Many employers have likely experienced the moment when they realize their workplace is home to an overqualified employee. These employees might have keenly accepted their job offer and tackled their assignments with gusto when they walked through the door on their first day.
But after some time, experience and training, they might appear to be more confident than usual. On the other hand, you might notice signs of disengagement. What's an employer to do?
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You might be surprised to hear that staff of all age groups feel overqualified at work. In fact, a new study from Monster Canada revealed that one quarter of Canadians feels this way in their current role.
Since employers invest in their staff and don't want to lose strong performers, they may want to keep an eye out for clues that an employee feels overqualified. Here are some tips to ensure you're regularly challenging your employees and not losing out on their productivity and engagement, no matter their age or skill set.
Get to know your employees
First things first, in order to motivate any staff member you have to get to know what actually motivates them. It could be salary, career development or perhaps a loyalty reward for staying for a long period of time with the company.
You can quickly get to know employees better through internal surveys, interactive meetings as well as social activities in or out of the office. Once you collect insights or perhaps results, I'll bet that you'll a) better equipped to motivate your staff and b) find similarities among age groups and position levels.
Mentor the mentors-to-be
It's likely that employees won't feel overqualified in all avenues of their role at work. Prepared with those insights on what your employees are seeking out of work, invite them to be mentors to incoming employees.
Consider giving them some breathing room to grow on their own.
I realize this may not be desired by everyone, so pick and choose how you see fit. For example, you can start a buddy program in the office in which the more "engaged" qualified staff can help guide newcomers to the ways of the workplace. In due time, the veterans will also be able to hand off what they perceive to be the "unchallenging" tasks that will likely be more challenging to someone more new.
All in all, this is one way of giving an overqualified worker to not only feel empowered, but to help empower others and shape the company culture.
Make way for more autonomy
If you're dealing with a not-so-engaged and overqualified employee, consider giving them some breathing room to grow on their own. Not all staff members want to have to constantly check n with colleagues or managers. This rings true for more industries than others where the work is less team-oriented and working remotely is the norm.
If you can limit your supervision while still maintaining strong levels of productivity, I would suggest giving it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at what your employees can do if they're given a little more autonomy in their work, and it might shake off the feeling of being overqualified as they find new challenges.
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As millennials are building up stronger repertoires of experience and responsibilities than generations before them, it should come as no surprise that 29 per cent noted feeling overqualified at work. As this demographic oftentimes craves experience over other kinds of rewards, there are several ways for you to help them stay motivated. It's even OK to start by looking outside of the workplace.
You can encourage or offer professional association memberships as a way from millennials to network and socialize with likeminded people in their field. And once they're back in the office, you can task them with the responsibility of reporting on industry developments on a more regular basis. This shows that their input and insight is valued, too. Alternatively you can provide stretch opportunities for millennials to experience different teams, projects or roles in your office.
Keep in mind that you'll likely receive the best results if you tailor your engagement strategy to suit your employees individually -- but particularly those from the younger generation.
No matter the age group, you may come across more than one overqualified employee in your work environment. With some extra attention, time and conversation, you can figure out the best ways to motivate them to go on to motivate the next class of overqualified employees.
While employees remain engaged, they also remain loyal to the employer too. A win-win for both!
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Successful employees know how to be introspective. It can be easy to see the strengths and weaknesses of other people you work with, but it's always harder to critique ourselves. If you're having trouble figuring out how you can improve at your workplace, ask a close co-worker or your manager for an honest review.
You may sit in a closed-off cubicle all day, but don't let this stop you from meeting and mingling with people in your office. Employees who are successful at what they do are more likely to have work-related and non-work related conversations with people around them.
This may be a given, but people who excel in their workplace know how to get things done. Instead of just doing the day-to-day tasks, they often go above and beyond of what they're asked to do.
Not only do they keep up with local and national trends related to their careers, they're also tapped into global trends. Grab a global trend magazine and do a little bit of reading or research over the weekend.
Ask them a question or their thoughts on an issue at the office and they'll give you an answer right on the spot. Because they're fully invested in their jobs, they know both the pros and cons.
Often, people who are successful at the office don't just speak up for themselves, but act as advocates for others as well. Raises, benefits or even parental leaves are all issues they can advise you on.
They understand the importance of keeping their managers and customers happy. When it comes to getting work done, successful people are always honest.
They love what they do. Period. Successful employees wake up every morning loving what they do more and more. These people not only value their jobs, but realize how much they love doing them.
Successful employees understand the meaning of being bold at the office. To be bold at your office, try writing down a list of things you could accomplish if failing didn't exist and take a jab at them.
They may seem like they have everything together and for the most part, they do. Not only at they great at their own jobs but they use their skills to help motivate their fellow colleagues.
Follow Sheryl Boswell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sherylboswell