We all know that actions like being habitually late, not delivering on tasks, sleeping with the boss, being rude and opinionated can pose a risk to your career. However, many of us are unaware of other risks that may be undermining our career by stealth. Here, we share 8 of the greatest risks to your career and how you can mitigate them for success.
Risk #1 Using Facebook as your very own Burn Book
While social media is a great way to connect with your peers, the way you choose to use social media can damage your career. Obvious misuses of social media include posting pictures engaging in your hobbies when you have called in sick, using social media when you should be on the job, bad-mouthing your workplace or team members publicly.
What may be a less obvious risk is how the behaviours you exhibit on social media in your personal life can be viewed by your employer and their clients. Showing your latest rough night out with the boys, sharing inappropriate pictures or voicing opinions that may be deemed discriminatory could see you as a risk in the workplace.
In a time when reputational risk is a high priority for businesses, consider whether your personal profile is aligned to your employer’s values. If not, you may wish to make your social media profile private or adjust the posts to make sure they don’t cause you unnecessary career risk.
Risk #2 Being a pain in the backside
While you may view yourself as an expert and be top-notch at your job, if you earn yourself a reputation for being difficult to manage, then the chances of new opportunities coming your way may be limited.
Employee engagement is one of the key predictors of organisational success and is deeply connected to the organisation's culture. If you are undermining the culture with your attitude, no matter how amazing you are at your job, your days may be numbered.
Engaging in behaviour such as refusing or declining work, challenging your boss’s ideas without foundation, and disrespecting your teammates’ opinions can cause your job to be at risk.
Instead, consider how you may be perceived at work versus how you would like to be perceived and actively check your attitude.
Risk #3 Overworking, overeating, over it
Many industries require long hours, which can lead to decreased mental and physical health. While it may be admirable that you put in the hours and deliver, this may be short-sighted if quality declines or you end up sick or burnt out.
A London study of 10,000 civil servants found that those who worked three or more hours overtime had a 60 per cent higher risk of heart-related problems than those who stuck to a seven-hour workday.
Employee burnout cases have increased to the point where the World Health Organisation has officially recognised this occupational phenomenon. According to a recent Gallup study, 23% of workers said they felt burned out more often than not, and 44% said they felt burned out sometimes. That is over two-thirds of the workforce!
Depending on your field, more input does not necessarily mean more output as employees are most productive between hours two and six of any given working day.
Often, fatigue and lower productivity levels that occur in hours seven and onwards of a working day can lead to making mistakes or suffering physical injuries at work. This could lead to life-long consequences or termination from your job.
Establishing some boundaries for yourself, baselining deadlines to more realistic timeframes and finding healthy habits you can implement into a busy work schedule can go a long way to keeping you sharp, productive and at the top of your game.
Risk #4 Out of fashion and out of a job
Whether your industry qualifications were achieved 5 or 15 years ago, remaining relevant in your role and trade can prevent you from becoming a dinosaur risking your career. The current rate of advancement is so fast that a growth and learning mindset will be a distinct advantage over others.
While the obvious way to keep up to date may be to do a course, there are other immediate ways you can boost your skills and demonstrate a commitment to your current employer.
Put your hand up for on-the-job training at work, engage in peer-to-peer learning, actively engage in meetings and “be present” even when the subject matter may not seem directly relevant, enlist the help of suppliers who may be able to train you in the latest tools and technologies.
Learning doesn’t have to cost the earth either. There is a bunch of information readily available via audiobooks, podcasts, TED talks and the like.
Risk #5 Being the worksite’s very own ‘Invisible Man’.
While you may be working away in your office or at home and delivering the required outcomes, when you aren’t visible, it means you may be easily overlooked. If it comes time to reduce or demote team members, you could be high on that list not because you aren’t delivering but because no one knows your accomplishments and how they contribute to the overall results.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be loud and proud at every meeting, bragging about your work, but it does mean communicating the work you are doing and the results in a collegial and team-like way.
Ensuring you are present at team meetings, communicating progress via formal and informal means can help significantly reduce your career risk.
Risk #6 Horrible Bosses, but without Jennifer Aniston
Many leaders are rated on the employee satisfaction and engagement levels of their team. Leaders who have consistently low scores may be unknowingly putting their career at risk.
Even for experienced leaders, keeping employees actively engaged, performing to the expected standards, achieving the required outcomes and encouraging work-life balance can be a very challenging task. Perhaps it is time to brush up on those leadership skills – either formally or informally.
Knowing the levels of employee satisfaction among your team can bring new awareness and create additional support opportunities. In addition, being open, approachable, having your team’s best interests at heart and taking steps to make their life at work more enjoyable can lead to a more satisfied team and reduce your overall career risk.
Risk #7 Risking it, even when there is no biscuit
Industry health and safety procedures are put in place to eliminate the risk of injury and harm. Ignoring procedures or being cavalier can be a risk to your job - and ultimately, your life and the lives of others.
Companies take health and safety very seriously for the obvious risks to human life and injury as well as their reputation. Showing you genuinely care, are compliant and live by the safety procedures will help cement your role within the organisation.
Ensuring that you and your employees know the health and safety procedures so that they are implemented in the workplace is important for your job security and personal safety. Your career risk will likely be the least of your worries should you choose not to abide by the rules.
Risk #8 Hiding in a hermit shell
Building a solid network can help you secure your reputation, both internal and external, for your organisation. Developing your personal brand as a thought-leader in your industry will make you highly desirable to an employer and show you are forward-thinking and committed – two important elements of career success.
Tools such as LinkedIn provide you with opportunities to showcase your thoughts, opinions and learning in an open forum. Within your organisation, you can put your hand up for presentations, committees and other opportunities to gain wider exposure.
Keeping in touch with previous bosses, colleagues, peers, and those who have recruited you to roles is a wonderful way of keeping your network as well as maintaining social connection.
Without a strong network, you rely solely on your resume to get you noticed when seeking new opportunities, which can be hard to demonstrate exclusively on paper. It is much easier to get a role where there is a warm introduction, or your strong reputation precedes you.
We all dream of a long and enjoyable career, and by managing these risks, you are putting yourself in the driver’s seat when it comes to protecting against career risk. By pro-actively managing these 8 risks, you can give yourself a far greater chance of career success.
· Use social media in a friendly, professional way that will not be harmful to your career.
· Be a team player and check your attitude frequently.
· Avoid burnout by managing boundaries, deadlines and balance.
· Aim to be the best in your field and up to date on the latest technologies.
· Be visible, present and be sure your efforts and achievements are known.
· Consciously invest in your leadership skills and actively manage the engagement levels of your team.
· Ensure you adhere to all safety procedures to avoid risking the safety of yourself and others.
· Building a strong network and building your personal brand. After all, it is who you know, not what you know.
If you need any assistance with hiring, contact a recruitment agency like Trojan Recruitment Group and receive advice from the experts in labour-hire, permanent and contract staff.