September 08, 2017
"Raise your hand." Tips for making the most of your job from Commerce Bank team members.
Meet Niaz and Angie.
Niaz Khan: Talent Management Systems Manager
Time at Commerce: 8 months
Angie Schreck: Retail Banking Senior Group Manager
Time at Commerce: 28 years
First, find a company that matches your values.
A year ago, when Niaz was looking for a new opportunity, he didn’t want to just find a job – he wanted to find the right company. Meeting Niaz for the first time, it’s clear he’s a people person, so it’s no surprise that he prioritized employers who care about the well-being of their employees and community. He also wanted to be part of an intact team, after several years working remotely for a large technology company. When a position at Commerce opened up, he talked to a friend who had worked in one of the branches and told him working at Commerce “feels like family”.
Angie described her years at Commerce in much the same way. She emphasized the key role relationships have played, and that they are what motivate her professionally. “I want to feel like I’m making a difference for others through my career,” she said, whether that’s helping a customer, empowering a team member, helping a peer make a new connection or presenting a service award to someone in the community. “I want people to look back and feel like I’ve touched their lives.”
For Niaz, he appreciates that his coworkers care about each other and their work. Just less than a year in, he’s seeing Commerce live up to his expectations of a company as well. “Commerce has a vested interest in you. They want you to grow, add value, gain experience and be a part of new projects and initiatives.”
Raise your hand.
When opportunities come up, put yourself out there. Don’t worry about whether you’re qualified or the right person. If you’re interested in leading a new project, researching an issue or organizing a group, let your manager know. Chances are they’ll appreciate your enthusiasm and try to help you seize the opportunity.
Angie said volunteering for new challenges is what’s kept her feeling satisfied in her job. “I could’ve hopped from bank to bank, but there’s always been opportunities and challenges that keep me engaged and wanting to come into work.”
Niaz volunteered to help develop a Young Professionals resource group for employees at Commerce. The group, organized by the Inclusion & Diversity team, supports young professionals at the company and helps them get more involved. Niaz’s interest is in leveraging technology strategically to support Talent Management goals, like engaging employees, and his work with the employee resource group gives him more experience in that area.
“There’s so much change happening in banking that a new position may be created in a few years, and you could be perfect for it.”
Pursue your interests.
According to Angie, following your passions at work can line you up for the perfect position – one that may not exist yet. “There’s so much change happening in banking that a new position may be created in a few years, and you could be perfect for it.” In the meantime, being self-motivated and exploring topics or initiatives that intrigue you not only exposes you to new opportunities, it shows others that you have a genuine interest in the area. Should a job become available, you’ll be more likely to be considered. “By engaging with your manager and having that interest, you can seize those opportunities,” said Angie. Throughout her career, Angie has kept her managers informed of her three-year plan, and they then helped her explore options and connected her to the right resources.
Be present with your teammates.
Although Niaz manages a technology system, a significant part of his work involves meeting with other teams to understand their business challenges. Then it’s his job to think of solutions. In order to suggest something that will meet all of their needs, Niaz has to listen carefully, ask the right questions and record their requirements. He also relies on the team to be thoughtful and plugged into the conversation. He said that since joining Commerce, projects have gone much more smoothly because his coworkers are engaged and present. “So far my experience has been great because of the teams and individuals I’ve worked with – such as Talent Management.” When he questions the way things are done, he’s impressed by how open the team is to new ideas, asking, “Is there a better way? What have you seen done before that we could apply here?"
Get involved in the community.
Your company probably offers opportunities for volunteering. Take them! Angie, who serves on several non-profit boards, said her favorite recent memory of volunteering was in KidZone at the Chesterfield 4th of July fireworks last year. “Everyone volunteering was active with the kids and having fun. It was a great experience.” Volunteering not only gets you out of the office, it gives you a boost of goodwill from helping others. It’s also a great way to meet other people from your organization, at non-profits and in the community.
When it comes to your career, it’s not about how much you make. It’s about the challenges and opportunities that help you grow along the way. Staying engaged in your work and with your team helps you feel motivated and passionate over time. And, by being present with others, you form relationships along the way that are invaluable. Take it from Niaz and Angie, feeling invested in your job, and feeling like your company is invested in you, makes all the difference.