Do you ever find yourself wishing your employer was more willing to invest in you?
In 2014, a Tinypulse employee engagement report showed that only 21% of employees feel strongly valued at work.
Typically, your personal opinion of your value at work is comprised of two components:
Although employers seem to be behind the 8-ball when it comes to recognizing performance, it has been becoming more of a focus of many companies in recent years.
End all the finger pointing
As an employee, it’s easy to point the finger at your employer and say, “They just don’t get it.” What you don’t want to admit is that they are often justified in saying the same thing about you.
I speak with business owners quite frequently about the challenges they have managing Millennials in the workforce.
And before you think I’m picking on all Millennials, I have written several articles criticizing leaders for blaming this younger generation for all of their problems.
Leaders certainly have to look inward in order to manage employees who may see the world differently than they do. Good leaders adapt to remain effective.
But in this article, I’m going to need to give you, and all Millennials, some tough love.
Business owners share frustrations
The business owners I spoke with shared a few frustrations that I felt were relevant. First and foremost:
Their employees have made it very clear that Millennials aspire for advancement.
They want raises and better titles quicker than ever before, and they are pretty good at making those desires known.
But the bold behavior is not enough
I commend Millennials for being bold. They have been told from the very beginning, “If you want something, you have to go and get it.” It’s a very important piece of the puzzle.
But they’re missing the most important piece of the puzzle.
Everyone needs to earn that additional title or additional pay.
Showing up, sometimes on time, doing your job, and ensuring you’re the first one out of the office at the end of the day is not a recipe for a raise or a promotion.
Simply existing and breathing company air does not earn you more money or recognition.
Recognition and raises are reserved for those who do something special and increase their value to the company.
Here is a common costly mindset
Your employers need to see that you can handle more than an entry-level job if you want to advance. And many of them offer opportunities to take on an additional responsibility such as:
- Serve on a committee in the company.
- Head up a new initiative/project outside of your scope.
The problem is that instead of seeing additional responsibilities as an opportunity, many reject the idea of doing more for an employer without being compensated immediately for it.
If you’re doing extra work, you’re damn well going to get paid for it, right? Think again.
Those of you with that mindset are costing yourselves far more than what you would gain in the short-term. What a fantastic opportunity to add value.
That’s the key! Add value.
Avoid unrealistic expectations
If you continue to do the bare minimum inside your contained job description, why should the employer offer an opportunity to advance? Why should he or she pay you more?
I have bad news for you. They shouldn’t. In fact, you’re lucky if you get a raise at all. Stop basing your efforts on the expectation of a short-term payoff.
If you take on extra responsibility at your company, the worst-case scenario is that it goes unnoticed, unappreciated, and uncompensated.
But in this unlikely instance, you now have the excellent experience to add to your resume that will help you get a job with a company who appreciates employees that go the extra mile.
Whether it pays off at your current company or the next one, it will pay off!
Here’s an idea for you
If you’re currently feeling undervalued, go to your supervisor and request more responsibilities.
Make it clear that you are doing this to show your capabilities to handle new challenges, and that you hope to advance as a result.
It may happen next month or next year, but when that position to which you have been aspiring opens up, how much better of a chance do you think you have of getting it, compared to before?
Think about that. In this day and age, how many people do you think have ever come up to that supervisor and made that request?
One small note
Make sure it is abundantly clear why you are taking on additional responsibilities.
And furthermore, make sure the additional responsibilities are going to contribute to your growth and development.
This isn’t just more work for the sake of more work.
Finally getting more in your professional career
Like it or not, to get more in your professional career, you have to show that you can do more. You have to set yourself apart from your peers.
In a day when most people have a solid understanding in the importance of their personal brand on social media, it’s amazing that they don’t think the same way about their brand as an employee within their own company.
You may think I’m wrong. But there’s really only one way to find out. Give it a try!