Workplaces are changing across the country, and Ohio businesses are no exception. The pandemic, as well as the Great Resignation that followed, revealed many things about the workforce. First, a welcoming culture and supervisors that value their employees make a big difference for job seekers. Second, workers are not afraid to seek greener pastures if they do not feel like their employment is living up to their expectations.
Whether you believe it is a positive or not, workers are having more of a say in what their workplaces look and feel like. Part of this shift comes from individuals who are confidently advocating for themselves.
Communicating your needs and standing up for what you want can lead to a better work situation. Here are a few ways that workers in Ohio can advocate for themselves to ensure that their needs and desires are being met.
Ask for Accommodations if Necessary
Accessibility is an important topic in the business world. For workers with disabilities to feel comfortable in the workplace, some changes might need to be made to the office or building so that they are just as welcome as other individuals. In some cases, you may need to address the need for workplace accommodations as a way to advocate for yourself, though ideally, your employer takes the first step in that direction. Sometimes people just do not think about these things and how much easier they can make the lives of their employees. Don’t be afraid to speak with your employers to ask for accommodations and look out for your needs.
Gain Clarity About Your Goals
A large part of being able to advocate for yourself is knowing what your goals are. If you are not sure what you are aiming for or what you hope to accomplish, it can be almost impossible to improve your self-advocacy. You need a target to guide you to make it easier to communicate what you want from others. This includes how you interact with coworkers and with your bosses. Take some time to sit down and consider what you want out of your career. Do you want to gain a higher position in this company or are you hoping for a new career? Do you someday want to own your own business and want to learn as much as possible before doing so? Try to lay out a career trajectory with specific goals to make it simpler to advocate for your needs.
Don’t Be Afraid to Lawyer Up
Sometimes advocating for yourself means being willing to work with a legal professional who can help you navigate complex processes. Say, for example, you are supposed to be receiving disability insurance benefits from your employer, but the insurance company is dragging out the approval process. This would be an ideal time to hire an ERISA disability lawyer in Ohio. This person can ensure that the insurance company follows the law and that you get the payments you deserve after experiencing a health issue. Similarly, a worker’s compensation lawyer could help you obtain benefits after a workplace injury. Advocating for yourself doesn’t always mean you have to do all the work. Sometimes it means knowing who to contact to be on your side.
Once again, self-advocacy does not mean that you are constantly relying on your strength and confidence. You can seek help from others in your pursuit of a better work situation. The key is to find allies within your workplace that agree with you or see your potential. There is strength in numbers, and having a good relationship with the right people can make it easier to ask for what you want. This could be other coworkers who want to improve the workplace, a supervisor who trusts you in your role, or maybe even a customer or client that can vouch for your strengths. Having more allies can give you a foothold in any negotiations that may occur when advocating for a better situation at work.
Self-Advocacy Takes Practice
Not everyone has the confidence needed to advocate for themselves in their workplaces. Perhaps you are worried about causing a stir or being seen as a troublemaker when you want to keep this job. Those are valid concerns, but wouldn’t you rather make the most out of your work situation so that you know you are in the right position to begin with?
Everyone who knows how to advocate for themselves has a certain level of confidence without being cocky. Self-assured confidence means that you understand your strengths, you know what your goals are, and you know what situation will make you the most productive worker. Work on your confidence so that you can advocate for yourself from a position of strength and assurance.