It’s often said in business that everyone is replaceable — but that’s true only to a certain extent. Each professional brings his or her own unique set of skills, attributes and experience to the table. What helps to make someone “irreplaceable” in the eyes of an employer is ensuring all of those things remain relevant — and to 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 employee 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 value to an employer – without completely upturning your own routine or stepping on others’ toes. Here are some ideas:
Improve your “soft” skills
According to a Robert Half survey, effective communication skills (49%), strong interpersonal skills (36%) and leadership (36%) are seen as the most valuable skills for professionals to have in today’s business environment. Increasingly, employees are expected to interact with a wide range of people, both inside and outside the organisation.
Strategies for growing one’s abilities include taking a public speaking course and volunteering to take the lead on an important project.
Update technical skills and qualifications
You have obviously met your employer’s criteria when you were hired, but would that be true if you applied for your job today? As expected, almost half of those surveyed expressed that strong technical and analytical skills are valuable for today’s professionals. It’ll be good to look at current job postings to find out what companies are looking for in candidates 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 up to date with industry trends and providing access to learning opportunities.
Find ways to increase efficiencies
Improving your productivity 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 value
One way employers can retain their best talent is by offering mentoring and learning opportunities. If you’re an experienced 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 the wider economy, are constantly changing. However, there’s much you can do to make yourself the type of employee a company would regret having to let go.