While professionals with cross-cultural experience or knowledge of multiple languages often have an employment advantage, these abilities alone may not be enough to survive a downsizing. One important strategy to avoid becoming a victim of corporate layoffs is to communicate your value to management using metrics.
While many employees are uneasy about metrics, believing that numbers-based reporting can’t possibly reflect their varied and unique contributions to a company, being able to clearly define and communicate your value through metrics is crucial to career advancement. If you are already compiling metrics to present to management or peers, take a critical look at the numbers you are currently reporting. Do they accurately show your impact on the business bottom line?
If you aren’t regularly reporting the results you achieve, then it’s time to start. Metrics aren’t just important to your current position; Future employers will want to see how you contributed to your current company in quantifiable terms. By defining your value and establishing the most appropriate metrics to report, you will not only improve your job stability, but your chances for advancement in the future.
Every position, even if it is creative, service-oriented or otherwise difficult to quantify, can be related to business income or cost savings in some way. To come up with value-based metrics, review your own job in terms of the following:
- How do you contribute to the company? Think about what you bring to the organization. What are you (or your department) responsible for achieving? What are your goals and objectives?
Go beyond your day-to-day responsibilities and tasks. How are you actually contributing to the overall success of the business?
All positions within a company can somehow be tied to the bottom-line results, either by increasing revenue or decreasing expenses. Sit down and think about what you do for the company, and how this can be translated into dollars and cents (either as income or cost savings).
For example, if you are a public relations professional, you may not be selling a product, but you are contributing to the success of your company. Instead of reporting the number of successful media hits, you may want to report a metric tied to the bottom line, such as the cost of paid advertising that would be the equivalent of such media coverage.
- How do your contributions impact the bottom line? The numbers you report are more than just numbers. They should paint a clear picture of how important your job and/or department is to the company. Your metrics should show the true impact you are having on the success of your organization.
For example, as a customer service manager, you may be tracking metrics like “calls answered per representative” or “number of resolved calls.” Is this meaningful data for someone outside of your department?
- Define meaningful metrics.Re-think your data in terms of the bottom line. Using the same customer service example, what if you were to track the number of customers who called to cancel accounts, but were convinced to stay with the company? Instead of simply reporting the number of calls answered, you could show the dollar amount that these saved customers represent: X number of saved customers = $Y in sales that would otherwise have been lost.
When presented in terms of money, the importance of the numbers you report is clear. These are the kinds of meaningful metrics that you want to share!
- Visually illustrate your value. Now that you have defined more appropriate metrics for your position, it’s time to report this information to management by adding it to existing reports or replacing old reports.
When creating your new reports, don’t expect readers to interpret a wall of figures and come to their own conclusions. Show trends or increasing numbers in a visual format like a chart or graph so busy executives can see the significance of your figures at a glance.