Getting what you want at work.
The best of management theory will tell you that to be successful companies must meet the needs of their employees at the same time they’re meeting the needs of the company as a whole. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations haven’t put employees near the top of their priority list. A new pledge by CEOs is putting people over profits. What great news.
As an employee, your experience matters and it’s legitimate to be a bit self-centered about getting your needs met. After all, it’s in your company’s best interest if you’re happy, satisfied and engaged because you’ll stick around and perform better. Ultimately, you’ll contribute to the company’s positive results.
So, how can you ensure you’re getting your needs met by your leader and your company? It’s not hard, but you must be intentional.
Ways To Get What You Want
First, take responsibility. No manager can read your mind and no company will be able to intuit everything you want. So, take ownership for your own health and happiness at work.
Know what you need. Companies tend to think in a narrow way about satisfying employees but you’ll want to think broadly about what you need to be happy. Of course, raises and promotions are obvious. But consider what else will contribute to your positive experience. Is it working on the cherry project? Having the opportunity to set your own hours (within reasonable limits, of course)? Tapping into benefits that allow for tuition reimbursement, so you can learn something new? Consider what will motivate you and clarify your needs with your leader.
Communicate with your leader. Be sure to give your leader regular feedback about your work experience. Talk about what you like and what you don’t. Open a conversation with him or her about how you’d like your career to develop and what you really love to do.
Perform brilliantly. Of course, your leader will be much more open to helping you succeed and advocating to meet your requests when you’re super-effective. Go above and beyond and demonstrate your commitment. When you do, you can expect more in return.
Be patient. Some of your needs may be easier to meet than others. Things your boss can do within his or her discretion (letting you work from home once a week or allowing you to join the local association) are easier than things that might require new policies. Understand the differences and be patient when you make bigger requests.
Find a mentor. In addition to your immediate team leader, you should also find a mentor who will advocate for you in the organization. Ideally, the mentor would be one or two levels above your own and would be in a different part of the company. With this kind of distance, he or she can offer perspective and advice with a bit of objectivity.
Be demanding. The job market is tight, and employers are working hard to find and keep great employees. Give your employer a chance to provide a great experience for you. But if they don’t, find another option. People who perform well and who have solid skill sets always have a lot of options. Don’t be afraid to exercise yours.
You want to do great work and your company wants to support you in doing it. Take responsibility and clarify for yourself what you want out of your work experience—and then make it happen. You’re the key to your company’s success—and CEOs are sending this message broadly this based on their pledge. Your company can be the key to your happiness and satisfaction.