We have brilliant friends at Brilliant Ink, and we’re excited to share their insights through our new series: Speaking Our Language. Here, we’ll be sitting down with experts to chat about all things employee experience to uncover even more ways to empower your people. First up, an interview with a recent retiree on what makes for an engaging career.
In today’s job market, most companies are happy to have an employee for five years. But what does it take for an employee to not only stay, but remain engaged at a company for 27 years? Jennie LaSalle, a recently retired Senior Vice President from a financial services company shares how.
What is some career advice that has stuck with you?
“As a leader, be open to what you can learn from others. You often learn as much from your reports as they do from you. You don’t need to have all the answers (you don’t need to carry that burden!) — leverage your subject matter experts.”
When you think back to when you were hired at your company, what stood out to you about that experience?
“The team I joined was a new group and a whole new area of focus for the company, which allowed me and my team to innovate. That appeal and opportunity carried over to every position I held.”
What helped shape your career path at your company?
“I made an effort to stay connected with my colleagues and therefore they reached out with new opportunities. I also was able to identify my core fundamental skills and capabilities and find positions that leveraged them — even if I didn’t necessarily have the subject knowledge.”
What made you feel engaged?
“There are a few examples: When my managers and others at the company showed that they cared about me personally beyond the work I do. Situations where there was a problem to solve, and autonomy to find a solution. And when I’ve been able to leverage my strengths and people have confidence in my abilities (or are at least willing to listen to me).”
What made you feel un-engaged?
“Having to jump through hoops that didn’t seem to add value to the business, or situations where I didn’t feel heard.”
What advice would you give yourself when you were starting out on your career?
“Be confident in who you are and aware of your gifts. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – that doesn’t mean you’re failing, people want to help! And if people don’t agree with you, it doesn’t mean they are the enemy.”
We can all take a page from Jennie’s book in how we shape the employee experience – regardless of whether it’s a new employee, or someone who has been there for a decade. Congratulations Jennie on your retirement and impressive career!