- get that new job, then explain how you’ll add value
- move up, then demonstrate how you’ll add value
- get a better raise, then quantify how you’ve added value
- keep your job, then showcase how you continue to add value
Sounds easy enough, right? Unless, of course, you don’t know what it means to add value where you work or how. Sadly, that’s a lot of employees.
You are money.
The concept of “value added” was first a business and economics term used in discussions around sale price, production cost, and profit formulas. Eventually it got defined as:
…extra feature(s) of an item of interest (product, service, person etc.) that go beyond the standard expectations and provide something ‘more’ while adding little or nothing to its cost. Value-added features give competitive edges to companies….
That’s where you, the employee, come in–adding value through talents and abilities unique to you. It’s how you demonstrate that what you do contributes to the success and profitability of the company.
Employees are a cost, often a big one, to a company. That means we need to produce work that contributes to the bottom line.
Unfortunately, we often don’t know or have a hard time seeing our connection with the company’s big picture. Our world is often just the task list and performance goals in front of us.
It doesn’t matter how far up or down you are on the company’s organization chart, you have to figure out and demonstrate what you do to add value. If you don’t, someone else may decided that you don’t add enough. The consequences follow.
It’s likely that you already add lots of value and either don’t see it or could add more.
Find your niche.
If you’re saying to yourself:
- “I don’t do anything special at work. I just do my job.”
- “I don’t have any unique talents or skills to offer.”
Please stop yourself. It’s time to adopt a new, more positive and generous self-view.
The value you add doesn’t have to appear in lights. Small contributions can have significant impacts on the company, your work group, and your boss.
Finding your niche means looking at the skills and abilities you take pride in and then maximizing opportunities to brand yourself by them.
Your niche may be something like being known for:
- Coming up with ways to make routine tasks more efficient
- Boiling down a complicated issue into its key points
- Writing meeting minutes that keep decisions in focus
- Getting people at odds to talk with each other to resolve differences
- Injecting a light comment or bit of humor to cut tension
- Meeting deadlines, especially the tight ones
- Catching errors, written and computational, by being detail-oriented
- Defusing irate customers and preserving relationships
- Reading between the lines to uncover the real issues
- Anticipating the needs of others and preparing to meet them
It’s important to take the time to put together a 3-step value-added action plan:
- Write a clear statement that describe your niche (This can be a challenge when what you do comes automatically, so really commit to doing this.)
- Identify the real business value that results, creating a clear, strong context
- Take advantage of all opportunities to put your value-added behavior to work
On the surface you may not think that what you do has business value, but it does. Think about all the time and money saved each time work is done without interruption, colleagues work together without strain, and customers remain loyal. Consider what it means when work is accurate, quality high, and communication clear.
That’s what makes organizations successful. It’s what helps your career.
Don’t be shy.
Your value added emerges from your knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors on the job. You want your employer to look at you and feel gratified that you work there. When you add value, employers don’t want to see you go and wish what you do would rub off on others.
Your value needs to be seen routinely to be appreciated. So please don’t be shy about showcasing it.
Photo from memories-in-motion via Flickr