by Damilola Adekoya HR Officer at RS Hunter Limited, November 24, 2015
When people share with me their concerns regarding career growth opportunities in their existing place of work, the first question I ask them is “Are you adding value to your organisation?” This is quickly followed by “How do you measure the value you are adding?”
Most people do not stop to think what their contribution to the bottom line is. The fact is that each employee is recruited because there is a belief that your being part of the organisation will help the company meet its corporate objectives and long term vision thereby increasing profitability.
It can be expected that the more valued you are as an employee, the more likely your employer will be keen to keep you around. This desire can be demonstrated in numerous ways such as training opportunities, improved salary and benefits package, career progression and company-wide recognition. Most important of all is how your employer treats you during an economic downturn. If you are a value-adding employee your employer will be keen to keep you around while others may be released.
Employees are constantly presented with the opportunity to make an impact in their organisations. While carrying out your duties in a professional and efficient manner will make you stand out among your colleagues, good interpersonal skills, an ability to contribute positively to group projects as well as a positive attitude will go a long way to making your manager and other people in the organisation value your being there.
Adding value in a particular position may also mean challenging the status quo or finding a better way to do things. So while each role has a job description designed to ensure the individual achieves a specific outcome for the company; the person in the role can determine the extent of the value the company receives just by the way they go about conducting their responsibilities.
Take for example a recruitment officer whose role it is to identify and recruit suitable individuals to fill vacancies within an organisation. Such an employee may be expected to:
- Develop job descriptions.
- Advertise openings on the company’s job portal.
- Conduct interviews to identify suitable candidates.
- Select candidate(s) to be employed.
However the employee could go the extra mile by:
- Getting to know the client, the industry in which they operate, their service offering, work culture and environment.
- Listing the vacancies on various job portals as well as other social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and blogs.
- Providing both successful and unsuccessful candidates with an update on the outcome of their interviews.
- Offering advice to both the client and shortlisted candidates on pay rate, staff training and career progression.
- Following up with the client and the candidate after a few weeks on the job to ascertain any immediate issues and proffer solutions if necessary.
While these value adding strategies are not defined anywhere in the job description, a few extra steps in the process could lead to a potential cost saving for the company.
Some concerns employees have with trying to add value is that they do not want to be seen to be acting outside of their scope or that the extra effort may not be appreciated and could lead to additional costs for the company. Whatever you do, don’t be a lone ranger. Run your idea by your manager or other colleagues in the office. Make sure you have a summary to hand that takes into consideration the ‘what, why, how and when’ of your initiative. If it is beneficial, you wouldn’t have to do much convincing.
All things said, remember you were hired to perform a particular role in your organisation. Make sure you do that to the best of your ability and where you may not have the requisite skills to perform above expectations, find ways to get it.
Below are a few questions I ask myself periodically. Try to answer them honestly and give yourself a score on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)
- Am I improving each year?
- Am I consistent in my attendance, my work, and my results?
- Am I spending most of my time at work with top performers?
- Do I collaborate well with others and have good professional relationships?
- Am I moving forward with purpose and not resting on my past accomplishments?
- Do I regularly ask for feedback on my performance from my boss and my peers?
- Do I set goals for myself beyond the ones set by my supervisor?
- Does my performance compare favorably with my peers?
- Have I recently added to my job description using my own initiative?
In conclusion, focus on the work you do and how you add value to your company. Infuse positivity and a “can-do” spirit to those in your team. I encourage you to work smart and watch your career soar!