Know the Value of Your Work

DFN: Its unlikely the average person will go up to a "C-Level" and grill the "C-Level", even if a person has an idea about how to improve the profitability of a company. Still, if you do have that idea, express it in forums normally open to you, and eventually, it will go up the ‘chain’, and if you’re working for a company that has good leadership, you’ll actually get credit for the idea.

Common Cents: Know The Value Of Your Work
Posted: 30 Oct 2009 09:14 AM PDT
From: Blog

The work we have or seek has a value, and though it appears logical for companies to know the specific value each job adds to the company, not all jobs are easy to align with business revenue. Traditionally we consider sales because the position is directly tied to revenue and is easy to measure – we know the value of the salesperson who brings in 150% of quota. But how do companies measure the value of a software tester, a customer service rep, or an HR Generalist?

In our current climate companies are striving to understand costs in order to insure profitability and sadly are making decisions to cut costs before truly understanding the value of a job. Therefore it may be of personal benefit to understand your job’s value for your current company. Or if you are in an interviewing process, understanding the value may be of help in securing the position. For example, consider: Does the position add to the success and profitability of the company? How and how much? It’s a good idea to know, and here are a few suggestions that can help determine the real value.

Learn the financial goals for the company. If you are with a public company the information is available. If you are working for a private company and your management has not shared, go to your management and ask. Letting it be known that you are interested in understanding how your position can help achieve the overall goals of the company is a good thing.

Study the business model assumptions: Every company makes assumptions about their business model and then work hard to prove them by exceeding or doing better. How many clients can one customer service rep handle? How many lines of code can the tester successfully review? Are their assumptions for your position or is the position seen as a cost with no return. Let’s think about that, the HR Generalist may be responsible for 401k administration, benefits and compliance – how in the world do we value? Your company should survey employees and measure retention. High marks and a high retention rate means productivity is consistent and recruiting costs are kept in check, therefore value is added to the bottom line by protecting investment and avoiding costs. Still, many times it is hard to put a number to the value.

So ask: Many times and for many reasons we are not willing to ask for help when in reality people are usually willing to help out. In this case corner the Controller, Accounting Manager or the CFO and let them know you have a question and that you need their help. When they ask why, tell them you want to understand the value your position brings to the company BECAUSE (important) you have some ideas and want to improve the value of your work to the bottom line…help the company out. You will be surprised at what you learn, how you are perceived and how your future ideas may be listened to a little more closely.

So interesting, we started out to prove the value of our position, but in the end by going through the process we may have proven our value to the organization. And that is the point, companies want people who want to improve their lot and in turn the company’s.

And if you’re interviewing pursue the same process. It may be harder to find the right person to answer your questions but if you do before the second interview you will bring information and knowledge to the table that will make you shine!


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