Have you ever thought about how much you’re really worth to your employer?
If you have, you might have struggled to come up with a meaningful answer. And if you haven’t, you may not realise why you need this answer in the first place.
It’s especially important to know when you’re looking for a pay rise, when you’re faced with redundancy or when you’re trying to create some financial and job security in your career.
Because when you know the answer to this question, you’ll know whether your job is secure, whether you’re being fairly paid and how to manage your career too.
We all know how fast the world changes – not much is certain these days. Your value can go down as well as up. That’s why you need to evaluate your value to your employer on a regular basis.
Otherwise you might find your value diminishing to the point where you’re no longer worth paying. Or you may miss an opportunity to get a pay rise because you’ve become more valuable.
So how do you go about establishing your value to your employer?
At first, you may be tempted to simply quote your salary. After all, if you’re being paid £x, that must mean you’re worth it, right?
But what if you were made redundant? What would you be worth then? Would you be worth what your ex-employer was paying you, or would you be worth less?
Why it’s hard to estimate your value
As you can tell, estimating how much you’re worth to your employer isn’t as easy as it might seem.
If you’re in sales, you may think that doesn’t apply to you. If you’ve brought in £x millions in sales, it might seem obvious that you’re worth at least £x thousands.
But even if you’re in a sales role, the calculation can be tricky. What if you’re promoted to the role of regional sales manager and you’re no longer talking directly to clients? How do you assess your value then? How do you work out your value when you’re not bringing money directly into the company?
And what if your role isn’t related to making money at all?
The two most common functions employees fulfil today are those of analyst and project manager. Almost every job requires an employee to perform either or both these roles as part of their job description.
Let’s begin by trying to put a value on the skills used by an analyst.
You analyse something – data, results, information, people … there are all sorts of things – and you produce a summary or report of your findings. That information is used as part of a decision-making process around a specific issue in the business.
Your value to the employer is therefore:
- How good you are at analysing.
- How quickly you can perform the analysis.
- Whether or not you can improve the way in which the business analyses information.
But here’s the thing…
Your analysis is only as good as the systems and tools you have available. There’s a big difference between using a super-computer running Big Data and only having a pen and paper to work with.
Does that mean you’re more valuable if you have the benefit of the super-computer or does it mean you’re more valuable if you’re able to work without it?
The answer probably depends on what industry you’re in and what kind of information you’re collecting and analysing. Although, no matter what your role, it’s never going to be a straightforward calculation.
It’s the same with project management.
When a project is close to completion, the value of the project manager is high. But as soon as the project is over, his or her value is zero. As a leading Outplacement Consultancy, we see this all the time.
There were huge spikes in the demand for and salaries paid to IT project managers when companies were working to guard themselves against the feared Millennium Bug. But these same highly sought-after and highly paid project managers were all being made redundant as soon as the event was over. To be honest the same is expected around Brexit. As soon as the deal is done and the dust settles, there’ll be huge layoffs again.
So your value isn’t easy to assess. That’s because your value is dependent on a wide variety of factors, many of which are outside your control, and what you can realistically know or even anticipate. This is what any project manager will tell you are the ‘unknown unknowns’.
But don’t lose sleep worrying about what disaster or misfortune might rock the boat of your financial security. Decide right now that you’re going to take control and keep abreast of your value.
However, your assessment of your worth may not be the same as your employers. That’s why you need to see yourself in their eyes if you’re going to get your evaluation right.
How does your employer calculate your worth?
Your employer calculates your worth by looking at the problems you solve for the business. So if you’re not solving a specific issue, you could be in danger of redundancy or having your role automated.
Many roles within a business are associated with tidying up a mess – usually an aspect of the business that has got into a mess or that needs sorting out on a regular basis.
From working in a restaurant to a high-tech bank, most roles involve at least some form of tidying. It could be tidying up a database, tidying up a problem with a client, tidying up systems, tidying up an issue related to a member of staff.
When they hear this, many Career Consultants clients throw up their hands in disgust. They argue that they are much more than the Office Cleaner. But, if you remove your fancy job title, you’ll quickly discover that large elements of your job are just about tidying up a mess.
Take what is happening in the UK political arena at the moment with Brexit. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has what is often called the highest job in the land. And what is her responsibility? How will she be valued in her role? It’ll be around whether she can tidy up this mess called Brexit.
If you want to understand your value in a nutshell, ask yourself:
- What mess do you tidy up?
- What’s the cost of not tidying up the mess?
- What are the benefits of tidying up the mess?
What will impact your value further is how good you are at tidying the mess.
Your employer calculates your value by doing a cost-benefit analysis. This allows them to find out whether the problem you solve is worth more or less than what it costs them to employ you.
- If you provide more value to your employer than you cost to employ, you might be able to negotiate a salary increase.
- If you add less value than you cost to employ, your salary could stagnate or your role could be made redundant.
Which will it be? These three questions will help get a clearer sense of your value.
1. Are you evaluating yourself using the company’s criteria?
It doesn’t matter how hard you work if you’re putting your energy into projects and tasks that the company doesn’t value. You’re at risk of redundancy and poor financial rewards. Make sure you understand your company’s goals and focus your efforts on generating the results that matter to your employer. Work out whether you add to the bottom line or help reduce costs, then figure out how to do that even better.
2. Has the job market got news for you?
If you haven’t looked at the job market recently, take a look. That’s because job adverts can tell you a lot. If nobody is looking for your skills, it could be a sign your value is decreasing. Take a look at the job requirements – do you have all the skills listed or would you struggle to apply for a similar role for a different company? That could leave you vulnerable in the face of redundancy.
3. Could a computer do your job?
New technology and software developments are making many roles redundant. Ask yourself whether a computer could do your job. Find out what technological advancements could render your role irrelevant. Discover whether you need to learn new software or processes to remain valuable to your employer. The world is constantly changing, so make sure you’re keeping up with developments.
How your value impacts your career
When you know how much you’re worth to your employer, it can make a big difference to your career future. That’s because you have options when you know what you’re worth.
- You’ll be able to take control of your career, retain your value and even increase it by learning new skills and gaining the experience needed to progress your career.
- You’ll be able to understand and clearly convey the value you offer to a new employer if the worst happens and you’re laid off or if you’re looking for a promotion.
- You’ll be able to work out whether you’re being paid what you’re worth and if not, what you should be getting instead.
If you want more job security and better pay, you need to know how to make yourself more valuable to your employer. If redundancy is on the line, find out how to raise your value and communicate it clearly so you can find a new employer.
If you’re struggling to evaluate your worth to your employer, let us help you. Contact Us by filling out the form on this page and we’ll help you evaluate your worth and help you use that evaluation to create greater job security and higher pay.