Do you feel that you deserve more pay but are not getting noticed? Does is seem like everyone around you is getting their worth at work and you're not? Sylvia Wakhisi went looking for tips on how to stand out at work.
Every career person looks forward to the day their employer will reward them. And what better reward than a pay rise!
However, before your boss thinks of adding a couple of shillings to your salary, there are certain things that you need to do to convince them that you really deserve to be paid more.
Rahab Mungai, a marketing executive with a local milling company had been on her probation salary of Sh15,000 for two years.
When she finally got her letter of appointment, the only thing that had been added on top of her salary was house allowance of about Sh4,500 and lunch allowance of Sh600.
Rahab couldn’t take it any more considering that some of her colleagues were being paid way above her gross salary. So she decided to persistently talk to her manager on increasing her salary.
“I started negotiating with my boss but he kept on telling me to hold on. Unfortunately, he left the position before he had fulfilled what he told me. After a few months, I had to plead my case with a new manager who came on board,” says Rahab.
Her persistence somewhat paid off when her salary was increased to Sh30,000.
“I was anticipating more than that, not for the sake of just wanting lots of money, but because I believe my work output was way above some of my colleagues who were easily awarded huge salary increaments without much discussion. I am still working hard and hope that my manger will notice my output and reward me the way I deserve,” she says.
Just like Rahab, many other employees find themselves in such a predicament. They want to be paid more but it just doesn’t come easy. You have to prove that you deserve it.
There are specific actions an employee can take to impress their superiors-and take home a bigger paycheck.
Here are some tips that will help you become – or remain – a valued employee.
1. Develop your brand
Joseph Karamoja, Lead Consultant, Image Savvy Africa says the employee who takes personal branding seriously will easily earn the attention of his or her boss.
“As an employee, you need to harness the power of personal branding. Package yourself in such a way that you remain outstanding,” says Karamoja.
“This can be done by adopting particular characteristics such as addressing the clients in a proper manner, reporting to work on time, interacting well with the rest of your colleagues or even dressing sharper. You will easily be noticed by the boss,” he says.
2. Be solution-oriented
Lucy Gacheru, a talent search specialist advises that every employee should be someone who offers solutions that can assist in running the company, and not just one who always poses questions and problems to his or her superiors or panics whenever something is not going right.
“If there is a problem at work, an employee should be able to offer solutions other than expect the boss to always intervene. They should have two to three ideas or solutions to mitigate the problem,” she says.
3. Work on your personal development
As an employee, you need to pursue personal growth first by expanding self-awareness and knowledge and improving your personal skills. You need to aim to get better than you already are and this will in turn help in your career growth.
Jeff Nthiwa a life coach and motivational speaker says we are paid for bringing value to the market through the various jobs we hold. But we need to work on ourselves first if we are to achieve much at the workplace.
“Re-examine yourself and establish whether you have a skill or talent that can add value to your work,” says Nthiwa. “Work on that skill and sooner than later, the boss will notice and view you as someone who is undergoing positive growth.”
4. Have a clear understanding of the business
Many employees have no in-depth understanding of what their business is all about.
According to Gacheru, as an employee, you need to know what the company does, what it stands for and how it impacts the society.
“You cannot be fully impactful in a company if you have no knowledge of what it does. It is important that you understand your company’s business, she says.
5. Cultivate a sense of purpose at the workplace.
Studies have shown that when people are contributing to a higher purpose, they are likely to have a healthier outlook on life and be more resilient to stress. The same is true of the workplace.
“We work to ensure that at the end of the month, we have to be pay the bills, but money should not just be the overall purpose. We should strive to present our abilities and show the world what we are capable of doing the best way possible,” says Pauline Mutua, a life coach.
“This will, in turn, win the hearts of any employer as they will feel their employees are putting the much energy needed to scale the heights of the organisation,” she says.
6. Stand out from the rest
Karamoja says if you are a team in a department at your workplace and you are all tasked with the same roles, you can strive to differentiate yourself from the rest.
“For example, in the case where there are six relationship managers in a bank, one can always stand out from the rest by dressing better, being organised, having better team work with his or her colleagues and going beyond their role. These are tickets to making your boss realise that you are much more valuable,” says Karamoja.
7. Expand your responsibilities
It may feel like another burden added on to your already crazy schedule but it shouldn’t, says Evans Obiero, a human resource consultant.
Obiero says it is important to gradually expand your responsibilities whenever an opportunity presents itself.
“There could be a gap in the office, a position that needs to be filled. As the management works round the clock to look for someone to take up that position, you can volunteer to take up some of that work and this is likely to position you as a team player and someone who has the interests of the company at heart. This will make you valuable to the organisation and the boss may not want to let you go,” he says.
Vellah Aoko, an accountant concurs that this worked for her. She strives to give her best in the duties assigned to her and even going an extra mile when necessary.
“I work in a hotel with two branches, one in Nairobi and the other in Garissa. My base is in Nairobi but many are the times I have been called upon by my boss to make monthly trips to Garissa so as to assist with the finance related work,” says Aoko.
“As a wife and mother of two, I have had to make that sacrifice to be away from them for some time but I am happy it paid off since my boss noticed my commitment and gave me a salary increase. Plus I love what I do,” she says.
8. Time management
Time is a key factor in the workplace. Gacheru says an employee who strives to keep time greatly contributes to the success of a company.
“If you show up late for meetings or you are generally not a good time manager, you do not contribute to the bottom line of the company and your commitment to your job is questionable,” she says.
9. Be straightforward and negotiate
Gacheru concludes by saying that it is paramount that an employee communicates with his or her employer on their professional worth directly.
She advises that it is strategic to sit down and evaluate your skill-set, experience, technical competency and have a general feel on the market rates before negotiating with your boss.
“Be very strategic, objective and tactful on how you communicate your worth,” she says.
She goes on to add that knowing what your experience is, your academic qualifications and the skills that you possess are some of the factors that will help you evaluate your professional worth wholesomely.
Her sentiments are echoed by career columnist Tania Ngima who is a strategy and finance specialist.
“Negotiation is a difficult process when you do not have the information and data you need to reinforce your position. Be prepared both in terms of the industry or market benchmarks as well as the ins and outs of the organisation. This will reinforce your value,” she says.
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