Do you consider yourself ambitious? Do you want to attain the highest possible advancements and achievements in your field to become a recognized business leader?
If you’ve answered yes to both of these questions, then congratulations: you possess the drive and the vision to succeed. Now on to the next question: How connected do you feel with your current company -- the organization itself, your boss and, equally important, your job?
Chances are, your answers this time are lukewarm at best. And that’s far from unusual, since Gallup’s latest “State of the American Workplace” shows that 70% of all workers in our country feel disconnected from their companies, superiors and actual work.
But did you know that being detached from your organization, even if you’re meeting all of your professional responsibilities, might be detracting from your career? What’s more, finding a way to feel engaged can be the single most important career advancement step you ever take.
If this sounds surprising, consider one of the driving forces behind successful organizations: institutional logic. According to the Harvard Business Review, “institutional logic holds that companies are more than instruments for generating money; they are also vehicles for accomplishing societal purposes and for providing meaningful livelihoods for those who work in them. According to this school of thought, the value that a company creates should be measured not just in terms of short-term profits or paychecks but also in terms of how it sustains the conditions that allow it to flourish over time. These corporate leaders deliver more than just financial returns; they also build enduring institutions. (…) In developing an institutional perspective, corporate leaders internalize what economists have usually regarded as externalities and define a firm around its purpose and value.”
What this means is that for many successful organizations, generating revenue is merely one aspect of their mission. The other aspect is to contribute value and purpose to the society to which they belong. In short, they feel engagement with their community.
But if you’re an employee with no stake in a company, why would you feel engaged? What benefits could you reap from caring about your organization?
To answer this question, examine a recent phenomenon in the business world: the fact that many organizations are allocating significant portions of their budgets to enhance employee engagement. Why? Because a worker who feels connected to the well-being of his company, his clients and the society to which his organization contributes is more likely to go above and beyond to find effective solutions; propose advancements, improvements or expansions; and volunteer his knowledge to assist other employees.
It follows that an engaged employee is not only more likely to help the company develop, but also more likely to make an impression on peers and superiors. Someone who adds value to the organization while being a good team player stands a better chance of being considered for senior positions, as well as being noticed—and headhunted— by other companies. Could you ask for a better place to be?
How to Become Engaged
It’s really not that difficult when you consider the bigger picture that extends beyond your cubicle to include your colleagues, company and community.
- Think like an owner and make it personal. Successful business owners are personally engaged with the success of their organizations. As an employee, you should recognize your value within the company—and own it! By making it personal, you’ll be motivated to go the extra mile.
- Be a team player. Organizations are only as good as the people who make them run. And no single worker can be a success without the support of others around him. Make it your duty to encourage, engage and support your colleagues.
- Find your anchor. It’s easier to feel engaged in a company if you know why you care about it beyond your own success. So dive into its history and learn about its contributions to society. Perhaps it’s a newly formed innovator at the forefront of life-saving medical techniques; or perhaps it’s been a staunch source of employment for many for over a century. Find something that makes you proud to be a part of your organization’s legacy.
- Recognize achievements. Make note of your achievements for the company. If your superiors fail to recognize them, bring them up during your evaluations. And always remember to add them to your resume. Likewise, recognize your colleagues’ achievements to demonstrate your engagement and team-oriented focus.
Make it your mission to be engaged in your organization, and you’ll find that dedicating discretionary effort becomes second nature. The positive results that can come from doing so will simultaneously help both your career and organization stand out from the pack.
Source: http://www.fastcompany.com/3017201/work-smart/for-real-workplace-engagement-empower-every-employee-to-be-an-entrepreneur; http://hbr.org/2011/11/how-great-companies-think-differently