When you study workplace dynamics and take a look at those individuals who get the biggest raises, the biggest promotions, and are least likely to get ‘downsized,’ you will begin to see a pattern. There is a commonality to these people, their actions, and their approach to work that we can all learn from. In addition to having consistently positive attitudes (that’s the #1 criteria), they are all perceived as bringing the greatest value to their organization.

What does this mean, you might ask? I do my job – so aren’t I bringing value to my organization? Fair question and the answer is most likely ‘yes,’ you do bring value to your organization. But value is a relative thing, and people perceive it in comparison to the world around them.

Imagine, for example, that the average price of a dozen eggs is $2.00. One day you visit a store, however, find them selling for $1.00 a dozen. “What a great deal,” you might think. Compared to what you were used to, you would believe that you just got an amazing value for your dollar. But what if, in the next three places you visited, you saw the same brand of eggs now selling for a regular price of 50c a dozen. Would you still believe that you got great value in that store? Not so much any more. And how would you begin feeling about the $2.00 you’d been paying in all the other stores previously? Value is all about perception.

Our bosses view our value in much the same way. They pay salary X for us to do job Y, and as long as we do job Y, they will perceive us as bringing value to the company. But if a boss has five employees doing job Y and one doing job Y+1, who is he (she) most likely to promote when the opportunity arises? Similarly, if four people are doing job Y+1, and one is just doing job Y, who is likely to be the first out of the door in a downsizing?

How do you make sure you bring extra value to your company? Look for opportunities to pitch in. Keep an eye out for information, contacts or leads that might be useful to your boss. Get to know your subject matter better than anyone else. Go to workshops, watch videos. Read. Look beyond your paycheque at the end of the week, and think about how you can make a difference to your organization. Don’t believe for a second that people don’t notice!

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