There's no doubt that when people are happily engaged in their work, they're less likely to look further afield.

Good employers strive to court and retain employees with an attractive working environment but for the working relationship to be mutually beneficial, staff need to stop "just dating" and commit wholeheartedly to the work relationship.

Brien Keegan, country manager of Randstad NZ, says engagement should be seen as a two-way street.

"Yes, the employer has to ensure they can create and foster the right working environment to facilitate engagement. But equally, employees have a responsibility to be open and committed to their employer and to play an active role in driving engagement," he says.


Keegan says an attitude of just showing up at work, cruising through the day and never putting a hand up to do anything extra doesn't help anyone.

"It doesn't help the employee because job satisfaction is closely linked to achievement in the role. So by just showing up and doing the bare minimum, you're likely to start resenting your job."

He says an employee who's not pulling their weight negatively affects team culture, and the employer misses out because in a small country like New Zealand, employees often need to take on tasks outside their formal job description.

An employee putting in the effort will receive a boost in morale by knowing they're actively contributing to their own and their teammates' engagement, says Keegan.

"It feels good knowing you're going to work in an environment that you love and are actively helping to shape."

He notes that job satisfaction and productivity often increase when employees engage with their role and organisation, and adds that being seen by management and HR as a positive contributor to the team can help boost career prospects.

To reap these benefits how can employees engage with their role and show their commitment to an organisation? Keegan says it starts with attitude.

"It might sound cliche but employees should come to work with an open mind and a willingness to go above and beyond, in their role and for their colleagues," says Keegan.

"They should show their interest by providing suggestions to their manager or HR department on initiatives they feel will improve or enhance engagement. If, for example, they feel the rewards and recognition programme isn't getting people excited, they should speak up and suggest improvements."

In order for employees to feel confident in sharing ideas and providing feedback, however, they need to be in an environment that encourages openness and honesty.

"Employers should ensure employees have a well-defined career development plan and are being rewarded for their positive contribution," says Keegan.

There are many benefits to having an engaged, committed workforce. Engaged employees increase profitability by facilitating a productive and flexible working environment.

Research has shown that higher engagement also leads to lower staff turnover and reduced workplace accidents, says Keegan.

Ways to drive your engagement
Market your organisation

Your organisation's best magnet for attracting and keeping great employees is you. You make the organisation attractive to potential employees by the way you talk about it. Think about the things you really like about the company and tell others.

Ask hard questions

Ask yourself what engagement means to you and how far you're willing to go to help make it happen. Do you see a desire for employee engagement reflected in your corporate culture and behaviour? Once you've answered these questions, you'll be better positioned to determine a strategy.

If your organisation isn't into employee engagement, perhaps you can drive the initiative. Suggest opportunities for employee events, ways of rewarding and recognising initiative and effort, or opportunities for your company to support community involvement. At best, you'll awaken a sleeping giant. At worst, you'll know you did what you could, add impressive skills to your CV and know what you're looking for in your next job -- a company that understands the benefits of an engaged workforce.

Make yourself indispensable

You're the boss of you. Drive your own engagement. Offer to cross-train to learn skills and processes inherent in other jobs. You'll pick up new skills and be the person people come to when they need something done. ?Empower yourself

Most of us hang back and get by because it's the path of least resistance, but that's the antithesis of leadership behaviour. Instead of trying to stay below the radar:

*Set measurable, quantifiable goals over quarterly, yearly and five-year plans.

*Coach others.

*Hone skills and learn new ones.