Julie Gebauer, a senior executive from Towers Perrin, writes at Closing The Engagement Gap blog. In her latest post, she has a strange-sounding, but valuable advice – “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” She challenges the notion of the “perfect job” that so many employees have, especially gen X & Y employees. She writes:
- From a practical perspective, the perfect job – or even a better job – may not exist. The global economic crisis is certainly impacting job availability in the short-term and may do so for the longer-term as people who were otherwise intending to retire are rethinking their plans. If there’s not a way to make the current job engaging, companies are likely to have suboptimal performance.
- There are ways to do things better in almost every job. Taking a job beyond it’s stated boundaries can be demanding and rewarding. Employees who are in a job that doesn’t seem challenging enough on the surface can look for ways to streamline processes, improve products, or develop new business models.
- Considering the longer-term, employees with a strong and broad foundation in their business are often better equipped to move to more senior levels in an organization. With a weak foundation, the career ladder will become wobbly at some point, limiting an employee’s ability to move past a certain rung.
- Employees who have first-hand experience in a variety of areas within a business can often develop win-win solutions for all stakeholders impacted by an issue. For example, a Regional Sales Director who also spent time in entry-level R&D and marketing roles is better equipped to establish and sustain an important market feedback process to inform new product development and marketing campaigns.
Truly, given the job supply in the market, it’s prudent to make best use of the available opportunities. And the way people can do it is by using their skills, knowledge and experiences to do their jobs ‘better’ – identifying new ways to do things, refining processes, removing efficiency-killing bottlenecks. And, in the long run, these innovations will pay off in different meaningful forms.
Of course, to help employees see the larger picture, leaders & people-managers need to play a key role. The days when performance dialogues were restricted to an annual performance appraisal are gone. Managers constantly need to have dialogues with their people – reviewing progress, setting goals, explaining the “what” & the “why” and providing direction about the future.
It’s really possible to create a win-win situation.