Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Employees want to add value and feel that what they are producing is important. There’s an interesting statistic in sports called “Wins Above Replacement (WAR)” which represents the estimated (or calculated) value a player contributes and measures that number against potential replacement players. WAR is complicated and immensely interesting, but how do you define the value that your employees bring to the workplace?
Begin by thinking about a specific individual on your team. Make a list that answers the following questions:
In what ways does this person add value?
What is the difference the person makes in your life?
What is the difference they make on your team? The organization as a whole?
What do people count on this person to do?
What does the person enjoy doing? What do they dislike?
What can they teach others?
It’s important as a manager to be specific and really think about this for a few days for each person who reports to you. The list will grow as you see more ways that the person adds value.
While evaluating your team you will begin to notice additional ways each individual can add value. Skills that John has may be better suited to the tasks you used to have Julie do, and Julie might be challenged and grow more by taking on tasks from John’s role. Think about which skills you can help each team member develop that would increase their skill set and help your team.
People desire to add value in every relationship, be it professional, personal, or in their community. The best managers look for ways to enable people to add value in unique ways. Don’t try to fit square pegs in round holes.
Letting your team know you value them is one of the most important things you can do. In addition to adding value, there is a base human desire to be valued. Let your team know that what they do makes a difference. In one-on-ones, bring up specific ways that the individual added value since the last time you spoke and thank them for that contribution. Never wait for annual performance reviews, you can let people know how valuable they are at any time.
When you know your team, understand the value they add, and show them that they are valued, they become more committed, motivated, and engaged, and will look for new opportunities to add value.