How to make yourself more valuable to your employer

April 7, 2017

When you work in a demanding environment, it often seems like enough to just make it through the work week. So many employees get caught in the mundane cycle of mediocrity, and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that – if you’re happy with your current position.

But if you’re looking to fast-track your career, adequately fulfilling your role just isn’t enough. You need to stand out, to show your employer that you’re not just another rat in the race. You need to increase your value.

Here are some foolproof methods that will work for almost any career.

Take on more work

There are two types of employees: those who only do what’s in their job description and those who look for more. Adding new responsibilities is one way to expand your role and show your value. When you ask an employer what they look for in a model employee, they almost always mention being proactive – this is how you show it.

In my last role at a non-profit, I asked my boss if I could start writing grants. I knew my coworkers were struggling to keep up with all the proposals, and I wanted to increase my skill set. I didn’t love filling out grant forms, but I liked knowing I was easing the burden for my colleagues. My efforts paid off with a bonus for every grant that was accepted.

Educate yourself

It’s easy to get comfortable in a position you’ve held for a few years, but the most valuable employees find new ways to be innovative. Take online classes, read magazines or attend conferences to learn more about your field. Staying abreast of the latest research and trends could help your firm stay on the cutting edge.

Ask your boss if they’re willing to pay for continuing education. Draft a proposal proving that what you learn will be beneficial to the bottom line.

Save money

Every company wants to cut expenses without losing revenue, but most managers don’t have the time or capacity to adequately oversee the budget. You can prove your worth if you know where your organization is wasting funds – and how to fix it.

Come to your supervisor with a plan on how you’ll eradicate or reduce unnecessary line items. Always underestimate how much you can save so your boss isn’t disappointed with the final tally.

Avoid gossip

Being a good employee is about doing your work well, showing up on time and having a positive attitude – but even the most productive employee can fall into the gossip mill.

Chatting on the job with other employees is normal, but avoid the temptation to gossip about your coworkers. Dishing about the people you work with is normal, but too much negativity can lead to hostility and conflict in the workplace. Overt gossip makes you look petty and unfocused on your work. That’s not the impression you want your boss to have of you.

Bring solutions, not problems

You should always alert your manager if there’s an issue they need to know about, but there are more constructive ways to do that than just dumping the issue on their lap. A former boss once told me the best employees only bring up problems if they have an answer.

If you tell your employer about a budget shortfall or miscalculated projection, come up with a list of solutions. By providing possible answers, you’ll show you’re willing to pitch in – even if the solutions don’t end up being viable. It’s understandable if you can’t find a fix for every setback, but the act of trying is enough to make you stand out.

Send this to a friend