Cards on the table: are you indispensable to your employer?

Cards on the table: are you indispensable to your employer?

In professional life, everyone has a market value. This plays a role, for example, in the application process, when you are supposed to state and justify your salary request. It is roughly based on your education, work experience, hierarchical position and any special qualifications like foreign language skills& Co. And even when asking for a salary increase in an existing employment relationship, you should be able to realistically assess and justify your market value. So far, so good. But if you are "superfluous" for your employer, he will certainly not promise you a salary increase. Worst case scenario, he might even pull out the dismissal notice. Today, therefore, it should be about your "added value", not about the market value.

If you are looking for appreciation at work, more money or even a promotion, you should make yourself indispensable to the employer. For those who are replaceable may sooner or later be threatened with exactly that: they will be replaced – by a cheaper, younger or in some other way "better" employee. If and when that happens depends in large part on loyalty on the employer side. There tends to be a more human, sometimes even family-like relationship in SMEs and employees are also valued as people rather than just as workers. In such cases, pure performance is still important, but it is not the only metric that determines professional success or failure. Unfortunately, this is by no means the case in all companies and, generally speaking, large companies and corporations tend to view employees as a means to an end. And the purpose is always: as much profit as possible.

How are performance and salary related??

In other words, from the employer’s point of view, the "optimal" employee is in the office 24/7, has no private life, performs at the highest level, is never sick and receives a salary at the level of the minimum wage. Fortunately, everyday life in many professions is more pleasant from the employee’s point of view, and in the wake of the shortage of skilled workers, conditions in many places are just changing. Nevertheless, it is still true for many ambitious employees: If you want to earn more and climb the career ladder, you have to make yourself indispensable to the company – or quit and look for another job. This does not at all mean that all high earners are also true high performers. Instead, it’s about the concept of self-marketing: If you can "sell" yourself correctly, you will also earn a higher salary, receive more appreciation, be promoted or otherwise be successful professionally – regardless of your actual performance. Exceptions confirm the rule. So performance and salary are definitely related, but not in the way you might have expected. You don’t have to perform "more", you just have to present your services in the right way. But what does that mean?

Why you should determine your "added value"..

If you find out for yourself what your unique role is in the company that no one else can do, you have found your added value. The point is to make it clear to the employer why you in particular are indispensable to them. Then he will do a lot to keep you in the company and prevent you from being poached by the competition – be it salary increases, more flexible working hours, promotions or other amenities. In your working life and as a job applicant, you should know your market value, but you should also know your "added value".

…and how:

  • Write down all (new) tasks and areas of activity of your daily work on a list, which you constantly add to and update.
  • Periodically take a look at this list and try to identify your core competencies.
  • While you’re at it, ask yourself which of these tasks none of your colleagues, supervisors, interns& Co could take over. So at what point in the company would there be problems if, for example, you were to be absent for a longer period of time due to illness, or even resigned?
  • Next, analyze your supervisor’s areas of activity: How are you helping him to achieve his goals?? How could you contribute to their success in the future? And here again the question: How do you set yourself apart from your "competitors"??

If your superiors perceive you as an important cog in their own success and realize that when you are absent, you actually leave a gap that cannot be filled by another person, you have added optimal value. By the way, it doesn’t hurt to talk directly to your supervisor and just ask straightforwardly how you could be of best help to him in the near future. Consider what skills, experience, qualifications, soft skills or other talents you can use to help him or her – for example, with a current project. The greater your contribution to the success of your superior and the company as a whole, the better your "added value" will be. This not only increases your job security, but in the second step also your market value, which closes the circle. All you have to do now is to take action and create such added value for yourself. After all, every person is individual and it is precisely this individuality in the sense of your unique strengths, gifts and talents that ultimately makes you valuable to the employer and – at least to a certain extent – "indispensable.

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