There are essentially three levels of value that an employee can give to a company. Know which level you're on—and figure out what you need to do to get to the next level.
Most of my articles, as you’ve probably noticed, are geared toward business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs. But if you’re an employee at a company who wants to know how you can grow professionally, advance in your career, and boost earning potential, this one’s for you.
(And if you’re a manager who wants to understand how to help your employees grow, this one’s also for you.)
It’s no secret that we’re all faced with communication challenges at work. One of the ways that challenge plays out is in the gap between the perceptions of employees and managers. A recurring theme I’ve noticed in speaking to business owners and employees is that many times an employee may feel they’re an irreplaceable asset to the company, while their boss/manager feels they can be let go. Or on the flip side, an employee feels they’re not valued enough in the organization, but in truth, they are valued—but they’re simply not getting the feedback they need, or the role they’re in isn’t a good enough fit for their strengths.
Not only can this gap in communication cause frustration and sow seeds of resentment (and destroy an otherwise-healthy workplace culture), but this kind of miscommunication can greatly hinder an employee’s confidence, motivation, and ability to grow themselves professionally—for the benefit of both them and the company.
So how can employees better understand where they stand and how to get to the next level?
First things first: there must be a fair exchange of value happening on a daily basis—where an employee is delivering value to the company that is comparable to the (monetary and non-monetary) value that an employer delivers to the employee. There are essentially three levels of value that an employee can give to a company.
What you do:
The essential ability and skills you bring to your role that help the company achieve what it needs to on a daily basis.
What you know:
Your level of expertise, knowledge, and experience in your field; your knowledge of the company’s strengths, its weaknesses, its structure, its potential for growth.
Who you grow:
Your ability to grow and develop the talents and abilities of others within the company and help them further the company’s mission and vision. (Whether through role modeling, training and/or hiring team members.)
The key for employees is this: know where you are now, and then figure out what you need to do to get to the next level. You won’t always be handed the opportunity or given the push to rise to the next tier, but, as Milton Berle is famous for saying, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
Here are 3 Ptex Practical Pointers for building that door.
1. Develop your knowledge and skills in the areas where the company could improve.
You can do this in many ways—by learning and reading, taking courses online, and practicing new skills on your own time.
2. Get feedback from your team members on how they view your strengths and weaknesses.
Take advantage of opportunities to flex your muscles and show what you’re capable of.
3. Speak to your leader/manager and ask them how you might be able to take on more responsibility to further the company’s growth.
For best results, focus the discussion not on your own personal need, but the needs of the company.
Just keep these three ways of measuring value—what you do, what you know, and who you grow—in mind while you do the above, so you can gauge your current position and future potential. And whether you’re feeling stagnant in your career, wanting to move onto a new opportunity, or feeling ready to take on more responsibility in your company, with some grit, dedication, and hard work, you’re all but sure to meet your goals.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you identify with any of these three levels? Let me know in the comments—seriously, I would love to hear from you.