Across organizations of every size and description, employers tend to want similar things from their staff. One such universal is that companies want their teams to connect on a personal level with the company's mission and goals. Employers want engagement, and they want to look around the workplace and see workers who commit to the enterprise and equate company victories with personal victories.
But while the desire remains strong, managers don't seem to be getting what they want. According to a series of surveys conducted by Gallup since 2000, employee engagement levels haven't risen in more than a decade. Surveys across multiple industries show these levels holding steady at about 32 percent in the US, despite corporate interest in bringing the numbers up.
But what does this mean for you, the worker-bee?
On an obvious note, it you're not committed to or inspired by your work, it could translate into general unhappiness and negativity. Even more importantly, though, new research indicates that engagement is often strongly correlated with development and leadership opportunities. So if you're not engaged, you're also likely not growing.
Needless to say, it's to your benefit to be enthusiastic about the work you do, so here are a few things to consider if you're interested in upping the engagement ante.
Help your employer to help you.
If you aren't engaged, and you genuinely don't care about your company's mission, don't put all your energy into faking a smile day after day. Instead, open the lines of communication and provide your manager with tactful, honest feedback. If you aren't getting what you need (tools, resources, compensation, recognition, etc.), your fake smile won't change the situation. But your honesty will. Sit with your manager and discuss the obstacles that stand between you and a genuine, heartfelt interest in this company's future.
Ask and you shall receive.
You'd like to stand out, but your manager isn't giving you this opportunity. So do the math. Show a little enthusiasm and consider asking for more responsibility, or asking to be included in company decision-making processes. How you can support the mission in ways that extend beyond your job description?
A little engagement can go a long way.
Again, if nobody around you seems to know or care what will become of this organization, and they're giving the minimum each day, your small efforts to connect will stand out. And your small efforts might lead to something more. Your enthusiasm may create a ripple effect that can spread out and influence others. Consider this "engagement gap" as an opportunity; take a leadership role and change the attitudes around you by changing your own.
—For more on how to connect with your job and change your workplace for the better, explore the tips and career-building tools on MyPerfectResume.