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For many organisations times are still uncertain. Redundancies are still being made and employees that hold on to their job are often left managing a much heavier workload than ever before. This can prompt ‘survivors syndrome’ where people hunker down and try to do what needs to happen with no one striving to do more.
Many employees will be reluctant to stand out from the crowd, even for a positive reason. This can lead to a stagnant workforce with no new ideas and an atmosphere that strains colleague relationships.
Both will decrease employee engagement and reduce productivity levels. And even if an organisation is not experiencing large-scale change, as an employee it’s a good thing to think about how to keep yourself motivated during tough times and what your manager should be doing to help.
Talk to your direct manager
It’s important to identify why you are feeling bored or discontent. Maybe your workload is too challenging and is overwhelming you, often when this happens a person will detach from their responsibilities because they feel the situation is out of their control. Or maybe you have been in the same role for a long period of time and need something new to keep you interested.
Perhaps you already feel confident about the causes of your feelings or if not, it’s best to talk this through with your manager so possible solutions can be discussed and the right ones set in place. Either way it is important to address the problem before it affects the quality and efficiency of your work. We all have ‘off’ days but if you are beginning to notice a pattern of discontentment then it’s time to schedule a conversation with your manager. Bear in mind if you are spotting a pattern, others around you have probably noticed it too.
Your manager will likely be impressed that you have been proactive about the problem and the more suggestions you can have about how to address how you feel, the better. Your manager should then be able to tell you what’s possible depending on what is causing the issue.
Think about your career goals and set targets
Regular performance reviews can be very helpful in doing this. How often these need to be conducted varies, but once every quarter is generally a good frequency, including customer and colleague feedback if possible. The reviews create structure and clarity for both you and your manager. Remember that developing your career doesn’t necessarily mean promotion – it can also be about getting more from your current job. Setting goals together will help you and your manager assess if you’re ready to achieve the next career step in a way that feels fair, structured and transparent at all stages.
If you are in a situation where you are not having regular performance reviews, you will need to manage your own career development by setting yourself reasonable goals and considering what you need to do to achieve these. You should still involve your manager or employer where possible, perhaps there is some training you could ask them to fund? If it will increase your skills in a way that will be an asset to their organisation then it’s a very reasonable request.
Suggest where you can be given more responsibility
If you are doing a really good job then your skills could likely be used on more critical tasks; set up a meeting with your manager to discuss this. Be prepared for their questions on how you will manage your time to accommodate the new work and be upfront about your enthusiasm. If extra training is needed they are more inclined to offer this to someone who has shown an interest beyond their day to day tasks. Research has proved that increased responsibility is more engaging than traditional financial incentives, so you will feel good and be motivated by the increase in trust.
By Willma Tucker of Scottish-based talent and career management consultancy Right Management, the leading talent and career management consultancy
THE STICKY BITS