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Nine ways to wow your workplace

When you're starting your career it can be difficult enough discovering what’s required of you, let alone trying to exceed expectations.

So you’ve been flying under the radar at work and think it’s time to show your true value to the boss.

You’re not a big-noter, though, and your next performance review is months away. There are smart and understated ways to promote your strengths and build your achievements without being seen as a blatant self-promoter, according to Leonie Green, a human resources and coaching expert at the Corvus Group. Here are her tips.

1. Make sure you’re listening

Green says with the stress of work many people forget to stop and listen. Truly listening to leaders and managers gives you clarity about the goals of the organisation – and what your bosses want! This knowledge gives you a chance to respond and be invaluable.

While listening is great, at the same time employees must be able to find their voice.

“There’s no point standing back completely because, in fact, you’re listening in order to be able to contribute wisely and appropriately,” says Green.

2. Know your role

Sure, you have a job title, but many employees are still not sure about the exact nature of their duties. Green says many younger workers in particular lament not knowing their key performance indicators (KPIs).

“It becomes a problem for individuals if they don’t have a clear picture of what they’re there to do,” she says.

Seeking clarity from a senior makes sense, but Green says opportunities can be lost if a person waits and waits for certainty about their job. Instead, assess the vision of the organisation, evaluate your skills and strengths and see where they align with the goals of the business. Then start doing.

3. Set your own KPIs

In the absence of clear KPIs, draft your own and work out how you can deliver them. In short, be a self-starter.

“That’s ultimately going to be a great story to tell when you go into a performance review,” Green says.

4. Make yourself accountable

Don’t always expect that someone else in the organisation is going to track your performance and check if you are meeting your KPIs. Take it upon yourself to ensure you are meeting expectations and achieving your goals. As Green observes, bosses love proactive staff.

Assess the vision of the organisation, evaluate your skills and strengths and see where they align with the goals of the business. Then start doing.

5. Understand your personal strengths

Getting clarity around your strengths – and weaknesses – builds self-awareness and helps you add value in the workforce. Appreciate, too, that these strengths will “ebb and flow”.

“This is a career and lifelong journey,” Green says.

6. Prepare for your performance review

Some organisations have a very structured fill-out-this-document approach to performance reviews, but Green advises trying to stand out from the pack. Go into the meeting with a list of your achievements. Be able to demonstrate what makes you a high contributor to the team. Outline your goals for the next year.

7. Find ‘quieter’ ways to highlight your achievements

Bosses are busy and may overlook your good work. So let them know … subtly. Perhaps send an email to a manager saying you’re pleased with your progress on A, B and C – and these are the results. Or send the same message on to a colleague, who may then sing your praises at a meeting.

At the same time, Green says it is important to critically think about how you celebrate other people’s successes.

“If you feel like your own progress or achievements are not being recognised then think about how you recognise the achievements of others – because you may then have that come back to you in kind as well.”

8. Don’t keep banging your head up against the wall

Sadly, some managers will never appreciate your hard work.

“Don’t use up too much energy trying to get through to those people who are not seeing or hearing your value,” Green advises. Rather, shift your focus to others in the organisation who may be more receptive. If you keep doing things your seniors value, your work should ultimately be acknowledged.

9. Be easy to work with

Last … but not least. Helping others out in the workplace often results in return favours.

“There is a whole lot to be said for pleasantries and being considerate of others!”

Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (Colonial First State) is the issuer of the FirstChoice range of super and pension products from the Colonial First State FirstChoice Superannuation Trust ABN 26 458 298 557. Colonial First State also issues interests in products made available under FirstChoice Investments and FirstChoice Wholesale Investments. This document may include general advice but does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG) carefully, assess whether the information is appropriate for you, and consider talking to a financial adviser before making an investment decision. The PDS and FSG can be obtained from or by calling us on 13 13 36.