Doing one’s role is an expectation every organization has of an individual. There are measures to gauge the level of impact you are making and the organization recognizes that effort. Every well-meaning employee can just get by doing what they are expected to do. Doing your work and going home is possibly the right thing to do.
However, to be truly engaged, extra-role behaviors matters. Every organization wants employees who don’t just do their work but go beyond. Look around your workplace. Notice those who have enthusiastically participated recently in your social responsibility program? Recognize employees who designed and ran a training program, even when no one asked, to raise capabilities in the organization? Observed your colleagues who have taken corrective measures to prevent injuries at the workplace by pointing out blind spots in the office?
When it comes to taking hard decisions about employees, no matter the degree of effort you have exerted, what it comes down to is how much you have gone over and beyond your responsibilities. Take for instance – Jacintha who worked in the procurement team of an organization. When the time came to lay-off people due to poor performance by the company, those who had gone over and beyond their role were given a chance to try for roles within. Jacintha was one of them. Others weren’t considered. Why?
Jacintha had been continually adding value to her colleagues at work and beyond. Although she had a lot to do with shortlisting the right partners, taking the views of stakeholders, providing solutions to procurement needs that the business had, she also made the effort to create newer and better ways of working. She studied how the current system operated, polled stakeholders on their experiences, collated insights and prepared a plan to reduce the time and effort they took to raise requisitions and get their products on time. It wasn’t in her remit to do so. By understanding the pain points, getting under the skin of her ‘internal’ customers and spotting opportunities, she provide unprecedented value for the business. Not just that, realizing that the hiring team struggled with recruiting the right people, she offered to promote the jobs via her personal social media profiles and roped in her team to also participate. The hiring team noticed a spike in the number of referrals thereafter. She also participated and led charity volunteering events that benefited the community.That ‘extra’ bit made her contribution and lot stronger and made her case even more precious.
Even you can become a valued contributor if you can go beyond what you are expected to do.
1. Take active interest and action: Discuss what the organization does to build market share and to build internal credibility. Raise your hand when it comes to signing up on new initiatives that impact the business.
2. Assess where you stand: Asking questions will help clarify your role and responsibility. Often, you may not need to be owning the entire initiative but you can contribute to a segment. It is also not expected that you stretch yourself thin and are unable to meet your ongoing commitments. By collaborating with others you also gain newer perspectives that will help you grow personally and professionally.
3. Prepare a plan and present your best self: To give your best you need to work with a plan. It can either me something you make a mental note of – but that is a lot harder to measure. Or, you can pen it down, get views from people and then formalize it in your daily life at work. Simple actions like volunteering to conduct sessions for employees in areas you are an expert at, goes a long way.
The opportunities to pitch in are many. It depends on how much you want to do and how inspired you are to contribute. Look around you and if you ask the right questions, audit your current ways of engagement or seek ways to enhance the work environment. There is a lot in everyone’s capacity and ambit, to be a valued employee and advocate.
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