How to make yourself indispensable

How to make yourself indispensable

I have had quite the number of panicked phone calls from candidates over the past month who have expressed their concern that they may be retrenched due to the economic climate. They will normally ask for advice on what they should do, and my answer is always: make yourself indispensable. Making yourself indispensable is like planting a tree, the best time to do it is 10 years ago (or whenever you started working at the company) but the next best time is today!

As a recruiter I have a behind the scenes understanding of companies’ HR functions and I will tell you a little secret. Companies normally retrench the worst performers first. Of course, not all retrenchments can be avoided but if you are indispensable to the company, they will normally do everything that they can to help you.

The burning question from all my candidates is always “how do I know if I am indispensable?” and I answer their question with more questions:

  • Are you punctual?
  • Do you take off work often?
  • Do you volunteer to help your manager regularly?
  • How long have you been at your company and why haven’t you been promoted? (not always a valid question but it’s a good indicator that the company values you if you have been promoted)
  • Do you add value to the company? (do more than just what the manager asks or tells you to do)
  • Have you achieved anything for the company that isn’t part of your job description?
  • Do you get along with everyone in the office?

Sometimes there are circumstances that are out of your control but it’s always best to avoid drama, late coming and thinking that you are just limited to the job duties written in your contract.

Every candidate thinks that they are hardworking, go the extra mile and are loyal and for these reasons I have listed measurements that I find most candidates don’t think about.

Even though you may feel that it is too late to start now I can promise you that it is never too late. Your boss is just a human being and I doubt that they are currently stress-free. Have you spoken to your boss and genuinely asked if they are okay? Probably not.  The support and assistance that you give them now will create a good impression, even if it just means that you get a raving reference from that manager if you end up leaving the company.