Have you become a disengaged employee?
Do you remember how you felt when you started your current job? You got up, excited to go to work. You had dreams. You were brimming with ideas. You looked for ways that processes or products could be improved and you were committed to driving change, even in your small sphere of influence.
That is the type of energy need to progress your career, because it about believing in yourself, your team, your colleagues and your company’s vision and success.
Over time that engagement has faded. You are comfortable where you are, going with the flow, maybe not doing anything wrong or bad, but just treading water. You made choices, but so be it. They were necessary. You know you have settled and are under performing against your potential.
Or one step deeper into the disengagement mire
You are tangibly uncomfortable where you are, your temper is short and patience limited. Your bosses, reports and colleagues get on your nerves and you bitch about them not too discreetly. You go home dissatisfied and resentful. But you do nothing to change your situation.
There is much research on the disengaged employee, with studies suggesting that numbers could be as high as 60-90% of the workforce falling into this category. Many women become stuck in the marzipan layer, staying in lower level jobs for any number of reasons, other than the job content. They may have made compromises for family reasons, to stay in a company, function or job which is below their skill set and ability. That comfort over times turns into complacency.
Stuck in that marzipan layer, they become, almost unknowingly a disengaged employee
What are the tell-tale signs of the disengaged employee?
#1 You’ve stopped having and sharing ideas
You feel you can do your job, but you have stopped trying to excel. You are no longer excited or care about the latest idea and no longer make your own suggestions. You’ve stopped discussing work ideas with your colleagues or peers at lunch, or at an after office function. You keep those to an absolute minimum anyway. You may realise you should move and feel guilty for not doing so. You make excuses. Your kids need you, you have carer responsibilities, your partner travels frequently. You are comfortable. Ish.
#2 You’ve stopped disagreeing
Maybe your opinion has been discounted once to often. Perhaps you don’t care about the outcome. Now, even when you can see potential downsides to a proposal, you just do as you are asked regardless of the outcome. It’s not your problem after all. Your not paid to take that type of decision. Let your colleagues deal with the fallout.
#3 You’ve stopped learning
At one time you were a continuous learner. You kept abreast of trends and developments in your sector. You listened to management podcasts in your car. You attended webinars and read trend updates. You subscribed to news alerts. Now your skills are on the wrong side of rusty and it’s starting to show. You have stopped asking because you can’t be bothered, but also for fear of looking foolish and out of date.
#4 You have stopped being proactive
You are no longer volunteering for stretch assignments or offering to mentor or support colleagues. You don’t speak up in meetings. Maybe you are sometimes late. You don’t push for a promotion or even a pay rise. You are probably not making your bonus. Perhaps you take high number of sick days. You get things done, but only just. You can’t remember the last time you received spontaneous feedback and recognition.
#5 You’ve stopped planning ahead
There was a time when you had goals and a plan. You knew how you wanted your life to be and you took steps to make sure you were on the way to achieving that dream. Now you meet most of your KPIs, but by the skin of your teeth. Your performance appraisals meet expectation, but no more. In the areas that you don’t, there are extenuating circumstances which are “nothing to do with you.” Your manager no longer mentions your next steps.
#6 You’ve stopped bringing your work home
At one time your passion for your work would obvious to your friends and family. Now you rarely mention it, but if you do it’s nothing positive. Perhaps you complain about being tired and appear listless. You no longer have the same energy for your relationships. Your health might be suffering. Perhaps you are irritable. One woman described her situation as ” having her soul sucked out of her”
All of these tells are signs that you need to take charge of your career and move on within your company, or out altogether. You are a disengaged employee.
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What tell-tale signs would you add?