Understanding your value to employers

Taking the time to consider this topic seriously, and then developing a strategy for articulating your value, could directly impact your compensation in the future.

Your value as an employee determines how well you are compensated at work. However, understanding how employers measure this worth is a challenge. Taking the time to develop a strategy for articulating your value could directly impact your compensation in the future.

How employers view employee experience

Ultimately, your worth as an employee comes down to hard numbers: Is the value you provide to the company equal to your compensation? Many individuals may try to answer that question by asserting that more years on the job equals higher valuation. In that line of reasoning, an employee with 15 years' experience would be worth more than an employee with five years' experience. However, it may not be so simple. For instance, what if the employee with less experience has more certifications and training than the long-term employee? Given enough advantages, the scales may tip in the favor of a highly skilled employee over one with extensive tenure.

"Employees who go above and beyond their day-to-day responsibilities and consistently try to seek out other ways to make an impact typically remain top-of-mind for their managers," says Katie Hackney, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Columbus. "This is something to consider if you are asking for a raise or increase in compensation. Overall skill and years of experience are certainly important factors; however, hard work and the drive to succeed are critical intangible factors that act as a reminder of your value to current or potential employers."

Employers must weigh all kinds of metrics to determine the relative value of their employees. And some of those metrics aren't quantifiable; soft skills such as emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication are vital yet difficult to measure.

Jacob Baadsgaard, CEO of Disruptive Advertising, writing for Glassdoor, explained employees can increase their value in the eyes of their employers with a simple three-step process:

  • Meet the basic expectations of the job.
  • Identify areas where you can add more value.
  • Draft and implement a strategy to exceed current expectations.

Always remember that money is at the core of this equation. Employees who cost more money relative to the benefit they bring the company are simply less likely to be retained than employees who generate more value. Broadly, years of experience are still important, but it is not the only metric by which employers calculate employee worth.

Understanding your value as an employee can be an advantage during salary negotiations.

How to articulate your worth as an employee

Job seekers can identify their employee value by thinking about how they would answer some of the most common interview questions. After all, the goal of an interview from the employer's perspective, is to determine which candidate will provide the most benefit at the best price.

For example, many interviews start off with the question, "What can you tell me about yourself?" This prompt is not an invitation to describe your life history, but rather an opportunity to show how your skills, knowledge and experience relate to the job in question. This is where you can go beyond the information that's on your resume and describe how you stand out from other candidates who may have similar educational backgrounds and work histories.

This conversation should be revisited throughout your tenure at a company. Employees who can increase their value over time should be rewarded in turn. Career Coach Lisa Quast, writing in Forbes magazine, suggested auditing your professional skills on a yearly basis. By benchmarking your skills with regularity, you can determine which areas need improvement. That could mean learning a new technology, developing soft skills, gaining additional certification or implementing a more efficient workflow.

As you develop your skills and take action to improve your value as an employee, keep a record of everything you do. This information will come in handy during your next salary review. Alternatively, if you're looking for a change, this record will help you pitch yourself throughout the hiring process.

Need help determining your worth to employers? Consider speaking with an expert recruiter today.



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