As published by CPA Canada in CareerVision
One of the things that can happen as you progress in your career is the feeling of a sense of distance from where it all started. A few years in the corporate world can seem much longer, and as roles and responsibilities change and careers advance, it can be easy to forget what it was like back in the day, when you were sitting in that trench (oops; cubicle). Wow; putting yourself to work, through things like professional development, volunteer opportunities, and workplace assignments, has really helped to move you forward from where you were just a few years ago.
Remember how frustrated you were when the “people at the top” didn’t seem to have any appreciation for the front line working folk? “They don’t know how difficult it is down here!” “It was so much easier to get ahead in their day.” “I work like mad and no one seems to notice, much less appreciate, my efforts.” Many people starting their careers and trying to get ahead have felt this way, and probably swore they would do things differently if given the chance.
Now that you are one of the “people at the top”, you have that chance; to take the put yourself to work attitude and pay it forward by creating the business environment that you always wanted to be a part of back when you were just starting out. Remember that employer that you left behind because they didn’t create an environment that fostered achievement and career development? Take a good look around and make sure that you are not contributing to creating a similar environment. You can take steps to create a workplace that motivates staff members to perform at their best, stay engaged, and move forward. How? By putting yourself to work; this time, on the employer and leadership side of the equation.
Put Yourself to Work: Pay it Forward
- Be a learning organization: companies that encourage continuous learning through events such as workplace seminars and training not only keep their staff members up to speed, they also attract high performers who value this type of environment. Staying on top of industry, product and service, and regulatory developments not only makes good business sense, it also creates a shared responsibility to be in the know (just think, no more of that “it’s not my job to know about that” attitude).
- Promote achievement through professional development programs: encouraging staff members to complete relevant designation programs and other types of courses and rewarding those who are successful is a great way to enhance your corporate knowledge base and motivate at the same time. Companies that fail to recognize the importance of professional development put their business at risk in terms of losing high potential staff members, as well as being less competitive in the marketplace.
- Encourage meaningful workplace assignments: it’s often been said that education is only half of the mix, when it comes to becoming truly skilled in a particular area. The other half of the equation is practical experience. Workplace assignments can take the form of temporary responsibilities, special projects, cross training, and job rotation. Whatever the approach, both the company and the staff member win: through enhanced skill, depth, and interest level.
- Be a mentor: remember how it felt when a more senior person took an interest in you and your career development? You probably learned lessons through their experiences that you couldn’t have otherwise accessed at your current level of development. Benefit from taking the time to be a mentor; you might just be surprised what you learn from your mentorship partner.
- Encourage volunteerism, both internally and externally: it might be hard to believe, but there are actually people out there who don’t volunteer or even stop to think about the benefit of doing so. Translate this attitude into an organization and you can end up with a pretty uninspiring place. Encouraging volunteerism, either through in-office campaigns or external postings not only motivates staff members, it also provides the opportunity to develop new skills, particularly in the area of leadership. And one of the really great outcomes is that the company, the employee, and “the cause” all benefit
Congratulations, you made it! You put yourself to work and made a number of promotions your own. Now, you have the great privilege of creating an environment to put the next generation to work. So, do it.