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The 4 Steps Employees Can Take to Own Their Engagement at Work

Okay, I know I need to go to a treatment program for this, but every once in awhile I get this urge to bust a few myths and shake things up. In particular, I like to do this around the topic of employee engagement. I can’t help myself.

If you think that the great ‘engagement fairy’ is going to fly down and wave their magic wand and proclaim that you are suddenly highly engaged at work, life just doesn’t work that way.

Back in my days as a senior human resources executive, I came across so many employees of all ages who truly believed that they were entitled to the big office, a huge raise, promotion to their bosses job or the best parking space in the garage. My favorite were the people who came in to interview with me and spent more time asking what our company could do for them, versus what they could do for us. How much do you want to bet that this group of ‘entitlement seekers’ was some of your least engaged employees?

Engagement isn’t a right,

its something that happens because you are working in an environment that allows you to do the best work you can. Employees want nothing more than to be part of something meaningful and feel like they’ve had a hand in making a difference. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves and part of the underlying success. They want to be energized by their job and look forward to going to work, willing to put in the extra effort it takes to make their organization a success.

No one group alone can own 100% of engagement,

there needs to be some level of ownership from senior leadership, managers as well as individual employees. However, there are some really important things that each employee can personally do on their journey to attain high engagement.

Here are my top 4 steps for employees to take to reach this goal.

  • Employees need to take personal accountability for their engagement at work. Just sitting back, waiting and hoping for divine inspiration will not lead to engagement. It takes an effort from each and every employee to move the needle.
  • Employees need to identify the motivation triggers that matter most to them and help their manager to understand what they need. No one knows what you need to be engaged better than you. Find your voice and speak up. Most managers are not mind readers.
  • Employees need to know how to work well with their boss. Management is not a one-way street; it requires participation from two people who both believe they have a stake in the outcome of the relationship.
  • Employees want to be part of something bigger than them — something for which they can be proud. Finding meaning in your work is one of the major cornerstones to achieving the magic of engagement. If you believe in the work you are doing and the mission of the company, it is easy to engage with the work.
  • No one knows what it takes to engage you but you! It’s time to step up and stop waiting for someone else to do it for you.