There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the work environment – and for many, the changes are permanent. As the work environment continues to evolve, we are seeing less employee visibility and fewer traditional career paths for promotion and advancement. Furthermore, there is a growing pressure on employees to carve out their own paths, plus take the initiative to stand out, in new and creative ways.
Michelle Coussens covered this very topic in great detail during one of our workshops, “Getting Ahead: Increase Your Visibility in the New Work Environment”.
- Research shows that companies with more women than men in leadership positions thrive, but women are still being overlooked, and this has only become worse with the new landscape.
- Since 2020, women are 12% less likely to ask for raises and advancement opportunities. And while women are more likely to advocate for flexibility – this often leaves them less visible, resulting in less opportunities and chances for advancement. What does that mean for women in the new work environment? It is essential that you take the initiative and advocate for yourself and your career, more now than ever.
Additionally, Michelle offered tips for taking initiative in your own career, and provided guidance for increasing both your visibility as well as value – even if you’re working remotely:
Become a Thought Leader
- Continue your education and never let yourself fall behind in your area of expertise.
- You’re no longer just expected to be the best in the area or in the company. You must also consider the increase of competition in the virtual world.
- Plan to speak up and add value in every meeting.
- Make sure that people know who you are and what you bring to the organization, at every opportunity.
- Support and recognize your colleagues, offering to assist them whenever possible.
- You want others to feel like you are someone they can trust and rely on in times of need. People will recognize your value and reach out to you more often.
Know and Leverage Your Strengths
- Women often feel uncomfortable discussing their achievements and do not want to come off as “bragging.”
- Keep track of things you do well, especially things you do even better than anyone else in the organization.
- Make sure to use – and talk about – your strengths often.
- Track your accomplishments in the organization and bring these up – especially in negotiations!
- Think about how you can quantify your value on paper and consistently keep track of these qualities.
- Did the work you do save the company a certain amount of money?
- Did you increase your role’s productivity by a certain percentage?
- How many projects or initiatives were you or your team able to complete in a certain time limit?
- Own your personality and individuality.
- Remember, people are buying into YOU.
- Ask people to invest in the things you do – talk about articles you’ve written, programs or organizations you’ve been a part of, or anything that displays your presence.
Assume Someone is Watching
- Be aware of your behavior as well as attitude, every day, and in everything you do. It can be easy in the virtual world to feel like no one is paying attention.
- Assume someone is always watching and take pride in the work you do, even in “solitude.”
Network With Others
- Now more than ever, networking and relationship building is key to being visible.
- Make a daily effort to build and maintain trust and professional relationships within your teams.
- Participate in networking groups outside of work, to increase your visibility on a wider scale.
- Take advantage of the virtual space.
- You don’t always have to meet for coffee, you can email, call, text, chat online, etc. However, don’t get lazy in the virtual space – make every interaction, large or small, meaningful.
- Follow up often and be sincere.
- People are craving genuine and meaningful relationships in an age where face-to-face interaction may be sparce. Making time for people and really getting to know them can make all the difference.
- Take on new projects whenever possible.
- Assess the added value that comes from the projects you take on – make sure you take on projects that make an impact instead of constantly taking on “housekeeping” opportunities.
- Get creative – you may want to consider coming up with new ideas for projects and offer to take on the responsibility of getting those new initiatives off the ground.
- Look for problem areas that can be improved upon within the organization – bring these issues up to leadership and develop ideas to increase efficiency.
- Think about continued efforts for autonomy, shifting workforce populations, and the growing influence plus impact of technology.
- As automation increases, soft skills (emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, communication, leadership skills, etc.) increase in value and importance.
- Make the effort to work on these skills now to increase your personal value!
These are steps you can start taking today to increase your visibility within your organization, even if you’re not as physically visible these days. The importance of leveraging your strengths and accomplishments, plus making your value known, is greater than ever.
This article only scratches the surface of Michelle’s wonderful insights into this changing work landscape, and how we can navigate through it. You can catch the workshop in its entirety here: “Getting Ahead: Increase Your Visibility in the New Work Environment.” Check it out now!