How Much Are You Worth To An Employer

Whether you are an individual employee, contractor, department or a stock owned company at some point you need to answer the question – How Much Are You Worth? The challenge isn’t necessarily to get the number correct, as it is to living up to the expectations.

Someone that is applying for a job usually will need to negotiate their salary at some point unless it is a fixed entry level position. Knowing what the market rate is and how qualified for the position the employee is determines a wide range to negotiate within. In some cases the proposal process for a contractor is very similar except the budget is a bigger part of how the proposal is formed.

Departments and companies are assessing their worth on how well they meet goals and reach their potential. Companies will often close departments that don’t perform up to expectations just like stock holders will sell their stock in companies that fail to meet earnings potential.

Some Human Resources and Training functions like to skate along believing that their role is so vital and indispensable that no matter how well or poorly they perform their world will remain untouched. And while many agree that their roles are vital and indispensable, they are subject to the same realities of performance that the internal sales group is, and will be outsource, downsized or closed if they don’t show their worth.

In one year alone I personally watched the training function in 3 banks close completely. Two others terminated their staff and reorganized under new leadership and staff. I watched two associates that where HR Managers lose their jobs and a host of others change companies for a variety of reasons. And these are only a snapshot from my limited perspective on what can happen when these functions become too comfy in their jobs.

In talking with one training manager who was asking me for a referral, I asked why the department was closed. She said that she was told that the value of having a training department was not evident, so the decision was made to cut the expense. When I asked her how she responded, she said that the decision had already been made and there was nothing she could do.

This is the roughest time to explain your worth, let alone demonstrate your worth to the company. It is also why I harp a lot about knowing not only your personal value, but how your department makes a difference in the company. Practical examples, with facts and figures should be part of all HR and Training leaders’ DNA. At any point you should be able to prove your worth, your value and how having your function makes money or saves money.

One of the easiest and yet most overlooked way to communicate value is with an annual strategic work plan. What is on the task list for HR & Training this year, and why? Not only should there be a comprehensive look at the projects that span out over the calendar year, there should be a matching of each project to a strategic reason that aligns with a business need.

Yet even though a month of the New Year has passed, the averages tell me that fewer than 25% of you are working off an HR or Training plan. January has passed and very few of you have probably documented the worth of your function in the first month. To a bottom line company, especially a bank, 1/12 of the annual budget has been spent for operating costs and every department should be able to provide a monthly value proposition. By the end of the year, each department should be able to account for not only their value, by the financial worth of keeping them into the next year.

Another challenge that HR and Training often face is that their jobs are not evaluated from the departmental function like an audit of a branch, or the accounting function. In many companies, HR and Training have never been reviewed, so there are some really cool things happening that go completely unnoticed along with some stuff that should have stopped or at least been revised years ago.

There are plenty of HR and Training Consultants that can conduct both mini and comprehensive audits, and they create well documented findings reports that point out both problem areas, and potential Oscar Awards.

The training function according to several sources is making a comeback, and I want to encourage all of you to kick things into high gear and work hard to maintain your value. Document your value by knowing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats before it is too late to react. Knowing what you are worth is so much more than your compensation.