I love celebrating. Name the occasion, and I will give you a reason to toast to it.
My husband asks me how I can keep track of so many dates in my head. The day I moved from Washington, D.C. to Boston (March 7th), my best friend's middle son's birthday (October 10th), my sister's due date (November 29th), our anniversary (May 14th), our date-a-versary (April 3rd, though I'm told that's not still a thing).
And, most recently, March 10th, the day I started my adventures at Reward Gateway.
As I approached my one year, I started to think about how differently I felt about this job versus the ones I've had in the past. I've had some great jobs, and some not-so-great ones, and what sets them apart is, truly, the level of employee engagement I've felt at each part of my journey with the company. At the end of your first year, I think you should be eager, excited and engaged. Not like this guy (though I did laugh out loud when I first saw this commercial, from Southwest Airlines):
In many companies, there's a "probationary period" where you and your employer work out a trial (typically three months, though sometimes more) to decide if the job is the right fit. And in that first three- to six-month flurry, you may benefit from more hands-on management and direction as you navigate and learn the ropes at your new office. As one friend said, "you take the first six months to really learn the culture and get up to speed on the processes in your business." But what happens in month seven? In year two? What can you do to keep up your engagement?
If you're feeling anything like this guy in the video, it's time to reevaluate and find new ways to get engaged at your company. From talking to your manager to hunting down new projects and continually educating yourself, you can reinvigorate your commitment to your job - and your career. Here are a few ideas:
If you've been at your job for one year and still can't clearly define your organization's mission and purpose, that's an issue. As one of many millennials at Reward Gateway and beyond, the data behind why millennials choose their employer rings true: We want to be connected to our company's mission and purpose. But if you don't have a clear understanding of it, or understand how your job in particular keeps the wheels turning, it's time to have a conversation with your line manager or read up more on what your company's all about! In larger organizations, it can be too easy to work in a silo and feel disconnected from the rest of the company. With a clear statement of purpose and values, one of the elements of The Engagement Bridge™, you can feel a deeper connection to the work you produce and ultimately, to your company as well.
I polled some of my peers, asking them what they expected after one year on the job, and one responder aligned with my thinking, saying that at the one-year mark you should be making sure you're in alignment with your boss, not just for tactical stuff like quarterly projects, but also have clear expectations on your current role and how it could evolve. "At my one year, I'm looking for meaningful feedback on a timeline that permits you to either keep up the good work, or course correct as needed," she said. We all know that employee that's just skating by - as your one (two, three or four) year-mark passes, your job is to not be that guy (or girl).
It sounds really cheesy, but just waking up in the morning to livelier music, spending breakfast with a loved one to put a smile on your face or recognizing a colleague with something special (I'm doing my best to compete with resident eCard champions Charlie Lofthouse and Debra Corey!) can give you a renewed excitement for your work environment. According to Gallup, only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise within the week the survey was given. For instance, our CEO, Glenn, regularly sends eCards to long-service employees, and we have a feature on our internal communications platform boom! that highlights coworker anniversaries with a quick shoutout and a look at their journey.
For me, I'm excited for what's to come in year two, three, four and beyond. I know I'm a product of an engaged workforce, but hopefully my perspective has sparked some ideas of your own to re-engage at your own job. We'd love to hear your ideas over on Twitter @RewardGateway!