What is your value for the organization where you work?
Have you ever asked yourselves what is your true value for the organization where you work? And if so, how do you measure it?
Whether we are at an entry-level, managerial, expert or assistant position, at work we all strive to achieve the feeling that our contribution is important and that we can give the best of ourselves, and at the same time get recognition from others and a fair reward. This is the feeling that defines our career success. Simply put, our career success has two components – satisfaction with our own personal development “today I am better than yesterday, today my worth is greater” and satisfaction with the applicability of our value “I contribute to a certain goal”.
The organization where you work provides a framework of conditions where you can build and prove your worth. No, the salary and the position are not the only measure of your worth. Security, trust, being given important tasks, encouraging your personal development, the conditions you have at your disposal are the return you get when the organization knows how important you are for the team’s success.
Even though circumstances at work might slow you down or put you on the fast-track, no organization has the power to completely impact someone’s career. The person in charge of your current and future value, and thus your career, are you yourselves.
Your career depends on what you can do tomorrow
Skills, experience, engagement and the attitude towards the surroundings are the four pillars on which your career is based. They determine your value for the organization and thus your status, the chances for promotion, your wages…
And while trying to confirm that you have all four pillars and that you must value more than what you get in return… you should be aware if you are assessing yourselves today or in the future. Ask yourselves the following questions:
Am I certain that in five years’ time I will be of high value? How willing am I to adapt and be equally good, experienced, engaged when my job changes, when new technology is introduced or when the demands for quality and quantity from my job increase? Am I willing to work a different job that would be even more necessary for the organization than my present one?
If your answer to these questions is YES, then you are highly valuable for the organization. Because management needs people who can help the company to quickly adapt to new circumstances, to successfully introduce changes, to make optimizations, improve the quality and make it digital. The company’s ability to maintain its competitive advantage in the future and to ensure business success lies mainly in the staff’s readiness to learn and apply new things. So, when today you compare two employees with the same job description, education, skills, experience and performance, the one who is actively learning, is open for changes and initiates improvement is of greater value for the organization. Remember, the employee’s value for the organization is not based only on what you did in the past or what you do now, it will depend even more on what you will do tomorrow.
The future is uncertain, but you have to get ready for it
It requires you to adapt your skills. Each skill has its own “shelf life” which is measured in “half-life”. Half-life is the time after which the skill’s value on the labour market will be reduced by half. For example, if you have experience as an engineer or construction technician, the value of your skill for manually making technical drawings has been halved after a certain period of time, while the value of the skills for drawing in a software has increased. If you are currently using some software, you can be certain that every day the value of this skill is declining in favour of some other skill that is becoming more useful for your job. In the 1980s it was estimated that the average half-life of skills’ value was 30 years. In 2017 the World Economic Forum published a study which states that the half-life of skills’ value has been reduced to 5 years, while now in 2022 it is less than 4. In four years’ time, what you know today will be half its value. For the other half, you will have to learn something new.
One solution for many career dilemmas
Since now we know that you are the boss of your career and that you determine your objective value as an employee of the future, now you need to apply the only solution that would bring you closer to the image you want for yourself: learning.
The key is in your hands – equip yourself with the skills of the future and you will increase your value for yourself and for the organizations that want to have you as an employee.
Learning is one solution for many career dilemmas:
- Want to ensure that you are safe at your current job? Learn. Prove that you are willing to do what the future brings, that you will remain an expert in your profession, so whatever happens tomorrow, guide the changes of your work and you will remain indispensable.
- Want to change jobs in the company? You have always wanted to work in a different sector? Study. Prove to everyone there that you can be equally good, maybe even better than the others, because you know what the job would entail tomorrow.
- You want a pay raise? Be prepared to define your value as someone how can help with achieving the goals not just now, but long into the future. Learn so that you can have a good negotiating position.
- You have always dreamt of a managerial position and you expect promotion? Learn. Show initiative in acquiring managerial skills, demonstrate your understanding that managing is a specific profession and that you take it seriously.
- Want to start up your own business? Learn. In addition to latest expert knowledge in business, you will also need a whole set of entrepreneurship skills for setting up and managing a business.
- Thinking of changing companies? Learn. Apart from experience, bring to the interview skills that would make you a more valuable candidate than others.
Learning is a skill. It is one of the most important skills that will provide you with sustainable competitive advantage in your career. For you to be able to study more easily, it is best to apply the techniques of learning with a purpose. Learning with a purpose is an attitude towards personal development when a person sees an opportunity to learn something new in each experience. If you apply this, learning will not be a waste of time, but will increasingly become an integral part of what you usually do.
Here is what you can start doing today:
- Define this as your guiding principle: “what I learn today will help me become what I want in the future” (I hope that this article will help you with this step)
- Identify your chances for a career 5 years from now. What will you job look like then? What is new, which skills will be necessary? Talk with your colleagues, managers, search online.
- After you identify what you need to learn, start each day with the intention of discovering something new on the topic. First, ask at work if there is training for new skills on offer. If yes, apply and ask the management for training. Or you might have a colleague who is good in what you are trying to learn and you might organize mentorship with them. Use your time online to learn, find a free course, talk with as many people as possible about the new skills.
Don’t stop when you learn something new. Learn constantly, keep up with the times. This is how you, your value and your organization will grow. Remember: learning never stops and everything you learn will be of use!
About the Author
Ivana is a people management consultant, career development professional and leader of corporate human resources management departments with a long-standing experience. Through her roles as HR director she has demonstrated her competences for strategic management of human capital, organizational development and change management. Her expertise is in areas such as organizational structuring, HR infrastructure, employment engagement and talent management through career development. Ivana deeply believes in the development of individuals and systems: each employee and each organization has potential that can be stimulated to achieve goals.