Christine Wright of Hays US shares her tips for highlighting your value and maintaining your visibility at work in a newly remote world.
If you’re currently in full-time employment, the change and uncertainty that has come hand-in-hand with the Covid-19 pandemic may have understandably left you with a feeling that you need to somehow prove yourself as indispensable.
This raises the crucial question: how can you prove your value in your current business and in your present role, without burning yourself out in the process?
1. Show how you personally add value
Proactively ask your manager or a member of the senior leadership team how the strategic objectives of the business may be changing, how your current role may evolve and, importantly, how you can personally prepare for that evolution.
If they are unsure, you could perhaps suggest that you work together to craft your role so that it is as relevant to the post-Covid era of work as possible. It’s also a good idea to understand how value might be measured in the future.
By taking a pre-emptive and creative approach here, you’ll be demonstrating to your employer that you are adaptable and will bring a growth mindset to the inevitable challenges and opportunities that are around the corner as we embark on the next era of work.
2. Demonstrate your commitment
Demonstrate your personal commitment to learning and establish yourself as an expert. Once you have an understanding of the current and future direction for your organisation, ask yourself how you can apply your unique strengths, skills and competencies to help it thrive. Think about how you can further build on those to establish yourself as the go-to expert in a given area.
In addition, develop an understanding of the new skills you may need to acquire in order to play a meaningful part in helping your organisation solve problems on the horizon. Commit to your learning journey and remember to communicate and document your learning as you go by updating your manager, your CV and your LinkedIn profile.
3. Perfect your remote working etiquette
You are more than likely working virtually right now rather than face-to-face, but that doesn’t mean your standards of etiquette should slip. It’s still possible to practise perfectly good meeting etiquette via video.
You should also strive to perfect your remote work ethic, doing everything that you can to remain productive and on track with key tasks and projects. Note, too, what your triggers are that may divert your attention from your work, so that you can devise a new routine and healthier habits to ensure your engagement and output.
4. Maintain your visibility remotely
As we transition to what is likely to be a more hybrid era of work, you may find it more difficult to increase your visibility in the workplace. You may not be physically in the office as often, interacting face-to-face at the same level and building relationships in the same way as you once were.
It will therefore be especially vital to routinely communicate with your manager and colleagues about the specific projects you’re working on, but also about successes and milestones achieved, including any feedback you’ve had from your key stakeholders.
When it comes to improving your visibility with your boss, don’t be afraid of a little self-promotion. You must get comfortable speaking out about your successes and achievements. You may also choose to send your manager a weekly summary outlining all the tasks that you have completed and the results generated to date.
When you do so, draw attention to the tangible results as evidence of the impact you have made. It may also be a good idea to proactively schedule regular catch-up meetings, if they aren’t in the diary already.
5. Build and strengthen relationships with key internal influencers
Identify the people within your organisation who have previously been an ally for your career development. Consider asking them to be your mentor or for their thoughts on how the organisation is likely to change in the future, and how they recommend you go about adapting.
In return, go the extra mile to help them whenever you can, crediting them for their work and thanking them for their help. Also, don’t hesitate to network within your business, including introducing yourself to new starters and positioning yourself as their ally from the outset, even if only remotely.
6. Understand how performance will be assessed
As many organisations change both where they work and how they work, traditional performance metrics and targets may need to be refreshed. It’s crucial to grasp an understanding of this at an early stage so that you can work towards the latest metrics and targets.
Understanding what future performance metrics will be will also allow you to determine whether you are doing a good job and in which areas you may need to make improvements.
7. Don’t try to be a solo superstar
You may be working well as part of a hybrid-office arrangement or even completely remotely, but you must never forget that, ultimately, you are part of a wider team. So, it’s important that you remind yourself of that; always have your collective end-goal in the back of your mind.
8. Learn to say ‘no’
Proving your value in your current role is not about saying ‘yes’ to every project that comes your way. As you progress through your career and you start to get noticed, new projects will naturally start coming to you.
To strategically manage your career, though, and to build on the success you’ve achieved so far, it’s important that you realise that you simply can’t do everything yourself, and you certainly won’t be able to please everyone.
If you’re able to consider each task requested and say ‘no’ in the right way and to the right requests, you’ll gain respect and further establish your value in the workplace.
9. Stay optimistic
While these are challenging times, a positive and optimistic attitude will help you to get through it thriving. Not only is positivity contagious within a team, it also breeds success. So, be mindful of how positive or negative the language that you use is, and practise compassion with your colleagues, including celebrating successes and supporting them to succeed.
Don’t forget to laugh and try not to gossip about your co-workers. It may also help to remind yourself of your organisation’s purpose and reason for being. That way, you can be clear in your head about how your specific role delivers value and gives you a sense of meaning, which will reinforce those positive thoughts.
It’s also good practice to set attainable goals for the day, so that you feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete them and, importantly, enjoy a reward when you do.
10. Be an ambassador for your organisation
It may seem straightforward enough to cultivate a certain culture or personality at your organisation when everyone is in the same office space, but what about when you aren’t? The longer-term transition that many organisations are currently making towards hybrid ways of working poses challenges to the time-honoured notion of camaraderie developed under one roof.
So, play your part in overcoming those challenges. Devote yourself to living your organisation’s values, internally and externally, and help to build a supportive culture within your immediate team, whereby you look out for one another.
As you do, share your positive experiences across your business’s social media channels so that you are actively broadcasting your brand’s message.
11. Strike a balance
You won’t be able to fully and effectively prove your value at your organisation if you’re working long hours and failing to prioritise your mental health and wellbeing. You’ll simply feel too exhausted to be able to continue performing at your best. So, make sure you look after yourself and establish some balance in your life.
Christine Wright is senior vice-president of Hays US. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays Viewpoint Blog.