During uncertain economic times, one of the best ways to keep your job is to demonstrate value to your organisation. It can, however, be difficult to balance humility & value demonstration, particularly in organisations with a range of personalities & backgrounds.
Here are some tips to help navigate your workplace and to help demonstrate your added value in an understated and classy manner.
1. Be part of the bottom line. If you want to be valuable to your organisation, then you need to help it make money and to promote its core values. Organisations measure their ROI partly on you, as your services cost money. Focus on the activities that use your time, skills, and resources most effectively to connect back to the company’s bottom line. In other words: always question whether or not you are outputting value in return for the privilege of employment.
2. Remember that time is money. Related: your most valuable commodity is your time; spend it wisely. Don’t invest eight hours in putting together a presentation when you can deliver the same results in less time. Competent managers can see through flowery language and will value the content of your message often more than the way your message is presented.
3. Sing your own praises (but not too loudly). Your work won’t speak for itself across the wider organisation. You must speak for yourself when the opportunity arises. Make sure that managers understand the effort you put into your job and the results you produce, but don’t overdo it.
4. Get smart. Too many people fail to understand the basic operations of their organisations. Familiarise yourself with the organisational chart, key stakeholders and reporting structures. Study and understand the financial and business models. This will help you navigate the workplace and its various stakeholders in an effective, graceful and non-combative manner.
5. Be a confident innovator. When you pitch your ideas to your seniors, be prepared to defend your views and to receive constructive feedback in return. Managers will challenge you to test your level of enthusiasm and viability. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your competence. If you support your ideas with solid research and show some passion, management will be more likely to embrace your concept.
6. Keep an eye on your etrail. Saving all important emails and electronic data can help iron out confusion very quickly. An audit trail is your best friend in times of doubt surrounding your work.
7. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. If you don’t set limits on optional & low-priority requests, you could find yourself swamped by an unnecessary workload very quickly. Prioritising work requests allow others to respect your time and value your input. Just be careful to not decline work too often as this will make you appear incompetent or evasive.
8. Learn the difference between electronic communication and real communication. Communicating with people is an opportunity to not only exchange knowledge, but to also build fruitful relationships with them that can benefit your personal and career trajectories. In an age of electronic communication, our conversations are becoming increasingly impersonal. Effective employees must be able to interact with people and solve problems. If you can’t interact with people directly, you cannot give or receive as much added value.
9. Add sales to your skill set. Developing sales skills is essential for your organisation and for yourself: to up-sell your own skill sets throughout your career. Moreover, if you are vying for a promotion or raise, you’ll need to be prepared to pitch yourself. Be ready to defend your views and have answers for the tough questions. If someone disagrees with you, be ready to support your ideas with solid research, and overlay this with your own enthusiasm and persuasive techniques.
10. Look after your mental health. Making time for yourself and your family, as well as filing for annual leave, will not only help improve your physical and mental health, but it will assist in pacing yourself in your career so you do not get burnout. Burned out employees are more prone to errors!