How to stay engaged after you receive your bonus

Kym Nelson

Woman staying engaged at work

Bonus time is equally exciting and exhausting. Rewarding your efforts and results is undoubtedly a positive experience, however, it may have taken its toll both physically and mentally. This could result in you feeling quite flat and tired and yearning for a rest. While it’s important to celebrate your accomplishments and take a moment to relax, you also want to ensure you continue the same momentum and performance for the year ahead. So, how do you ensure that your enthusiasm remains high, and you continue to shine in the workplace? We need to start with implementing strategies that foster long-term engagement. Below are three top techniques that you can apply that may help you:

Set clear goals that will motivate you

Setting clear goals will be the compass guide to what you’re hoping to achieve next. When thinking about what your goals are, note that this doesn’t have to be related to what you’ve just achieved and can focus entirely on a different aspect of your role and responsibilities. Think in terms of short-term or long-term objectives that reflect on your aspirations and skills, whether that be increasing efficiency around a particular task or undertaking projects aligning with your career trajectory. What’s important here is to also consider intrinsic motivation that goes beyond financial gratification. While bonuses provide external rewards, nurturing intrinsic motivation is equally crucial. Cultivate a deep sense of satisfaction from meaningful work, personal growth, and making a difference in your professional career. This intrinsic drive is what will keep you engaged during both high and low times. Once you’ve highlighted what you’re aiming to achieve, don’t forget to outline how you’ll work towards that goal and identify key performance indicators. In today’s rapidly changing environment, creating a development plan that is custom-tailored to your unique challenges and aspirations and working on executing this with a career coach can be a great way of getting momentum. A career coach can give you the tools and frameworks to help you achieve your KPIs as well as hold you accountable and assist with making informed decisions. Individualising your approach with your coach allows you to navigate your strengths and weaknesses and supports you with objective insights into navigating and leveraging your strengths and weaknesses.  If you are not sure how to access a suitable coach or would like some more information, learn more to see how OnTalent can help you. The more specific your roadmap is, the more likely you’ll adhere to the plan and stay focused and motivated.

Continue to learn and challenge yourself!

Never stop learning and get out of your comfort zone. Comfort zones can quickly lead to stagnation but can be offset by challenging yourself to take on new projects or activities that enable you to develop new skills and interests. Additionally, as innovation in technology surges particularly in a post-pandemic economy, employees need to grow resilient with 3 in 5 Australian businesses stating that their workforce had outdated skills. To prepare, you want to make sure that you engage in ongoing skill development to not only keep your capabilities up to date but also to provide a sense of personal progress. Attend workshops, take courses, and seek opportunities to expand your skill set. With online platforms providing resources and information at your fingertips you can work on your professional development at a time and place that suits you. Platforms such as amplifi, are a great tool for this and enable you to accelerate your career with comprehensive and manageable professional development modules. The key advantage of amplifi is that users can maximise their learnings with a blend of theory-based and practical content designed by highly experienced HR professionals. Once you start making progress on homing in particular skillsets and knowledge, you’ll find an increasing desire to apply or execute what you’ve learned. The pursuit of knowledge can be incredibly motivating.

Implement breaks and personal time

While the purpose of staying engaged is to avoid performance loss, you don’t want to have an all-or-nothing mindset. As mentioned, you deserve to celebrate your accomplishments and ensure that you’re spending enough personal time to diverge your focus and clear your mind. Continuing the momentum by pushing too hard is ultimately what drives burnout, making you lose engagement, feel exhausted, and even worse, can impact your mental health. One way to avoid burnout is by maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Always take time to focus on yourself even if that time isn’t extensive. A study on brief diversions to improve focus suggests that by partaking in an activity that isn’t related to the work you’re doing, you can deactivate and then reactivate the lobe of the brain that was being used and reset your ability to focus and pay attention. Ensure you have time for hobbies, relaxation, and spending time with loved ones. Hot tip: put time aside in your diary to give yourself a reminder to do this.  

Receiving a well-deserved bonus is a moment of triumph, a recognition of your dedication and hard work. But as time passes, that initial surge of motivation can dwindle, leaving you feeling disengaged and burnt out. Incorporating these three strategies into your professional life will help you sustain motivation, productivity, and innovation long after that bonus has been cashed. By setting clear goals, embracing continuous learning, and taking adequate breaks, you’ll help yourself not only maintain your enthusiasm but continue to excel in your work.

Kym Nelson is a Careers and Leadership Development Consultant with 20 years of experience in leading HR and recruitment teams in a variety of industries. Kym partners with organisations to achieve alignment between HR objectives and wider business goals, build organisational and workforce capabilities, and collaboratively design and execute business/HR strategies to deliver critical outcomes. You can contact Kym at [email protected].

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