In less than five years, Andrew Rubin has gone from a relative nobody in the tech field to founding CEO of cybersecurity unicorn Illumio. The obvious question—How?! By assembling a dream team of mentors: Marc Benioff, Ben Horowitz, John Thompson, and Jerry Yang, to name a few.
Do you want to increase your value as an employee?
Sure I do. Yeah. But… what will I get out of this?
Being a high-value employee means holding an above-average position at work and being able to excel during new work tasks. This, in turn, makes you a more likely candidate for upcoming promotions.
Plus, if you have a clear and measurable value in your workplace, you’re in a much better position to negotiate a pay rise and you enjoy a high level of job security.
There might not be a clear-cut way to increase your work value overnight. But I’ve compiled a list of 7 suggestions to get you started. You can use several at the same time to achieve your workplace goals and become a better asset to your company.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
When you can show your employer you’re willing and able to take on new tasks, it will increase your workplace value.
It’s okay to admit that you don’t know everything but never let a perceived lack of knowledge hold you back.
When you get accustomed to doing the same things day after day, you lapse into patterns of boredom and complacency.
One easy and practical thing you can do to move beyond your usual boundaries is to ook for opportunities to take on new duties or try unfamiliar things.
Example? Your workplace is creating a team of seasoned employees to support new workers in their onboarding—and you’re voluntarily joining the pack.
The ways to get out of your comfort zone boil down to doing things valuable to your employer and this way to increase your value at work.
Be Receptive to Feedback
We all love hearing positive feedback. But what about negative comments?
Truth is, you need to be equally receptive to both.
Continuous self-improvement proves you care about it—so you care about doing a great job.
Plus, the survey results of a 2018 study from SHRM and Globoforce showed a clear link between peer feedback and better accuracy during yearly reviews. The research showed that 76% of the human resources professionals polled said ongoing peer feedback leads to enhanced annual reviews for employees.
Cultivate an Achievement-Driven Mindset
In a recent study, LeadershipIQ analyzed types of human motivations and classified people into five categories based on what motivates them.
Here are the five groups:
- Achievement-driven people—those who constantly want to challenge their personal accomplishments and get better results
- Power-driven people who are motivated by making decisions and being in charge
- Affiliation-driven people whose main motivator is working in a harmonious relationship with others
- Security-driven people—for them, what matters most is consistency and continuity of their work
- Adventure-driven people—people who like to take risks and explore new things
While no motivation type is better than another, the analysis revealed achievement-driven people are 44% more likely to love what they do and have great results.
And this is what employers will appreciate.
What pushes you to grow?
You can take the LeadershipIQ’s test here to discover your type of motivation.
Even if it turns out you’re not an achievement-driven person, you can foster this point of view by setting small daily or weekly goals for yourself.
If it’s initially difficult to come up with goals, think of a certain task and ask yourself, “How could I do it better?” Also, narrow down your thought process by focusing on metrics easy to measure, such as time- or quantity-based ones.
Whenever you achieve these small goals, the satisfaction you’ll feel will be an award and a further motivator—
You will be better prepared for more challenging tasks (recall my points on stepping out of your comfort zone and welcoming feedback) and you’ll increase your value as an individual and employee.
Earn Professional Certifications
Professional certifications are a verified proof of your skills and qualifications—not only on when you’re looking for a job but also when you’re already hired.
Earning new work-related certificates will boost your value both as a candidate and an employee.
Here’s a practical example:
Alexandra Tran, a Digital Marketing Strategist with Hollingsworth which a national e-commerce and logistics company, took the Google Analytics certification exam. She was extremely pleased with the effect it had on her at work.
She says: “I immediately became more involved in various marketing projects and I’m slated to become a Marketing Manager by Summer 2019. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done to help me advance in my career.”
If you want to become a more valuable asset to your current employer and increase your chances of promotion and career growth, follow this example.
Research the certifications that apply to your field, see which are most in-demand in your industry and get them Some will be free of charge, others will require a payment but—
If you present clear business benefits your certification will bring to the whole organization, your employer should agree to pay these extra costs. Once you start putting your newly gained knowledge to use and deliver results, your employer will see the investment in your paid off.
And you’ll be in a great position tonegotiate a pay increase.
Another benefit of engaging in continuous learning and professional development is expanding your professional network. The Pew Research Center investigated why adults engage in lifelong learning for personal and professional reasons. The study revealed that, of the people who pursued professional development through learning, 65% said they expanded their professional networks by doing so.
Being connected to professionals from your industry can help you tackle problems outside of your area of expertise in your day-to-day work life. Plus, it can prove an invaluable asset when looking for new employment opportunities.
Sign Up for Single-Day Workshops
Here’s another point about continuous learning.
In some industries, getting certified might take ages and require a long-term training in advance. What if you don’t have that much time to spare?
Enroll in one-day workshops, short courses available online or small trainings organized as part of industry events near you. It will let you stay abreast of the subjects that matter in your field and you’ll still be able to put new knowledge into practice at work.
You’ll bring more value to your workplace.
Show Out-of-the-Box Thinking
When you show creative, unorthodox thinking, you display the capability to view things from a different perspective and tackle problems in a way others have not tried before.
Your employer will notice and appreciate it.
Coming up with new, experimental ideas is a great problem-solving technique.
Sometimes, if we adhere too closely to norms and expectations upheld within a company, we cannot effectively cope with situations that span beyond existing procedures.
That said, I don’t mean you should intentionally break the rules.
Keep an open mind and look for solutions.
Avoid Behaviors or Characteristics That Could Decrease Your Value
At this stage you already know six ways to become more valuable at work.
But you also need to be aware of things that could make your value go down.
And eliminate these behaviours if you have them.
Here are some of the most common culprits:
- Complaining too much
- Not being a team player
- Often showing up late for work
- Lacking engagement with tasks
- Taking part in things that could lower morale, such as gossiping
- Failing to identify bad habits and work to overcome them
- Knowingly ignoring company policies
The final two bullet points are especially problematic from a cybersecurity standpoint, a 2018 SailPoint survey found.
The research showed that three-quarters of the employees polled admitted to reusing passwords across business and personal accounts. Moreover, 31% said they had installed new software at work without the help or approval of the IT department.
So, what do you think?
The eight tips here give you actionable strategies for becoming more valuable to your employer.
They will also help you gain a sense of pride while accomplishing things that make you a well-rounded person and worker.
What strategies are you using to increase your workplace value? What do you think is most important in professional development? Does your company offer a training budget to the employees? If so: have you used it? Let us know in the comments! Let’s get the discussion started.