Career Engagement

Got a case of the Mondays?

No seriously.

You wouldn’t be the first, and you’re probably not the last.

It’s no wonder why come Sunday, people dread going to work the next day. The reality is that the vast majority of Americans hate Monday not because it’s the beginning of the work- of week, but because of their lack of enthusiasm at their j-o-b.

Career engagement has become the holy grail of culture design for many companies.

Each year, Gallop (the gatekeepers of employee engagement): releases a survey around professional engagement on the job, and year-after-year the results are staggering.

70% of those surveyed say they are unhappy on the job – they’re either disengaged (not giving their all) or actively disengaged (consciously not contributing) employees.

Recently, I sat down with Tom Perry, founder of Engaged Pursuit based out of Seattle. Tom’s a 20-year tech leader with experience launching huge products and running global teams across Fortune 50 organizations. He left his corporate gig after experiencing his own professional disengagement to build his own company to address this massive problem.

I asked Tom one simple question: “How can employees stay out of that 70% and create career engagement?”

Here’s what he had to say:

Know your “Professional Story”

What’s that you might ask? You can think about it in a couple of ways. It’s not only your elevator pitch highlighting your strengths/interests, but it’s really knowing (and articulating) what makes you “tick” professionally. The most commonly asked question in an interview (from the informational to the intense in-person) is “So tell me about yourself?” The VAST majority of professionals don’t know how to answer this simple question in an inspiring, confident, and impactful way.

For more on career engagement:

His Advice: Paint-a-picture of who you are professionally, highlighting your previous paths, your home runs, your style and your intent for the future. This should take about two mins of time, not even touching the specifics of your resume. Check out how his approach, and, with his help, discover (and articulate) your Professional Story clearly and confidently.

Network, Network, Network.

If you’re looking for something new, 90% of the time a more engaging role will come through direct connections, peers, previous managers or friends-of-friends. To date, none of his clients (zero!) have secured a better gig by applying through a corporate career/job-portal (even though that’s where the vast majority start). All found something new through networking. Tom says the most effective work he does with his clients is on the art of networking, as it actually takes a ton of work to be successful – especially for those who aren’t comfortable in this type of experience (or never done it in the first place).

His Advice: YOU have to own every single element of the networking experience. No more “Keep your eyes out for a position that I might like!” From the initial sit-down request, to creating a clear picture of what’s desired, to managing the contact’s next-steps, to making it super-easy to say “yes” at every step of the way, it’s the job of the candidate to do all of this work. It takes time and practice but the investment is worth it.

Own the relationship with your boss.

You’ve probably heard it time-and-time again – the manager/employee relationship is a major contributor to employee engagement and one of the main reasons why professionals leave and/or start looking for something new. This partnership is crucial; however, Tom thinks individuals are not taking enough ownership of this relationship. As a former people manager, he found it frustrating when team members would come to him asking “for more opportunities” or wondering what they needed to do to get a promotion. In addition, he encouraged employees to tell him what they were good at and what they wanted to work on next.

His Advice: TELL your manager what kind of experience you’re going to create for yourself (in the parameters of your job description, of course), TELL your manager how you’re going to onboard yourself if you’re starting something new, TELL your manager how you want to utilize your strengths to maximize long-term impact, TELL your manager your ideas around getting that promotion to the next level and TELL your manager how they can most effectively manage you/your style. Having intent around this relationship is crucial – try it!

Final thoughts:

Tom’s employment engagement point of view and advice focus not on providing employee perks but focusing on how you can empower your own career journey. If you are reading this on the weekend and thinking, “Oh great, I have one more day before I have to head back to the office it may be time to think about how you can empower yourself to be more engaged in your career. If you get stuck, check out Tom’s company’s Linked-In page or reach out to him directly … there’s a reason his company is called Engaged Pursuit

With Leadership,

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).