Every year the Society for Human Resource Management puts out an employee satisfaction survey. One of the measurements of job satisfaction they utilize is job engagement. Engagement is very important for companies to understand because engaged employees work harder and stay with companies longer. For employees, the more engaged you are the more satisfied you become.
There are different criteria they look at such as: compensation, getting along with your boss, getting along with fellow employees, and the opportunity to use your skills and abilities.
A new trend occurred this past year. For the first time the opportunity to use your skills and abilities topped the charts, edging out job security and compensation/pay.
This is important for employees and employers to take notice of. Instead of paying more money to keep employees longer, all you have to do is enable them to utilize their talents and abilities more often. And it’s important for employees to remember that more money doesn’t always mean greater job satisfaction.
A few jobs ago I found myself frustrated. I was with a great company but something changed: my compensation was going down as the company changed our bonus structure. As you can imagine, I was not happy. In fact, I found myself complaining and wishing I had another job.
Instead of finding another position I did something more radical. I had read a book called “Now, Discover Your Strengths.” It talked about job satisfaction and how utilizing your strengths more often can dramatically increase it. I decided to put it to the test.
One of my top skills is presenting. I love to be in front of people sharing what I know and watching the light bulbs go off around the room as they get it; it absolutely energizes me! During this same time, our main presenter left our sales group, so I stepped up.
I was the most junior man on the team, but I knew what I was good at so I started telling the other team members, “If you need a presenter, just let me know. I will need at least 2 weeks’ notice on new topics so I can put the presentation together.”
I also stepped up my lunch learn trainings with my own clients, offering them training in any area they needed. Suddenly I was the go to guy for presentations for my sales team, and my enjoyment of my job immediately went up.
After two more years I had another epiphany, I was a valuable asset to my company and deserved greater compensation. I continued doing what I was doing, but I gave my company a year to utilize my skills more often and with greater compensation or I was going to do it elsewhere.
A little over a year later I left and went to work for another company. For those who knew me it was no surprise. Several higher ups even told me that they hated to see me go, but they understood why.
Had I left two years prior I would have just found a different job that probably would have had a lot of the same problems. By focusing on my strengths two things happened: I immediately started enjoying my job more and I began to understand my true value. Once I understood my value, I was able to communicate it to others and eventually someone listened.
Take the time to write down what your strengths are, what you enjoy doing at your job and begin to look for new ways to put them to work. I would love to hear what changes take place when you do!