We are all busy people. We have families, pets, hobbies, sports, and a million other things that require significant investments of our time and energy. And then there are our job, some full-time, some part-time. Some people go to the office every day, some, like myself, work virtually, and hardly ever see their colleagues. The question is – if you don’t go to the office every day, does it make sense to participate in clubs, projects and committees that are not directly related to the job you get paid for? What’s in it for you?
I am very lucky because the organization I work for takes employee engagement very seriously. We have several initiatives that employees can get involved in, from book club to mentoring to diversity group. There is an opportunity for everyone to jump in and contribute to something in their own personal time, to make a difference by helping other colleagues or even people outside the organization, and to get to know the colleagues better. Working virtually has deprived me from the watercooler conversation, so participating in the “extracurriculars” helps me meet my colleagues from other teams, departments and even other parts of the world.
There are different ways I stay engaged in PeopleScout. First of all, I write the blog and coordinate a team of fellow bloggers who come from two continents, three countries, and numerous lines of business. I have lunches with colleagues who live in and around Toronto, I try to attend all meetings that are held in the office instead of just dialing in, I exchange quick messages with co-workers just to say hello. In a recent conversation, my manager mentioned a few projects he sees me working on in the coming year. Most of them are outside the scope of my job description, and would probably take up a few extra hours, however I will be able to learn new functions, work closer with people I normally don’t work with, and give me an insight into other roles I may want to explore in my future years with PeopleScout.
You may ask – what if my company does not do anything like that? I would say that you are in a perfect position to start the engagement revolution! Start small – maybe you can organize a book club, maybe you can look into the Internet tools that will make your job easier, maybe you can get a few people to mentor a newcomer to your country or a new graduate… Granted, it is unlikely to bring you extra cash, and very likely to lead to a busier schedule, however, the rewards do not always have to be tangible. Your initiative and enthusiasm will not go unnoticed and may provide extra boost to your career that you just could not find anywhere else. You will get closer to your colleagues, get to meet new people and learn new things and will get the ultimate satisfaction of a job well done.