How To Be Active and Engaged at Work

 Marketing Director   January 5, 2024  Career Advice

Group of higher ed employees engaged at work meeting

Do you feel active and engaged at work? Having a healthy work-life balance is great, but if you don’t feel any connection to your colleagues or your institution’s mission, it may be time to look for a new gig. If you do like your job and are just feeling stuck in your bubble, then consider proactively finding ways to get more involved at work.

Feeling connected to your work may help you feel more productive, creative, and satisfied. Your employer should know that a happy employee can translate to stronger teams and organizational success. However, if your employer doesn’t offer ways for you to be engaged at work, then it’s completely on them for failing to make your experience working there better.

If you decide that you want to try being active, first think about how much time and bandwidth you want to give to something that’s not part of your job description. Then figure out what opportunities are out there (if any) that could work for you. You can learn about ways you can get involved by asking your manager or reaching out to your HR department.

If offered by your employer, here are some ways you can be more active at your job:

Start or Join an Employee Resource Group (ERG)

ERGs, also known as affinity groups or employee networks, are voluntary, employee-led groups within a company that are formed based on shared backgrounds, interests, or experiences. Explore ERGs at your institution to get support, build connections, and foster a sense of community. If you can’t find one that addresses your needs, then think about creating one yourself.

Show Your Interest in Joining a Committee

Different from ERGs, committees are often led by management who set the goals and select members. Oftentimes, a committee is focused on a specific project or outcome, like an event or a new program. By expressing your interest in specific committees, you are letting management know that you want to be engaged and they may decide to invite you to join or at least consider you for future committees and other similar initiatives.

Sign Up for Training and Other Learning Opportunities

Don’t ignore those emails or flyers promoting learning opportunities, such as workshops, lunch-and-learns, or online courses through platforms like LinkedIn Learning. Enhance your skills and prepare to take on new challenges at work through continuous learning. You may also discover new interests and passions to pursue outside of work.

Provide Feedback on Company Policies and Programs

Throughout the year, your employer may invite you to a stay interview (a casual conversation/interview conducted by employers) or to take an employee survey to glean information on your satisfaction with your employer’s programs and policies. Take this opportunity to advocate for issues that matter to you and provide constructive feedback to your employer.

Participate in Team Building Events

From volunteering in the community to thinking collectively about how to navigate an Escape Room, team-building activities can boost morale, deepen relationships, and foster collaboration with your team. You might be skeptical about the effectiveness of these events, but the ones that support team building can be more productive and effective than those solely focused on socializing.

Don’t forget to check with HR on any wellness programs (programs that aim to improve and maintain the health of employees) or even employee referral programs (employees are rewarded for referring qualified job candidates) that you can benefit from.

Your active engagement can potentially increase your job satisfaction and transform your job into a fulfilling, purpose-driven career. But also remember that it’s NOT all on you to get there – your employer should offer these types of opportunities. Additionally, employers must give you the space and support to get involved. If you’re not seeing these efforts, decide if you want to be the person who starts the conversation by planting the seed(s) with your manager or HR department.

Check out more Top Articles on HERC Jobs.

About the Author: Marcia Silva is the director of marketing and communications at the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium. She strives to create engaging, research-informed content that empowers job seekers and employers committed to creating inclusive workplaces. She is passionate about using digital media and technology to encourage participation and strengthen communities.