Does employee loyalty hurt your brand and career? by Roz Usheroff
“Women who initiated such conversations and changed jobs post MBA experienced slower compensation growth than the women who stayed put. For men, on the other hand, it paid off to change jobs and negotiate for higher salaries—they earned more than men who stayed did.” – The Myth of the Ideal Worker
In reading the above excerpt from a study that was reported in the Washington Post, I could not help but wonder why if a man stays with the same company he does not do as well as a man who seeks advancement outside of his present position.
Is it because he is seen as lacking ambition?
Conversely, women who stay with the same employer tend to do much better in terms of salary and promotion than their counterparts who, as one pundit put it, “follow a similar migratory job pattern to men.”
Regardless of the reasons for the study’s findings, the real question is what can both men and women do with this knowledge to advance their careers whether they stay with the same company or not? In short, how do we better brand ourselves and the value we bring so as to maximize our opportunities within an increasingly competitive market?
Do women for example who seek a new career path tell potential employers that one of their great strengths is bringing stability and loyalty to the organization?
How about the men who do not look outside of their present company? Do they use the fact that they will likely improve their career trajectory from both an income and advancement standpoint if they leave?
I personally believe that at the end of the day, merit regardless of gender should be the determining factor. Even though this may not necessarily be as influential as it should in certain instances, it nonetheless is the foundation upon which your brand is built and your career ultimately defined.
The problem I have with the above study is that it doesn’t introduce the concept of being an intrapreneur. This means that you should view your present employer in the same light that you would view a prospective employer. In short, and as I always tell my clients, you must Always look for ways to earn your place in the world!
Think back to when you were actively searching for your present job. Did you research the companies with whom you hoped to work? While far too many people make the mistake of looking for a job or position as opposed to seeking out the “right fit,” you probably targeted those organizations for which you could provide a needed expertise.
In your efforts to select a company, did you seek to understand the challenges that you could address? Were you effective in explaining how you could deliver a solution based on your skills and value? Were you convinced that your expertise and ability could best serve the company’s future vision? Were you confident that your boss would value your passion, respect your ambition, and become your sponsor for moving up?
The fact that you landed the job speaks to the effectiveness of your efforts. But this process should not stop once you have been with the same company for many years.
One of the key areas upon which my new book has focused is on stepping out from behind the scenes and into the spotlight of organizational success on the front stage. Like the camera commercial in which the same individual actively seeks opportunities to be in everyone’s picture, you have to continuously seek ways to stay in the picture relative to your organization’s changing needs. You have to continually seek ways to find and maintain that perfect fit you originally had with your organization when you were first hired. You have to see your day-to-day work as earning your place in the world. You must also demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm daily so that others will feel your excitement.
In the end I firmly believe that this proactive approach to branding your value will in the majority of instances both place you and keep you on your optimum career path.