Worked Up At Work

How to handle sticky office situations

Are You Engaged In Your Work?

Being engaged in your work matters, no matter your position.

When it comes to the bigger picture of your job, the important question in today's work environment is simple: are you engaged? Whether your are an owner, manager or beginning worker, your answer matters, and it could mean your job.

The Gallagher Organization has published some startling stats: The typical work group has 25 percent engaged employees (this group of individuals can always be counted on to "get" the organization's mission and vision and can be trusted to have the organization's back); 15 percent are disengaged (these individuals are actually working against the organization) ; and 60 percent of the typical work group are neither engaged nor disengaged. In other words, most people at work are apathetic.

With unemployment as high as it is, being engaged matters. Today's reality is that plenty of good people are waiting in the wings who want to work-they would be engaged at their jobs if they had the chance to have jobs. This overstock of potentially engaged employees has occurred at the same time that employers cannot afford to keep disengaged employees on the payroll. As disengaged employees are removed, the apathetic ones are seen as the next-in-line to be removed because they are recognized as being company dead wood.

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What's this statistical information mean to you? Now is the time to establish yourself as engaged. If you think that you're tuned in to the company, invested in your role, and really engaged in what you are doing, then demonstrate this and protect your job. How can you show you are engaged at work to your boss and your colleagues?

Here are six ways to demonstrate that you are engaged:

1. Consistently do good work well.

2. Be thoroughly dependable.

3. Be optimistic and positive.

4. Offer suggestions for improvements or efficiencies.

5. Volunteer to work on committees across the organization so others can get to know you.

6. Promote the organization within and in the greater community.

Do these things and you will be invaluable to your organization? Create a paper trail that showcases specific actions of your engagement, and you will have talking points and a stellar portfolio to share at your next evaluation-or when you seek an even better job.

Steve M. Cohen, Ed.D., C.M.C., is the president of Labor Management Advisory Group and HR Solutions: On-Call, and the author of Mess Management: Lessons From a Corporate Hit Man.

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