The talent revolution is here and with all the jobs out there you might think the grass is greener at a different employer. But you also know that changing jobs is a lot of work. Finding something new and then hitting your stride in a different role will take time, risk, and a lot of energy.
What if you could learn to love your job and the organization you’re already a part of? According to research, there are three things that will make you want to stick around, and the effort to like what you have is less than it takes to like something new, giving you more time for activities other than job search.
Why staying can make sense
The reasons for staying with your current business vary, but they are important:
- Maintain your network. If you stay in your current organization, it’s easier to maintain your contacts. You’ve built your relationships and you have people you can count on for advice and support, as well as people you can mentor or friendships you can have. If you are starting a new business, you need to build your internal network from scratch.
- Develop your career. Your career is built on the foundation of people who know, trust, appreciate, and will open doors for you. Of course, you need the ability and the courage to stand out, but it will be the people around you who will support your journey. It is true that sometimes you can improve your position or pay by changing companies, but you will also have to evolve within an existing organization. Your network is how you will do it with the help of people who know you and with whom you have built a relationship.
- Support your brand. Staying with your current business allows you to maintain the brand building that you have already done. When you have credibility and people know your skills and appreciate your unique talents, you can build on that rather than starting over.
- Flourish in culture. Cultural assumptions are largely invisible, but over time you get to know your culture, appreciate it, and contribute to it. Staying with your current organization allows you to be a part of something you know and appreciate without having to generate a whole new knowledge of all of the nuances and cultural norms of another organization.
How to like to stay
There are many benefits to staying in your current business, but you still want to love what you do as much as possible. And there are key ways to do this based on the concept of social science embedding. It describes the conditions that will require you to stay in a role for a variety of reasons. Here’s what it takes to improve your experience:
Bond with your people
An important way to increase satisfaction in your current business is to expand and strengthen your relationships with your coworkers. You know we all yearn for connection with others, but it’s also true that we have an instinct to count. You want to make a difference and contribute your skills in a way that others find value in what you bring. Moreover, belonging is not just a feeling of being together, it is a feeling of sharing a social identity and striving together towards a common goal.
Here are some ways to build and strengthen relationships:
- Set up the cafe. An acquaintance once said that she wasn’t available for coffee because she didn’t drink it – she just didn’t like it. Of course, she was missing the point. Coffee is a pretext to get together, a vehicle to facilitate connection and networking. You should take advantage of it as much as you can. A colleague who is starting a consulting business can have coffee several times a day. He understands. Whether he drinks tea, water or… coffee, he nourishes his relationships through rich and diverse discussions.
- Find a mentor. The common wisdom is right: you probably won’t get far in your business without a mentor. But it’s a rare mentoring relationship that just happens. You will want to be intentional in identifying a good mentor and asking that person to provide you with regular advice and guidance. Find someone at least two levels above you who is in a different part of the organization. These are the people who can provide the most objectivity and coaching. Take the initiative to regularly take time with them to ask questions, take a step back and discuss the stages of your career.
- Take advantage of your responsibilities. While you can certainly build relationships through (virtual) happy hours or ax throwing experiences, a much more powerful way to cement bonds is through tasks. When we are working hard on something and come together to solve a problem or achieve a goal, the conditions are best for bonding together. Invite coworkers into projects, which sends the message that you appreciate them. If you are in the middle of a business, get to know other team members and try to appreciate their unique skills and personalities. When you feel a strong connection with your community, you will have a greater level of satisfaction and integration with your business.
Find your fit
Another scientific aspect of satisfaction with your current employer is how fit you feel with your job, your team, and the organization as a whole. There is no such thing as a perfect job, team, or company, but when you feel more in tune with the work, values, and behaviors of those around you, you will be much more fulfilled.
Here’s how to increase your fit:
- Be clear on purpose. Remember the purpose of your organization, not just its desire for growth or economic gain, but its impact on customers and stakeholders. From there, make sure you feel connected to that goal and get a feel for how you’re contributing to it. Maybe you are a great writer and you create the messages that move customers or you are a brilliant project manager and your organization contributes products that enrich the customer experience. Confirm your part at all.
- Know the work of your team. Take the time to fully understand what your team members are doing. When you can understand their experiences and requirements, you will feel more connected and it will help you understand how your work influences their success. Ask questions, follow them for a day, or ask for feedback on how your work can (even more) positively affect their work.
- Expand your contribution. Doing work that matters is important, but you will also be happier if you feel your work is growing and evolving. Improve your role by looking for new problems to solve or emerging needs that need to be met. Look at the periphery of your work for new ways to contribute. For example, maybe you work in marketing and decide to research a new platform that could add customer value to your organization. Or maybe you’re in a leadership role and you’re encouraging your team to try out a new app that can keep them connected and connected. Doing a job within your responsibilities that also pushes its limits will energize and inspire you.
Consider your investments
Interestingly, another way to increase your satisfaction with your current job is to remind yourself of the sacrifices that would be required to effect a change. While the grass may look greener on the other side, it takes some effort to get there.
- Clarify the process. Be clear about the networking you’ll need to do, the resume you’ll need to update, and the interviews you’ll need to undergo. Also remember the personal investment you will need to make in submitting to judgment and scrutiny. These can all be growth points, but they do require an investment of energy, so you want to make those investments when you have a lot to gain.
- Weigh your happiness rate. Every time you make a change, you’re essentially betting that your future self will be happier than your current self, that the conditions you create for tomorrow will be better than today. Consider not only what you have to gain in terms of a potential new job, but also what you have to lose. Be sure that the effort to make the change will bring you a greater amount of happiness than you currently have. If the risk is high or the increase in happiness is negligible, it may not be worth it.
Sometimes making a change is a good thing. Change for the sake of change can keep you fresh and stimulating. But changing a business or an organization also represents a significant investment in time and effort. You could invest in your current situation with potentially greater effect. Weigh the costs and be sure to do the best you can in your current situation before setting aside what you have for what you might (or might not) earn from the change. Chances are you can learn to love your job and your business as you become more and more integrated.