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Satisfaction or Engagement?


Hopefully your job brings you both!

Interestingly enough:  people can be satisfied in their roles but not necessarily engaged.  However, people who are engaged are almost always satisfied.

Monster.ca offers a list of 10 situations that will help you put your satisfaction into perspective.

  • You’re passed over for a promotion (or special developmental project).  When you asked for feedback for next time, what was the answer?  (It’s challenging if there’s no obvious next step)
  • You don’t get along with your boss.  Can you disagree but still commit?  (It’s tough to compromise your values or change “fit”)
  • You’re depressed about work when you’re not there.  Do you feel anxious on Sunday about returning to work on Monday?  (Attendance Management programs track spiked absences on Mondays or day after public holidays
  • The company is bought.  Has your new parent company or senior management team indicated “restructuring”?  (Again, it’s tough to compromise your values or change your “fit”)
  • The company has already terminated people without cause.  Has this resulted is more work for you as a survivor of this round?  (Take note of how people were let go:  was it with dignity and respect (and a package!)?  That will give you a clue as to how you’ll be dealt with)
  • People have stopped talking with you.  Do you feel included or excluded in decision making?  (Each one of us needs and wants to heard)
  • You don’t feel challenged.  Do you see a clear career path and does your boss support you?  (Stats don’t lie so build your business case on how you add measurable value and what you see as your next steps)
  • Your boss and/or colleagues undermine your work.  Do you feel your work isn’t valued and/or your decisions are changed?  (Again, ask for feedback so you can work with the facts)
  • Your stress has become unmanageable.  Are you running out of techniques for self care?  (Depressing as the labour market may seem, there are always new opportunities for people who work smart as well as hard;  you just have to dig deeper)
  • You have nightmares about your job.  Are you lying awake at night wondering what your options are?  (This is quite different than thinking about your dream job!)

The Gallup Organization’s Q12, which measure employee engagement, include:

  • I know what is expected of me at work.  Do you have an up to date Job Description or Role and Responsibilities document?  Have you drafted Personal Performance Goals?  Do you have Key Performance Indicators with Metrics?
  • I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.  Do you have the resources (including ”information”) to be positioned for success?
  • At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best, every day.  Are you in a role where you can play to your strengths or one where the focus is on fixing your “weaknesses”?
  • In the last 7 days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.  Are you hearing about what you didn’t do so well before your accomplishments have been recognized?
  • My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.  The number one reason employees resign is the poor relationship they have with their immediate Manager.
  • There is someone at work who encourages my development.  Do you have a formal Career Development Plan?  Are you provided with time and financial resources to continue learning, both in-house and externally?
  • At work my opinions seem to count.  Do you feel you’re heard?  Are you encouraged to be part of the solution when faced with challenges?
  • The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.  Do you feel your work is meaningful and gives you a sense of purpose?
  • My associates are committed to doing quality work.  Are you working with people who share your values and work ethic?
  • I have a best friend at work.  Do you have someone who has your back when the going gets tough?
  • In the past 6 months, someone at work has talked with me about my progress Are you engaged in coaching and/or mentoring as well as a formal Performance Review?
  • This last year, I have had opportunities to learn and grow.  Do you feel you’re part of a learning organization?  Are you learning new techniques for working smarter not just harder?

It’s easy to see what’s in it for the organization.  Sometimes it’s not so easy to see waht’s in it for me.  At the end of the day, you can’t change chemistry or fit.  A number of us fall into roles without much of a plan.  It may be the first job on offer or, it’s an OK role, neither great enough to really engage us nor horrible enough to motivate us to leave.

No one but you can take charge of your own career.    You don’t want to be perceived as unprofessional, insubordinate or rude!  One of the easiest techniques for demonstrating why your current employer…or a new one…needs you is to draft a weekly or monthly list of your key accomplishments:  where did you go above and beyond the “meets expectations” of your role to “exceed expectations”?  Show how you add measurable value, making the workplace more effective, efficient, economical and equitable.  It’s not what you say but how you build your business case that catches attention.

There’s no need to settle when a plan and some calculated risks can lead you to a good fit or even a best fit role where you’re both engaged and satisfied.  Is it time for you to rev up your job search engine?