Companies often conduct regular performance reviews to evaluate their employees. Employees can also review their own workplaces. An employee can assess his or her company to determine whether it has the capabilities needed for success and what role he or she, as an individual, has within the company. Such an assessment can help an employee determine whether, and how, he or she can help themselves and their companies succeed.
Employees can use a number of processes to study various aspects of their companies and careers. They can talk with professionals to analyze these matters. They can also study careers and companies in a more informal matter by having casual conversations with people inside and outside their company.
Another factor that contributes to a company's success is its customers. In assessing your company, you can study whether it fulfills its customers’ needs. If customer satisfaction is low, you can ask your customers the specific things they would like your company to do for them. This process gives customers a chance to voice their opinions and allows your company to directly respond to these customers. Asking your customers for feedback also gives you an opportunity to demonstrate to your managers that you possess initiative and strong customer service skills.
Another way you can assess your company's relationship with people is to examine the company's ethics, which may serve as a sign of its potential for success. Australian journalist Karina Barrymore notes in her 2014 article in Advertiser that companies that engage in ethical practices are more attractive to potential investors and often ultimately earn greater profits. Questions to ask about your company may include: Does it engage in positive practices and products? Does it have a record of ethical violations, such as discriminating against minorities, polluting the environment, or engaging in dishonest financial accounting?
In assessing your company, it is important to learn about its competitors . You can research competitors’ activities and study their tactics, both successful and unsuccessful. This could help your company adapt or avoid certain practices. It can also help you determine whether these competitors pose a threat to your company's business.
You can also study how technology relates to your company. Does your company have the technology it needs to keep up with its competitors? Is your company providing services or producing goods that will be technologically relevant in the future? For example, companies that specialized in making typewriters during the twentieth century had to adapt as people shifted to using computers instead of typewriters. Your company, too, might have to make new things or provide new services to better compete.
Technology can affect your company in other ways. Do you and your coworkers have the technological training you need, such as knowledge of certain equipment and software? You might have to ask your company for additional training, such as computer classes, to help familiarize yourself with technological developments. Are your competitors using technological advances, such as specialized inventory-control databases, that make them more efficient than your company?
One way to learn more about your company is by studying it from the inside. You can look for your company's core competencies, which are the unique things the company does that sets it apart from its competitors. It may be useful to study the condition of your company's tangible resources, or resources that are easy to identify, such as whether its buildings and equipment are in good shape and up-to-date. You can also study your company's intangible resources, or assets that are harder to measure, such as workers’ morale.
In analyzing their own operations and strategies, many companies use a process called SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats. As an employee, you can consider these four factors together. List the strengths and weaknesses of your company, and investigate whether your company has opportunities it can take advantage of and whether it faces any potential threats.
After studying different aspects of your company, you might discover that your company is not succeeding. Although this discovery can be distressing, there are ways to reverse this status. The fact that you have been studying your company is a good first step. This means you know a lot about the company and the different matters related to it.
While studying the company's competitors, you might discover that they are taking some of your customers or clients away. To solve this problem, you can contact these customers to ask them why they stopped working with your company and began patronizing a new company. You might discover that your competitors charge more reasonable rates or offer services that you do not. This might prompt you to reconsider your prices and offer new services, such as opening earlier or closing later than your competitors in order to attract customers who work different hours.
You can also consider trying to attract new customers. Are there new markets of customers for your company's goods or services? If your company produces goods, you might want to consider advertising and selling your company's products through the Internet if it does not already do so. If your company provides services, you can place advertisements in newspapers and magazines and on the Internet. These actions might encourage new customers to patronize your business.
Another useful area to study might be the external influences on your company and how they relate to your career. If, for instance, you observe that your company is expanding its business operations in new markets globally, you could take it upon yourself to study different cultures or learn a new language. During a performance review with your supervisor, you could discuss your recent training and newly acquired skills, describe your ideas about global business, and offer to conduct more of the company's international business. This example demonstrates how studying your company can improve both your own career and the company as a whole.
Evaluating your company in different ways might lead you to evaluate your career in new ways. When you learn about your company's goals, ask yourself if you produce goods or provide services that will help your company meet these goals. Consider whether you need additional training or other resources or if you need to perform your job in new ways.
Discussions with coworkers and supervisors can help you determine your role within the company. You can ask your coworkers and members of the human resources department about the different positions within your company and about what training your company offers. You can learn about your current and future status with your company by talking with your supervisors in informal ways, such as brief talks, and in more formal ways, such as performance reviews.
Knowing about your company, and about the role you play in it, can help you further your career by identifying growth opportunities and positioning yourself for advancement. For example, if you studied your company and found that it was facing increased competition, you might have made changes to your company to help it better compete. Taking action in this way strengthens not only the company but also your position within it. By identifying and taking on new responsibilities, you can gain experience and skills while also demonstrating your value as an employee.
If your current position at your company does not make you happy or use your skills, knowledge about the company and your role in it expands your options. You have the option of looking for a new job at a different company, but you could also draw upon your knowledge of the company to change aspects of your current job or to transfer to a position that is better suited to your skills and interests, entails more responsibility, or pays more.