What Am I Worth?

At a time when companies are measuring every business initiative against how it affects the bottom line, do you know what your contributions are worth as an employee? Being able to determine your worth will not only help you leverage monetary compensation but also provide you with better self-awareness about your role within your company.

Goals for employees that operate in sales or marketing are very often numerically measured. For those who work in soft or nonrevenue-generating departments, it can be difficult to determine or measure value. But, it is up to employees to find areas where they can make an impact says Marlon Cousin, managing partner for The Marquin Group, an executive recruiting firm in Atlanta. “For every soft position, there is an opportunity to create value through efficiencies in productivity–that is finding mechanisms that save time, money, and enhance productivity.” Cousin suggests that there are two strong markers that can help an employee make such a determination:

Cost-saving. Cousin once consulted for a large organization that incurred huge travel costs, on average, less than seven days out. He was able to save the company 50% on costs by hiring additional employees who were responsible for scheduling appointments at least two weeks in advance and developing a corporate relationship with a hotel that offered discounted rates. “It saved the company millions of dollars at the end of the year.”

Sustainable contributions. “You don’t always have to quantify your value,” Cousin explains. “You can create something in your area or department that, when you’re gone, is still in place. It has to be sustainable and it has to add value.” Through sustainable contributions you can get significant recognition in your organization.

“I have a radical suggestion for somebody trying to figure out how much their contributions are worth to their [organization],” says Marc Cenedella, president and CEO of TheLadders.com, “Ask your boss.”

Cenedella contends that the level of conversation between staff and management about meeting the goals of a company is surprisingly low.

“I think it’s really ultimately part of the boss’ job to explain to people how their contributions in the work place matter to the person’s themselves, to their boss, to their group, to their company, to society as a whole. But if your boss hasn’t done that, ask.”

“If you don’t understand how your highly valued skills do or don’t play into the company’s goals then you are really selling yourself short,” he continues. “In any human relationship, it’s really about ‘what am I capable of and what does this relationship need?’ And that’s exactly what a working relationship is.”

Fully understanding the immediate and directional goals of the company are most important for planning any kind of strategic success stresses Rob Monroe, vice president of marketing for 3rd Edge Communications, a creative services agency in Jersey City, New Jersey. But you also have to think beyond your role in the company. “You also need to exercise vision,” Monroe explains. “Employees often don’t have any vision for their role in a company beyond their