What are you worth?
Five ways to demonstrate your value at work
Struggling to land that promotion? Negotiating a pay rise? If you can’t articulate your value, it’ll make it challenging to land the job or pay rise of your dreams.
- Know what ‘bucket’ you sit in
The value of all tasks can be put into one of four buckets: commercial (it either makes or saves money), service (it provides a service or product to your customers or clients and thereby creates commercial or reputational value), growth (opportunities which can lead to new business) or reputational (it supports the positioning of the company).
Identify what ‘bucket’ your skills fit in. For example:
- Commercial: do you save or make money for the company / agency?
- Growth: do you create opportunities for the company to grow?
- Reputational: do your skills add value to the perception of the company or its clients?
Use your ‘bucket’ to understand how to articulate your value and thereby measure it.
- Measure your unique value
Once you are clear on the value you bring the company, measure it. As author Cal Newport relays to FastCompany, “Once you find activities that are clearly valuable, ‘measure them constantly and pursue them deliberately in the same way a professional chess player would pursue raising his or her tournament rank score.’”
If you sit in the commercial bucket, measure how much you are making, or saving the firm. If you are responsible for the growth of the company, how much value are your opportunities delivering? If you work in the reputational bucket, has the sentiment of clients or customers evolved over time? What would the reputational risk to the company be if you weren’t in the role?
The data you gather by measuring the impact of your skills will be the most important element you use to illustrate your worth.
- Create a forwardable portfolio
A summary presentation is a reminder why you’re a great return on investment. Demonstrate value by showcasing tangible outcomes as a direct result of your talents.
At the completion of any major milestone or project, create a summary of the successful project, your role in it, in a visually engaging way and forward this to your manager and team.
Consider this your forwardable portfolio. Over time, your manager will likely forward these reports to their bosses, making it much easier to illustrate the value of your skills come pay negotiation.
Any project that goes well is a case study for you, your boss, their manager and future clients of the company. Use this to your advantage.
- Ace the three-sentence pitch
It’s also important to be able to demonstrate your value at work informally. If you’re unable to articulate your strengths in three sentences it will be challenging for colleagues to grasp the value of what you do.
Make sure you can confidently articulate what you do, how this benefits the company and (most importantly), a ‘proof point’ which illustrates this, in a few sentences. Here’s an example:
“I am a front end developer. I was responsible for bringing the X project to life, which resulted in the business saving X% on internal programmes. I also implemented the X programme, which has saved the company 30% in resource costs.”
If your work mates understand the value you bring, they are more likely to sing your praises to colleagues and the wider team, leading to wider opportunities over time.
As writer and web designer Paul Jarvis brilliantly articulates: ‘Don’t expect people to see your talent … you’ve got to show them why you’re an expert by teaching or showing them what goes into making what you make and why it would benefit someone like them.”
- Think outside the KPI
Innovative employees routinely step into the shoes of their employer to understand the challenges the business faces.
Make a real impact by adding value outside of your immediate role. Are there opportunities to add value outside of your KPI’s? Do you have skills you’ve yet to flex in your current role?
If your company is growing quickly, are there opportunities to implement new systems to save everyone time? Do new technologies exist which may benefit the organisation and assist with streamlining processes?
Have industry changes impacted the way the organisation needs to be competitive? Could you suggest or create internal learning programmes to upskill and help the firm remain competitive?
Use your own informed insights to propose new initiatives that may benefit the company. Here you are showcasing initiative, creative thinking and leadership abilities – and that is hugely valuable to any employer.
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