7 tips for improving your worth in the workplace

Pursuing ongoing training and setting professional goals are crucial, of course, but consider these other, more nuanced ways to enhance your value to current and prospective employers.

Proving your workplace worth

Do you want to increase your value as an employee?

Sure you do.

Try these seven tactics to achieve your workplace goals and become a greater asset to your organization:

1. Get out of your comfort zone.

When you can show your employer that you’re willing and able to take on new tasks, it will increase your workplace value.

It’s OK to admit that you don’t know everything, but never let a perceived lack of knowledge hold you back. When you get accustomed to doing the same things day after day, you lapse into patterns of boredom and complacency.

One easy and practical thing you can do to move beyond your usual boundaries is to look for opportunities to take on new duties or try unfamiliar things.

Example: Your workplace is creating a team of seasoned employees to support new workers in their onboarding—and you’re voluntarily joining the pack.

The ways to get out of your comfort zone boil down to doing things valuable to your employer and this way to increase your value at work.

2. Be receptive to feedback.

We all love hearing positive feedback, but what about negative comments?

You must be equally receptive to both. Continuous self-improvement proves you care about your career—and your colleagues.

Plus, the survey results of a 2018 study from SHRM and Globoforce showed a clear link between peer feedback and better accuracy during yearly reviews. The research showed that 76% of the human resources professionals polled said ongoing peer feedback leads to enhanced annual reviews for employees.

3. Cultivate an achievement-driven mindset.

In a recent study, LeadershipIQ analyzed types of human motivations and classified people into five categories based on what motivates them.

Here are the five groups:

  • Achievement-driven people, who continually challenge their accomplishments and get better results
  • Power-driven people, who are motivated by making decisions and being in charge
  • Affiliation-driven people, whose main motivator is working in a harmonious relationship with others
  • Security-driven people, for whom what matters most is consistency and continuity of their work
  • Adventure-driven people, who take risks and explore new things

Though no one motivation type is better than another, the analysis revealed achievement-driven people are 44% more likely to love what they do and have great results—and employers will appreciate that.

So, what pushes you to grow? You can take the LeadershipIQ’s test here to discover your type of motivation.

Even if you’re not achievement-driven, you can set daily or weekly goals for yourself.

If it’s initially difficult to come up with goals, think of a certain task and ask, “How could I do it better?” Also, focus on time- or quantity-based metrics.

4. Earn professional certifications.

Professional certifications are verified proof of your skills and qualifications—not only when you’re looking for a job but also once you’re hired.

So, earning new work-related certificates will boost your value as a candidate and an employee.

Research the certifications that apply to your field, see which are most in demand in your industry, and pursue them. Some will be free; others will require a fee. However, if you present clear business benefits that your certification will bring to the whole organization, your employer should pay these extra costs. Once you put your new knowledge to use and deliver results, your employer will see the value of the investment.

Also, you’ll be in a great position to negotiate a pay increase.

Another benefit of continuous learning is expanding your professional network. Pew Research Center investigated why adults engage in lifelong learning. Of those who pursued professional development through learning, 65% had expanded their professional networks by doing so.

Being connected to industry peers can help you tackle problems outside your expertise in your work life. Plus, it can prove an invaluable asset in seeking new opportunities.

5. Sign up for single-day workshops.

In some industries, getting certified might take ages and require long-term training. What if you don’t have that much time to spare?

Enroll in one-day workshops, short courses available online or small training sessions organized as part of industry events near you. It will help you stay abreast of the subjects that matter in your field, and you’ll still be able to put new knowledge into practice at work.

6. Show out-of-the-box thinking.

When you demonstrate creative, unorthodox thinking, you display the capability to view things from a different perspective and tackle problems in ways others have not tried.

Your employer will appreciate it, because coming up with new, experimental ideas is a great problem-solving technique.

Sometimes, if we adhere too closely to norms and expectations upheld within a company, we cannot effectively cope with situations that span beyond existing procedures.

That’s not to say you should intentionally break the rules. Keep an open mind, and look for solutions.

7. Avoid behaviors or characteristics that could decrease your value.

Be aware of tendencies, behaviors or attitudes that could make you expendable.

Here are some common culprits:

  • Complaining too much
  • Not being a team player
  • Arriving late to work or meetings
  • Lacking engagement with tasks
  • Taking part in things that could lower morale, such as gossiping
  • Failing to identify bad habits and working to overcome them
  • Knowingly ignoring company policies

The final two bullet points are especially problematic from a cybersecurity standpoint, a 2018 SailPoint survey found. The research showed that three-quarters of the employees polled admitted to reusing passwords across business and personal accounts. Moreover, 31% said they had installed new software at work without the help or approval of the IT department.

A version of this post first appeared on the Zety blog.

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