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No. 128 / Calculating your value

When someone hires you to do a job, are you getting paid more or less than the value you provide?

It ultimately comes down to a cost-benefit analysis. Is your value to your organization equal or greater than your cost, and does the organization believe your value will increase or decrease over time?

What is the organization’s return on investing in you? What about the people that hire you?

For sales representatives, the first part of calculating how much value they bring is to evaluate booking numbers. Are they meeting or exceeding quota? In many organizations, this is the only yardstick. But there may be other things to consider: skill-set for other roles, leadership capabilities, and work ethic (to name a few).

But when organizations evaluate other roles like software engineers, graphic designers, marketing managers, HR specialists, and customer support representatives, calculating their value becomes a little trickier.

Here are some key points to consider when beginning to figure out how much value you actually bring to the table:

  1. Have a clear understanding of what you company’s goals are, as well as what your managers consider important.

  2. Be an expert on what job you are hired to do.

  3. Are your efforts focused on the right thing? If your organization is looking for more bottom-up innovation, ideas and solutions, but you spend your time working on ways to increase company morale, you might be missing the mark.

  4. Think in terms of metrics. How much revenue are you bringing in? How much money did you save the company by implementing some lean approaches? Did your campaign produce better results than expected?

  5. Speak up. Clearly communicating your value is more than half the battle. Yes, this means you’ll have to show some salesmanship. “To sell is human” - Daniel Pink. The fact is, the higher-ups or whomever hired you won’t know unless you tell them. Not to be a brown-noser, but in appropriate settings, it’s important to make a case for why your efforts mattered. You’ll then need to tie back your efforts into how they are in sync with the organization’s values. You are more than the sum of your job description. And your work can only speak for itself if people notice.

Bill Gates once said that “a great writer of software code is worth 10,000 times the price of an average software writer.” Constantly and continually improving your skills will certainly help separate you from the average. But you’ll also need to bear in mind what the market says. It’s important to know what people in your field, with your experience, and skill level are being paid.

When all is said and done, calculating your value begins with you. Take an in-depth look at your skills. Evaluate your abilities. Then improve them. Make a list of reasons why someone should hire you. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How are your endeavors bringing in more revenue or saving the organization money? What are the key objectives for the company? Does the work you do line up?

Now tell them. Then continue to show them.