“It’s not about the money. It’s about the satisfaction of the work itself.” I’ve heard many women say this and while I think they genuinely believe it, I really don’t. I don’t believe that satisfaction can be enough to ignore rewards – not unless you work for Medicin Sans Frontiers. While the psychological dynamics behind this are very complex, the result is this compelling and uniquely feminine narrative, subconsciously constructed to avoid confronting two things. Firstly, to avoid the fact that they may not be being rewarded and recognised properly for the work they do, and, secondly to avoid confronting the often deeply uncomfortable prospect of asking for more.
You may be more comfortable with wanting a balance of job satisfaction and tangible rewards, however, you may still be under-valuing yourself. So, here’s a simple question to find out. Do you find it hard to write the parts of your CV or professional profile (such as on LinkedIn) that demonstrate your skills and achievements? If the answer is ‘yes’, read on.
When you reach a good understanding of your worth, the benefits of pursuing the right rewards and recognition can be significant both materially and psychologically. Material rewards can range from the obvious pay and promotion; to enhanced support (mentoring and sponsorship); to leadership or involvement in special projects and assignments; to higher profile and more exciting responsibilities; and, to investment in your training and development. Psychologically, there’s an immediate benefit to self esteem from securing even the smallest positive outcome, but crucially, this can be the catalyst for longer-term and larger-scale benefits. And that’s because feeling that high of securing something you want for yourself combined with experiencing how much easier it actually was in reality, spurs you on to secure your next goal with its associated boost to self-esteem and self confidence, making future pitches easier and easier.
Your ‘worth’ sounds like a very nebulous concept, but it’s simply the value you deliver and have the potential to deliver. Think of your worth as a portfolio of measures that represent your value to your organisation.
In the four steps below I’ll explain how to make a fast start in gaining an understanding of the value you deliver to help make the task of asking for what you deserve much easier.
Step 1: Start with the big picture by identifying the things your organisation has to do (and do well) to prosper. If that’s tough, trying turning that around by asking what things would cause it to fail if they weren’t done or weren’t done well enough. How do these things relate to your part of the organsation and what you do? Now, step back and imagine what wouldn’t happen if you weren’t around? What would be the impact to the things that matter most and what would be the ‘cost’ – that could be financial; reputational; it could be impact people in the organisation or external stakeholders such as customer or clients; perhaps processes would break down; perhaps critical time would be lost. Now, given these costs aren’t incurred because you are there doing what you do and the way you do it, these measure actually represent your strategic value.
Step 2. This is about building an understanding of what value your work represents to your stakeholders (the people who benefit from what you do). Start by identifying who these stakeholders are (both internally and externally) and then identify what matters to them about what you do and why it matters. What would happen to their performance if you didn’t do what you do? Look closely at what that means to your line manager and hers/his line manager – what kudos, rewards, or profile do they get? What KPIs do they hit because of your work? What headaches and hassles don’t they have? If you struggle with working this out you could always ask them!
Step 3. Now you are down to more immediate measures of your value typically driven by your job description and annual objectives. When you look at these you can then see how they feed upwards into the values that you’ve identified in the first two stages.
Step 4. This is most relevant when you’re pitching for a pay rise, a bonus or going for a new role or job and it’s as about identifying how much you could secure if you worked elsewhere. What pay and rewards do other people doing your type of role at your level enjoy? It’s never been easier to find this out.
That’s it. If you follow these steps you’ll have a powerful and compelling picture of your worth and a strong case when you put yourself forward for opportunities and rewards that should be yours. Hopefully, you’ll be as convinced as others will be that you are right for them.
Now you just have to ask. Start small to build up your confidence and to get the ball rolling.
Get in touch if you you’d like to explore how fast-track your progress.
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