Friday, April 16, 2010

Adding Value as an Employee

I am in the middle of interviewing wine industry executives who have made the career move from winemaking to management. I am putting together a presentation for Women for Winesense's Winemaker's Roundtable coming up in May. A common theme I am coming across when talking to these executives is the idea of making yourself indispensable. Some managers have learned that by getting involved in many different areas within a winery you learn a lot, discover areas you can contribute to, and when needed you can fill in in many different areas--sometimes that just happens to be in upper level management positions.

I have also been working with a lot of consultants recently who provide their expertise to companies that are starting-up new operations, revamping companies or turning around troubled enterprises. Consultants tend to be multi-taskers, and experts in their field. Something that I'm hearing a lot is that while they may be an expert in sales, they also can help with administrative development or financial reporting, or similar disciplines. I think the successful consultants are quick to point out other areas they can help their clients in, making them indispensable as well.

So, after talking to these industry experts, I have also been talking with many job seekers with several years of experience under their belts. While they may be very skilled at what they do, I am hearing many of them say what else they can offer. Some winemakers have mentioned their sales savvy and direct to consumer activities. Some sales people have made sure I understand that they have been working with luxury goods companies on movie and television product placement programs. And many wine professionals demonstrate their wine education and hospitality savvy.

Perhaps, in a down economy the need for adding value to your current or future employer is more important than ever. So think about what you can offer. Do you have tasting room experience, hospitality industry knowledge, cross-selling experience, wine education certification, a lengthy list of buyers who will go with you anywhere, or exceptional people skills. Let people know, and then deliver these skills whenever and wherever they are needed.