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Help Yourself by Helping Your Employer

Stand out at work for all the right reasons. Find out how you help yourself when you look for ways to add value to your organization.

You’re probably already doing what your employer expects of you, but that’s really just the starting point. You can stand out when you add value to your employer’s organization. Value can often be measured. For example, you may:

  • Increase profits
  • Reduce losses
  • Improve quality
  • Increase customer satisfaction

By adding value, you’re more likely to keep your job, be offered raises and promotions, and earn glowing references if you move on.

Add value through your personal performance

What you do at work every day can add value when you:

  • Show up prepared and on time
  • Complete your tasks on time
  • Meet or exceed your targets
  • Grow your skills
  • Have a positive attitude
  • Take initiative
  • Work well with others
  • Take accountability for your work
  • Contribute your best work
  • Improve your performance

You can also add value by working smarter or better. Ask yourself:

  • Do I need to update a skill or learn a new one? For example, you might be able to improve your presentation skills.
  • Can I become more efficient? For example, you might be able to learn the shortcuts for a computer program you use.
  • Can I save on resources or supplies? For example, you might be able to print fewer documents.

Add value to your organization’s performance

Think about what your organization wants to do. You can add value by helping it improve profits, add quality, reduce losses, or increase customer satisfaction. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How can I help my organization reach its goals? Do I know the products or services well enough to sell more to a customer? For example, clothing stores often put certain items, like T-shirts, on sale to encourage customers to enter the store. The employee who can sell a customer a pair of jeans to go with the on-sale T-shirt is adding value. Is there a similar situation in your workplace? What are some of the ways you can think of to increase profits or encourage repeat business?

  • How can I be more efficient so my organization doesn’t fall short of its goals? Do I need to re-do tasks to meet standards? What tasks take longer than they should? How can I work more efficiently? Think of the server who always carries the coffee pot, topping up cups on the way. One trip keeps customers happy, speeds up service and increases the number of customers the restaurant can serve. Is there a similar situation in your workplace? How can you keep your customers happy? How can you encourage them to tell their friends about your organization?

Showing up is important: an employer's story

A manufacturer in Red Deer, who hires workers and trains them on the job, takes pride in recruiting young workers and offering them their first well-paying job.

"My biggest frustration is people who don't show up," he said. "I hired one young man who had real talent, but he missed 29 days out of his first 67 days on the job. He left me with no choice but to let him go. I'm pretty flexible, but how could we work anything out if he didn't show up?"

Make changes that add value

Adding value almost always involves change. Use your communication skills to make sure these changes go smoothly:

  • Talk to your supervisor about what you’d like to do before you do it. Some things are done in specific ways for good reasons.
  • Ask for your supervisor’s support to learn new skills.
  • Tell your co-workers what you’re doing. Ask for their input.
  • Ask your customers and suppliers if they like the changes.
  • Listen to the people around you, and be flexible and open to changing your plan. Others may have good ideas for you to consider.

Even if you can’t make all the changes you want, view your current work as a stepping stone to something more fulfilling. Make the changes you can and know that you can learn from every experience.

You benefit when you add value to your employer

When you add value to your organization, both you and your employer benefit. You gain knowledge, learn new skills, and use more of your talents and abilities. You’ll enjoy your job more and your employer may reward you for your efforts.

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