Over the past few months, I’ve talked about this concept at length in numerous speeches and presentations. Those who have attended my online training programs and members of the Free Career Resource Library have heard this a lot as well. But this is one concept that’s so important, it deserves a blog post of its very own.
When it comes to career advancement, the biggest question has to do with your value to the organization. What are you doing to contribute to the bottom line? Remember, as an employee, you’re an investment. Your company pays you a salary and they expect a return. The more value you contribute, the better the investment and the more likely they are to continue investing in the future—and potentially invest in a bigger way. That means raises, promotions and job security for you.
Your actions in the workplace have an impact, whether you realize it or not. The more you can create measurable, positive, powerful outcomes through your actions, the more people will sit up and take notice. The more they’ll want to keep you happy and acknowledge you for your efforts.
While your job description may appear to be a list of tasks, those tasks are designed to achieve specific, valuable outcomes for the company. How you do them influences the amount of value the company receives—and thus, the level of value you’re contributing and your overall worth to the organization.
Take for example an administrative professional whose role it is to purchase office supplies. Sure, this person could simply follow the standard procedure, place orders for items requested from approved vendors, and ensure the purchased products are received. Or, she could find simple ways to improve her value like…
- Researching vendors to find more competitive pricing and making informed recommendations to decision-makers.
- Aggressively negotiating with existing vendors for better pricing.
- Creating an “office supply sharing” program between departments so inventory doesn’t pile up in one area while another is always in need.
- Purchasing in bulk when appropriate to increase savings.
- Strategically purchasing to take advantage of sales, rebates and discounts.
- Offering tips to help staff members reduce waste of supply inventory, and perhaps starting some kind of competition or reward system to inspire participation.
These value-add tactics aren’t defined anywhere in the job description. It takes a few extra seconds of thought and a little imagination, but using these strategies, this admin could save her company thousands of dollars per year.
I know some of you may look at this and say, “I can’t do that stuff! It’s outside my scope of responsibility.” I hear you. You’re already busy and these things take time. Perhaps you fear others will think you’re overstepping your boundaries. I say…RISK IT. Give it try. Find a few minutes here or there to step up your game in the value department. If you achieve positive results, no one will complain.
And think about it: If this admin tracks her cost-saving initiatives and measures the positive results, she could certainly make a compelling case for a raise in the future. If her actions have a positive impact on the organization’s bottom line, her value is higher than that of her peers who are simply going through the motions status quo. Every dollar her company chooses to spend employing therefore becomes a superior investment.
Plus, these kinds of things also make this admin a more marketable, competitive asset when searching for a new job. Imagine a resume full of value-add accomplishments like this. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone who not only understands the value of her role but also knows how to increase that value? Who wouldn’t be willing to pay a little more for an employee like that?
Surely you get my drift by now, so let’s move on. I have identified six clear ways to add-value to your organization:
1. Save money
2. Make money
3. Improve efficiency of a process or procedure
4. Improve quality of a product or service
5. Fix an existing problem
6. Prevent a future problem
With every task you take on, ask yourself: How can I add value to this? And every time you achieve one of these value-add outcomes, measure the results and write them down. How much money did you save or earn? How much did efficiency or quality improve? What is the long-term impact of fixing or preventing that problem? The information you gather will be critically important in future performance reviews or when writing your next resume.
I’m willing to bet that some of you already do a lot of value-add kinds of things already, without really even noticing. Hopefully this article has helped you understand a little more how to leverage these things you’re doing to get more rewards and recognition for the work you do.