With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s a good time to do a relationship check – with your job. Do you still love it? Are you passionate about your work? Committed to your organization and its mission?
As you start to disengage at work, your performance and job satisfaction go down, and both you and your employer suffer. In fact, employers worldwide identified employee engagement as their No. 1 challenge and concern in Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends survey.
But don’t hold out for bended-knee proposals and enticements from your boss to win you back. While employee engagement is generally seen as management’s problem, self-aware employees who find themselves disengaging can take actions, as well, to re-engage with their work.
Realign your skills and responsibilities.
Workers tend to feel most engaged when their skills and talents are "maximally engaged," says Mike Zani, CEO of The Predictive Index, an employee behavioral assessment provider. If you feel that your abilities are under-utilized or unappreciated, talk to your supervisor about aligning your strengths with the organization’s needs, he recommends.
Seek out learning and development opportunities
If they are scarce within your organization, ask to head up a professional development committee that makes learning and company-specific training an "agile and routine experience," as the Deloitte report puts it. The most engaging learning solutions today are "on-demand, fast to absorb and available on mobile devices," according to the report, so implement "learning architecture" to support that.
Make work meaningful
You can contribute in ways besides work output. Look for opportunities to coach or mentor others. Serve on the company’s volunteer or activity committee. Both you and your employer should focus not just on making money but also making a difference. "If your salary is in the normative range yet you’re constantly saying you’re not paid enough, that’s a clear sign of disengagement," Zani says.
Keep a record of achievements
Unlike your resume, this portfolio is for your eyes only and not just about quantifiable results. It should also contain emails from higher-ups, peers and customers that praise or thank you, copies of performance reviews, and other evidence that you make a positive impact. When you need to give yourself a pep talk, grab the portfolio.
Foster a culture of gratitude
Acknowledge your peers’ achievements. Say thank you, and "try to be specific about exactly what the person did that you appreciate to reinforce the positive actions," says Brandi Britton, district president of the administrative staffing firm OfficeTeam. "Showing appreciation for your coworkers’ efforts sounds basic, but it’s a fundamental element of motivation."
Create an environment where you want to work
Maybe your employer doesn’t offer a nap room or an on-site gym. You still have control over your physical surroundings. "You’ll feel more motivated to come to work every day if your workspace is comfortable, clean and has all the tools you require to do your job effectively," Britton says.
Back up and look at the big picture
Understanding how your daily work and contributions advance the organization’s mission makes you more motivated to do your part and succeed, says Brian Lassiter, president of the Performance Excellence Network.
Know when to move on
"Ultimately, the issues of culture and engagement are driven by leadership," the Deloitte report concludes. That means there’s only so much you can do as an employee. If you find yourself at "cross purposes" with the organization’s mission, at odds with its culture or at an impasse with your direct supervisor, it may be time to look for a better fit, Zani says.