There are persons who link their value to their compensation or position. There are others who are valued because of their ability to play political games in the office. The 6 Tips for Improving Your Value to Your Employer can be used to build your career and make a positive contribution to your team. These tips work best in environments where employees are engaged and empowered.
- [A Positive and Collaborative Attitude] + [Your Results] + [Your Credibility] = [Your Value to your Organization]. Employees are confused when they deliver above average results and have a positive attitude and they are not recognized. In fact they may even be penalized in organizations that are highly political. Without savvy and results in this type of environment your value isn’t going to be as high as you think it should be. If you are not the right fit for this type of organization, find one that is less political. On the other hand, there are persons who assume political behaviour has to amount to questionable behaviour. This is definitely not the case because it is possible for you to formulate and implement political office strategies without impairing your integrity. So depending on your role, performance, political environment, credibility and your savvy, you can improve your value to your employer.
- Keep yourself relevant. Invest in your continuous development; especially if your employer is not investing in you. It is not a secure feeling to be suddenly without a job and lacking up-to-date skills. So if you can influence your employers directly or indirectly to support your development, go for it. One way to do this is to volunteer for developmental opportunities. Volunteering to work on a committee for a change project can provide you with a wider range of relevant, current, knowledge that can give you an edge. For some, keeping yourself relevant means you need to develop skills that are transferable, wherever you end up working. Keep in mind the fact that transferable skills vary depending on your role in the company so you need to identify what they are. For others, keeping yourself relevant translates into developing a unique ability that is in high demand.
- Your networks are important. The more relevant your network is to your employer, the more invaluable you can become if you can mobilize your network into a value proposition for your employers. Networks are about relationships, so the better you are at building the right relationships, the more value you can add by being a resourceful and relevant member of the team.When building your network, remember, negativity and gossip are viral and you can be infected over time. Choose your associations wisely because they can cripple your career despite your productivity.
- Demonstrate Behaviours That can be Trusted. Maintaining your credibility is an important component of this framework. Your employer or partners need to trust you. They should trust you to deliver quality work, to believe in and exhibit the corporate values, and to produce the desired results. In engaged work environments, trust is rooted in honesty and integrity, not blind loyalty induced by favours.
- High productivity is vital. There is nothing worse than someone who works extra hours who is less productive than someone who works shorter hours. During times when resources are less available and hard decisions are being made, keep your productivity high. While it is not a guarantee, it gives you higher value and separates you from your coworkers.
- Be a leader. Whether or not you are in a formal leadership position, develop skills that can help you to motivate yourself and positively influence others. Your ability to communicate with confidence and humility with your boss, peers and direct reports, particularly in complex situations, can prove to be an asset for you and your employer.
To those of you who have long tenure with your company, the value you add may become an entitlement to your employer. They may discount the value of your additional skills and contributions because of long term, biases or blinders. They just expect you to out perform the pack and because your performance has become an entitlement, you are not recognized. If you are faced with this situation, you need to make a career decision based on your values.
Organizational values are constantly evolving so your value is something you should assign yourself and monitor. Performance appraisals sometimes demotivate persons because they don't always represent the value persons truly add to the team. This is compounded by the fact that are some who tend to be too hard on themselves or too afraid to acknowledge their real value. On the other side of the spectrum, there are others who suffer from delusions of indispensability. Whatever the case, understand that as organizational values change, you need to be aware of what they are so you can do what it takes to remain a valuable resource while keeping your integrity intact.
Determine your value by seeking an integrative view of yourself. Find out what your friends, coworkers and detractors think of you and this, combined with your personal perception can help you to develop a 360 degree view of yourself, and by extension, your value. Perceiving yourself as indispensable or attempting to make yourself indispensable are not behaviours that are synonymous with team building, so it is important to build your value without detracting from others.
Yvette Bethel is CEO of Organizational Soul, an Organizational Effectiveness Consulting and Leadership Development company. She is a Consultant, Trainer, Speaker, Facilitator, Executive Coach, Author, and Emotional Intelligence Practitioner. If you are interested Yvette's ideas on other leadership topics you can sign up for her newsletter at www.yvettebethel.com or you can listen to her podcast at Evolve Podcast.