Adding value as an employee comes with numerous benefits, including accelerating your career, getting paid more, boosting your reputation, and gaining more autonomy, to name a few.
Especially during economic times as uncertain as these, anything you can do to add value is critical. Here’s how to add value, including 8 actionable steps to increase your merit today.
What Does Adding Value as an Employee Mean?
Adding value at work means that every action you take should be to grow the company. Developing the business includes helping it save resources, taking on important work without being asked, identifying areas that need improvement, and becoming a valuable critical thinker.
Identifying How Best to Add Value
There’s no one-size-fits-all for adding value – you need to understand your organization and what it needs most.
For the place you work, consider the following:
- What are its short- and long-term business goals?
- What are its core values?
- Who’s on the leadership team, and what do they value?
- What does my boss like to see in an employee?
- What problems exist that the company isn’t yet addressing?
- How does this company define business growth? (ex: customer acquisition, more sales leads, more profits, better reach/reputation)
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, now’s the time to ask. You’re already adding value by bringing these questions up to management because it shows you’re a critical thinker looking to take initiative.
Based on answers to the above (and similar) questions, consider how your skills best align. What can you do to further business goals and accelerate growth?
Why Adding Value at Work Matters So Much Right Now
We’re experiencing unsettled economic times. With the recent Silicon Valley Bank collapse and subsequent uncertainty in the banking system, it’s unclear what the financial future holds.
Does the Fed continue to raise rates to curb inflation, or do they reverse course to help stabilize banks? If the Fed continues to increase rates, the economy may enter a full-blown recession, a widely held fear.
We’ve already seen swaths of tech layoffs and hiring freezes as the tech sector remains conservative. At the same time, the labor force participation rate continues to fall as the availability of qualified talent shrinks.
All this is to say that we’re amidst a time of uncertainty, and it’s unclear what the future holds for the labor market. Whatever you can do to add value and help secure your job is to your benefit as we navigate this ambivalence.
8 Ways to Add Value at Work
What are the best ways you can add value at work? Let’s take a look at the top 8 strategies.
1. Know What You Do Best
As an employee, you want to understand what you do best and hone in on it. What technical and interpersonal skills come most easily to you?
To help identify your strengths (and weaknesses), start by reviewing your job responsibilities. What duties do you perform regularly? List as many strengths as possible that relate to these duties.
You’ll also want to consider your personality type because it drives your strengths and weaknesses. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a good place to start.
Some examples of strengths include:
- Technical competencies (statistics, CRM, inbound marketing, Python, accounting)
- Critical thinking
- Emotional awareness
Focus on what you do best and continue to get better.
2. Meet (and Exceed) Expectations
Perhaps the most fundamental way to add value at work is to meet – and exceed – expectations. Know what your core job responsibilities are, and go above and beyond.
Always meet deadlines, communicate clearly, identify and solve problems (more on that next), and seek feedback.
3. Identify and Solve Problems
Think about the most significant challenges your team, boss, and company face and how you can eliminate them.
To most effectively solve problems, consider the following list:
- Clearly define the problem
- Define goals to achieve it
- Identify the cause of the issue
- Develop and execute an action plan to eliminate it
- Evaluate results and understand how to do better
- Improve and repeat
The better you are at identifying and solving problems – without being asked! – the more value you’ll add as an employee.
4. Focus on Results
Ideas are great, but results are what matter. Meticulously track everything you do and gather data.
Do your best not to get too bogged down in ideas – instead, execute as frequently as possible and identify what generates the most results.
The more results you bring, the more value you add.
5. Work to Improve the Bottom Line
Money is what keeps a company afloat. Although not all efforts need to impact the bottom line directly, the sum of your value as an employee should positively impact finances.
Different ways of improving a company’s finances include:
- Reducing customer complaints
- Making processes more efficient
- Increasing sales
- Boosting marketing conversions
- Filling roles faster with more qualified employees
- Mentoring your team to improve their contributions
No matter your role, make contributions with the bottom line in mind.
6. Improve Technical & Interpersonal Skills
Adding value means constantly improving. And, if you want to get promoted at work, improving your technical and interpersonal skills is a must.
Seek out educational opportunities at and outside work. Constantly seek feedback and study educational resources such as seminars, podcasts, books, peer-to-peer conversations, and more.
If your company offers employee development opportunities, take them!
7. Take Initiative
Do what is necessary without having to be asked.
The more work you eliminate for your boss, the better. By solving problems and taking on work without being told, you’re making their life easier and adding value as an employee.
8. Focus on Your Reputation
Your reputation affects the company where you work. Focus on being trustworthy, competent, and friendly, and maintain an appropriate social media image. When networking or at events, be professional.
The better you represent your company, the more value you add. Contributing to their overall image helps them as an employer.
What to Expect In Return For Adding Value
Adding value at work is a two-way street. The company you work for should also contribute to your growth and satisfaction as an employee.
Some examples of how organizations can add value to their employees include:
- Purpose and meaningful work
- Strong employee benefits
- Professional development opportunities
- Two-way dialogue for feedback
- Positive employee experiences
- Empathetic leaders
- Understanding of your life outside work
- Helping employees feel valued
If you’re exceeding expectations at your company but aren’t getting anything in return, it might be time for a change.
Switching employers when economic times are uncertain can be stressful. Jennings Executive is here to help. We specialize in pairing the best talent with organizations that value them. We’ll guide you through the process and find a perfect match. Learn more today!
Adding value at work is critical, now more than ever. It will help you keep your job and further your career path. Remember to solve problems, focus on results, improve your skills, and know what you do best. From there, the sky’s the limit!