It’s often said in business that everyone is replaceable — but that’s true only to a certain degree. Each professional brings his or her own unique set of skills, attributes and experience to the job. What determines your “employee value” i.e. what makes someone “irreplaceable” in the eyes of an employer, is ensuring all of those things remain relevant — and continue adding value — to the business.
Even if you feel confident your company truly needs you, it doesn’t hurt to assess whether you’re doing enough to ensure you’re the type of worker your employer would go the distance to retain.
However, this doesn’t mean you suddenly have to double your workload, try to lead every project or work longer hours than all of your colleagues. There are many ways you can increase your employee value without completely upturning your own routine or stepping on others’ toes. Here are some ideas for work improvement:
Improve your ‘soft’ skills.
In a recent Robert Half survey, finance executives said that effective communication skills (49%), strong interpersonal skills (36%) and leadership (36%) are the most valuable skills for finance and accounting professionals to have in today’s business environment. Whether you’re a financial professional or the resident ‘IT guy’, these types of roles are often expected to interact with a wide range of people, both inside and outside their organisation. Strategies for growing your abilities include taking a public speaking course and volunteering to take the lead on an important project. Want more information on improving your skills? Read our article 'Soft skills in demand'.
Update technical skills and qualifications.
You obviously met your employer’s criteria when you were hired, but would that be true if you applied for your job now? Almost half (49%) of the finance executives surveyed said that strong technical and analytical skills are valuable for today’s finance and accounting professionals. Look at current job postings to find out what companies look for today. Use your professional network to find out what skills and qualifications your peers with similar responsibilities have. Professional associations are also useful resources for staying apprised of industry trends and providing access to learning opportunities and improve your overall productivity alongside your employee value.
Find ways to increase efficiencies.
Improving your efficiencies and output is an important contribution to any business. Don’t hesitate to suggest a different way of doing things if you sense it will lead to positive returns. For instance, have you thought of a way to streamline the monthly reporting process? Do you think the firm could benefit by engaging temporary staff on certain projects? Do you know of a cloud solution for sharing large files that could save time and reduce the burden on IT resources?
Help others enhance their own employee value.
One way leading employers retain their best talent is by offering mentoring and learning opportunities. If you’re a seasoned finance professional, offer to take an up-and-coming colleague under your wing. If you recently attended a professional conference or completed a relevant educational course, ask your boss if you could formally share the knowledge you gained with your colleagues.
There’s no guarantee an employer will always require your skills or abilities — or even the position you now hold. Businesses, and economic factors, are always changing. However, there’s much you can do to make yourself the type of employee a company would regret having to let go.