOs and/or marketing departments, and recommendations from friends and family always rank near the top with respect to trusted referral sources.

When your employer publishes a great blog post, share it with your network. At the next company event, take some fun photos and post them using the company’s branded hashtag. Being an employment brand ambassador will show employers you care about the company, and not just yourself.

Give Back

To give is better than to receive. Whether you’re talking about presents or philanthropy, this statement always rings true. Many companies are fully on board with social responsibility and giving back to the communities where their employees live, work and play.

If your organization sponsors and/or volunteers at these events, do yourself a favor and be present. Sometimes these charitable events are after hours or are on the weekends and not necessarily convenient. However, your attendance will not only impress your employer, but more often than not, will also enrich your life in more ways than one.

No one person, or even team, is responsible for employee engagement. Every employee at an organization adds to or takes away from the company culture. We spend a tremendous portion of our waking hours at work — why not be engaged while you’re there?

Chris Skaggs is the head of talent and brand at TSP, a privately-held IT services company, and co-founder and president of Leighton’s Gift, a non-profit with a mission of turning a tragedy into something positive. Branding, digital marketing, talent acquisition and HR are all functions Chris has developed building teams, processes and strategies from the ground-up. Passionate about giving back, he also serves on the boards of a variety of different organizations. A natural storyteller, Chris’ work and experiences have been featured on CNN, Marketing Sherpa, CBS Radio, Recruiter.com and Glassdoor. Get connected online, @skaggschrisL.

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