Employee engagement is the company culture word of the day, but what does it mean to you? No doubt you’ve completed an employee survey that asks about your engagement (although sometimes it's called something else).
If your company has a culture strategy then your People Ops folks already know the importance of periodically measuring engagement levels. Reflecting on your personal engagement level at work may cause some eye rolling, but the merits of considering your engagement isn’t exclusively limited to your company's corporate interests. Here are four ways to increase your engagement at work, while also making yourself a more engaged, more valuable employee.
1. Know Your Culture
Before you can determine the best way to be more engaged at work, you need to focus first on the company culture and what it means to you. Engagement is about serving your company in a way that is also self serving. Having a deeper understanding of what the company culture is and how your role adds value to the company mission will provide this. Acting according to that mission and applying those values to guide your decisions will help to ensure you meet the company's goals; even as you attempt to define what your own goals are.
2. Contribute in a Way That's Meaningful to You
What interests you? It doesn’t have to be related to your specific job function; maybe you're equally psyched about product development as you are about team dynamics? Just because your title says you do one thing doesn’t mean that’s the only contribution you’re allowed to make. If there’s something more you’d like to contribute, whether it’s a feature enhancement or just a new way of doing things around the office, speak up. Your thoughts are just as important as your colleagues’ and your customers’ opinions, and you should share your insights. There’s no guarantee that it will work out perfectly, but demonstrating a willingness to contribute beyond your direct responsibilities will lead to a more collaborative atmosphere. Plus, if it does turn out to be a game-changing idea, you’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing that you contributed something even more worthwhile.
3. Take Advantage of Learning & Development Opportunities
We live in an age where learning is at the tips of our fingers and companies are eager to help their staff develop as employees and human beings. If you have the opportunity to take part in a workshop or seminar, or if your company has a program for extended learning, you should take it. At the very least, you’ll gain new information; at the most, you’ll discover an interest in something that you never knew you had. Developing those interests on a regular basis and allowing yourself to grow continuously will keep your mind engaged and give you something to accomplish outside of your daily work tasks.
4. Lead By Example
Even if you aren’t the team lead, the way you engage with others and your contribution to the company culture is essential to your team's survival. Engagement is contagious, and people will take inspiration from you. Your enthusiasm to collaborate, offer feedback, and learn from your colleagues will spread to everyone, effectively raising morale as a whole. By setting an example for others, it presents an opportunity for them to learn and develop as well, which is a key factor in driving engagement. This in turn translates into folks sticking around longer and that makes you a more valuable member of the team. As you build relationships with your colleagues you communicate that you care.
That’s the essence of employee engagement - caring about your work. We’ve all had jobs where we just went in to collect a paycheck and those were probably some of the worst jobs we’ve ever had, right? Engagement is about more than just serving your company’s bottom line; it’s about being part of something that motivates you to get out of bed each morning. After all, if you’re going to spend 80% or more of your waking hours at work, don’t you want it to count for something more than merely paying the bills? Feeling engaged not only makes you a valuable employee, but it can also go a long way towards helping you develop a more rewarding work life.