You Think You’re Invaluable, but Does Your Boss Agree?
You’re at that point in your career. You’re valuable. You’ve done the work. Put in the time. You have the education, the experience, the knowledge. People in the company come to you for answers and advice. You’re a little bit cocky, confident, settled— because you know the company would suffer if you ever left.
You think you’re invaluable, but do others (including your boss) agree?
Are You as Valuable as You Think You Are?
Employees should realize that time spent in a position does not always equate to value at a company. And “doing it the same way it’s always been done” doesn’t increase value either. You must have the ability to continually bring new ideas and stay ahead of the market. Experience matters, but it depends on what kind and how relevant.
In his article “35 Habits That Make Employees Extremely Valuable,” Inc. 500 entrepreneur and author Kevin Daum lists traits which add employee value. Highlights include things like employees being able to anticipate what is needed, regularly doing their homework before meetings, making others look amazing, teaching their coworkers, and ultimately attracting other valuable employees to the organization.
Is this what you do on a regular basis? If you think you are invaluable, ask yourself if you’re really working at your personal best with the company’s best interests in mind.
Determining Your Value
It’s easy to examine the ROI of certain roles within a company. Some employers use a systematic approach to do this for easily measurable roles like sales positions. Monster Worldwide Inc. describes steps for calculating top-performer differentials which include measuring output of top performers, revenue per employee, and the value difference between top and average performers (among other factors).
But the value-add for most positions within a company are more subjective and relational. Things like soft skills, leadership abilities, and influence on company culture are extremely valuable, but not quite as measurable.
If you are in a position where value is more subjective, make sure you understand what workplace success looks like (from upper management’s point of view). This includes addressing (and going beyond) what is in your job description, but also asking your boss what his or her goals are for the role. After acting, you must listen carefully to the goals so you are able to put them into action.
These subjective differentiators might be the things which make you feel invaluable, but it’s a task to regularly communicate your value.
Being “good” in a job and being passionate for your work do not always go hand-in-hand. Are you passionate about this job?
Communicating Your Value
Self-advocacy is a huge part of maintaining your value within an organization. Professional self-advocacy can include:
- Copying or emailing your boss (or others) on important “wins.” Remember to keep it factual in tone, and choose only significant items. A list of notable accomplishments can be kept and shared during check-in meetings. Remember: your boss may have no other way of knowing your accomplishments if you do not tell him or her.
- Updating your resume or keeping accurate records of the details of significant accomplishments. It’s easy to forget or lose statistics down the road, and statistics can be powerful in a resume.
- Sharing accomplishments in a professional way through LinkedIn. Again, keep things factual, but share accomplishments that are of interest to others and make your company (as well as yourself) look good. (This could be an article you write, a shared company event, a speaking engagement, a success with a project.)
- Taking advantage of performance reviews. Heather Huhman of Glassdoor suggests that employees talk about their career paths with their bosses. “Tell your manager that you’re interested in XYZ position, and that you’ve already met certain criteria. Then ask if your manager sees you in that role at some point and what else he/she thinks you need to do to get there.” If there are measurable goals that you can set and meet before the next review, that could lead to a promotion or increase in pay.
At Artemis Consultants, we advise our job candidates to regularly self-evaluate skills and experience and communicate what is valuable in the smartest way possible. Please visit our website for information on how we can help you express your value to a new potential boss.