Engagement isn’t just for employees

What do you think of when you hear the word engagement? If you are not in HR, you might think of two people planning to marry. But if you’re in HR, you more likely thought about how invested or involved employees are at work. We know that an engaged workforce is more productive, has better retention, and leads to better business outcomes.

I was at the SHRM Volunteer Leaders Summit a couple of weeks ago, and in one mega chapter session we talked about problems facing our chapters, and everything boiled down to engagement. How can we keep our members engaged? How can we keep our board engaged? How can we keep our volunteers engaged? HR talks about engagement a lot.

All of this engagement has really started me to wonder – how engaged are we? While we work to engage our employees, our local chapter members, even our local chapter boards, do we stay engaged ourselves? I’ve talked in other posts about the importance of remembering that we are employees, too. But I don’t just mean our engagement as an employee. How engaged are we to our profession?

I checked the dictionary to get more insight into what engagement really means, and what struck me were the antonyms: boredom and distraction. Are you bored with HR? Are you so distracted with the pressures of doing HR everyday that you’ve lost your engagement with the profession? It’s time to step it up and reengage. How can we do that?

For some of us, that means stepping up to the plate into leadership, whether in our local chapter, national SHRM, or elsewhere. Maybe it means becoming a mentor or finding a mentor.

For others, it’s time to plan to attend some conferences or trainings. Or maybe 2018 is the year you earn your certification. Sometimes, professional engagement means becoming a leader at work. Own your subject matter expertise and don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions, be disruptive. Find ways to be a change leader in your organization.

For every HR pro, being engaged means staying current in the profession. Whether its attending conferences, reading blogs, books and articles, or checking out the myriad resources that SHRM has to offer, be committed to knowing what’s going on in the HR world. Know the laws that affect your work. Know the trends and best practices of your profession. You owe it to the employees you serve, but more than that, you owe it to yourself to be the most engaged HR professional you can be.

2017 is winding down, and this is the time we start to think about New Years resolutions. May I challenge you to up your engagement in 2018? Engaged people are more productive and more satisfied. What commitment will you make toward your professional engagement in the new year?

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