Many workplaces have been downsizing over the last few years, which makes job security a primary concern for those still employed — even independent contractors like real estate agents.
Few people in an organization can be sure that their jobs are completely secure. However, in every workplace, there are always employees who have distinguished themselves as completely indispensable members of a team — productivity would take a nosedive if they were not around.
Indispensability is not the exclusive forte of senior managers; anybody at any level can make himself or herself indispensable to an organization.
It means that your supervisor and colleagues come to rely on you so much that they believe overall productivity would be adversely affected in your absence.
In their minds, your presence makes a significant contribution to the success of the department or organization. You are necessary and valued. People depend on you.
Possessing skills that no one on the team has, being in a job position unique to the organization or having specific knowledge that no one else knows can put your value on that level.
Indispensable does not mean irreplaceable; it’s about being so efficient and useful that your team members wouldn’t dream of replacing you.
At whatever job you have, strive to make yourself indispensable by taking pride in your job and performing your best.
Not only does it improve job security, it validates you and improves your morale and job satisfaction; you feel like a valued member of the team with people relying on your positive contribution.
Other benefits of indispensability are that raises and promotions are easier to come by because you can leverage yourself.
Your opinion may be sought after in important firm undertakings, bringing you before greater minds that could open up better opportunities for you.
Here are a few ways to accomplish that:
1. Do what’s important, not easy
Many employees focus on finding tasks that are easy just to keep busy and pass time while keeping the boss off their necks.
However, indispensability demands that you go deeper and find tasks that actually matter to the organization’s success and handle those first and continually, even if they are more difficult.
2. Gain skill monopoly
Determine some important tasks within the organization and ensure that you’re the only one who knows how it’s done.
Such opportunities come by when a person with unique skills (or market niche) leaves the organization and you can fill in, or when a new section/project is initiated that requires talent that the company had no need for before.
3. Do extra
This is not about “sucking up” to the boss and making your colleagues look bad.
However, if you can afford the time, give more than what is expected, which goes a long way toward making you invaluable.
Managers tend to be under lots of pressure, and having able, reliable assistance in this regard can greatly improve their productivity and your standing in their eyes.
Be one of those employees who provides new, actionable solutions to recurrent problems, volunteers to take on new responsibilities outside your job description and is available at crucial moments.
Take on work that all the other employees are shirking.
4. Be the best at your job
If you cannot be unique, then be the best. Being the top performer will make you stand out from the brood.
This means that if there’s an opportunity requiring one or two of those with your job description, you’re more likely to get the selection.
Go above and beyond the expectations for someone in your position, and establish yourself as an expert and the go-to person.
5. Keep learning
If you have even an hour of time to spare (and you must,) dedicate it to learning so that you can continually improve your performance.
Is there a task that’s been biting at your department for eons? Learn how you might solve it in your spare time and be first to address it.
Take advantage of training opportunities that present themselves and build your knowledge base by reading widely.
Be proactive in seizing moments that offer you a chance to improve yourself, and make valuable connections by impressing the right people with your mastery.
6. Get new skills
Find ways to diversify your skill set. Find people outside your team who need assistance and offer to be there.
As you assist, pay attention to what they’re doing and learn the basics of it. Ask many questions; chances are, they’ll be happy to answer, now that you volunteered to do something outside your job for them.
Seek opportunities within the organization that can help you apply those skills because you never know where opportunities may come from down the line.
7. Be present
Don’t be the person who’s always got someplace else to be when situations arise that require extra input.
Be the person who steps up to assist when everyone else can’t. It could be unpaid internship, volunteer work with charitable organizations or traveling for work to lackluster places.
This will give you more opportunities to network, as well as apply your range of skills.
If you’re still searching for a job, it could demonstrate that you’re potentially hirable.
8. Offer solutions
Be innovative and open-minded, especially with problem-solving.
Don’t be one of the 46 percent of employees that research shows would rather be anywhere else doing anything else but attending work meetings.
Show your team that you can be counted on to provide solutions.
Apply your knowledge and skills, and take time to research any current problems that are outside your skills. Anticipate any problems that could arise, and find ways to circumvent them.
Sujain Thomas is a data IT professional for Remotedba. She is a qualified financial planner and advisor with expertise in all matters relating to credit and national debt relief. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.