We can group employees into three when it comes to earning. First is the group of those that earn equivalent to their value. The second group comprises those employees that earn more than they actually deserve. The third group is for those employees that earn less than they deserve, less than their value. Today, we will discuss how you can personally reflect on the question of whether you earn equivalent to your value.
First determine which of the three groups described above you belong to. You can do this simply by benchmarking yourself against people with similar qualifications, experience and skills. It is important for everyone to periodically scan the market and do comparative analysis with some benchmark group. After all, we know that HR Departments of all serious companies do this for their staff. Typically, an HR Department will select a group of between four and six companies that they compare salaries with every year. They use these comparisons to configure salary scales for their staff. Typically, they will have a policy that guides them whether to pay in the top 25 percent of this benchmark group or at average level or bottom 25 percent and so on.
Similarly, you need to have some three or five people that you can benchmark against to see if you are in range. These will be people you are very comfortable with and you really trust that you can exchange confidential notes. It is not a simple exercise. There is another way you can do this. When I was working at Shell Oil, I had a mentor who told me to once in a while – at least every two years – test the waters. She said it is important to once in a while apply for jobs and get offers to compare with your current package because a few offers will determine your market value. Only do this if you are comfortable with it. I personally don’t like to try out jobs for the sake of testing the waters. When I make a bid, it means I am determined to move. I will bid, grab it and go!
If you belong to the first group where you earn equal to your value, then your main task is to focus on rapidly and aggressively developing your value so that you can earn more tomorrow. You need to ensure that your value grows with time. Every passing year, you should be worth more than the past year. This does not come by chance. You have to sweat for it. You have to learn new skills and gather more experience every year. Broaden your experience and deepen your knowledge to increase your value. Attend key professional development courses but also focus on learning on the job skills.
If you be belong to the second group – employees that earn more than their value, you need to work at closing the gap quickly because you are not in a sustainable position. With the ticking time, you can be demoted or even completely lose your employment. You cannot continue to earn what does not belong to you for too long. Work hard to quickly close the gap by raising your level of knowledge and skills. You need to identify the key competences that you are missing which you need to close first and quickly. Do not leave it to chance only. Work on it.
If you belong to the third group of employees who earn less than they deserve, you need to work at solving the problem so that your earnings catch up with your skill level and experience. You need to have serious discussions with your superiors and HR teams. Only initiate the discussions when you have a serious case to raise and prove. Once you exhaust all internal options, you may need to search external opportunities – jobs are a free market subjected to forces of demand and supply. You are not doing charity, unless you define yourself as a volunteer or if you are doing work for God like church ministers.
Good luck as you reflect on the balance between your value and what you earn! n