6 unexpected ways to measure success at work

Most workplaces are heavily dependent on numbers, metrics and KPIs. That means professional success is often judged by quantitative standards. Did you exceed your monthly sales target? What percentage of growth did you achieve? How many new customers were acquired? How many cases were you able to close? While numbers and qualitative metrics certainly have their place in our work lives, they shouldn’t be the sole way we judge our successes at work. Here are a few slightly unconventional ways to measure success at work.

unexpected ways to measure success at work

1. knowledge gained

Does success have to mean that whatever you tried had amazing results? Not necessarily. As a famous Thomas Edison quote goes, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That’s a sentiment employees should hold dear. Failure, if you want to call it that, is rarely a lost cause. If you learned something from your experience it can only strengthen your next attempt. The more you learn about what not to do, the better your next attempt will become. Work often requires trial and error, and we can’t discount the value of a learning experience.

2. team building

Many of the most successful projects are team-based. Though most people despise group projects in school, at work it’s a different story. Workplaces thrive on collaboration and teamwork. Try to find a workplace that doesn’t require the cooperation of multiple people and departments. There’s a reason companies with departmental silos tend to have more problems integrating and communicating down the line. If a project brings your team closer together and strengthens how you work together, that’s a success, even if the quantitative value isn’t what you hoped. An added bonus: employees who like their coworkers tend to be happier, more productive and more loyal to their employer. Those all sound like wins.

3. taking a risk

There’s something to be said for taking risks and stepping outside of your usual box. Taking a risk takes guts and is crucial to your personal and professional growth. No one ever did anything earthshattering or innovative by sticking in their lane and doing the same thing day in and out, rinse and repeat. Whether it’s stepping out of your comfort zone to expand your public speaking skills, or trying out a new piece of tech, trying something new will push you, and that’s a good thing.

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4. it makes you happy

Is there a certain part of your job you absolutely love? If there isn’t, there should be! Loving absolutely everything you do day-to-day is rare, but everyone should love some part of their job. Whether it’s training new employees, interacting with customers, or plugging away at spreadsheets (some people enjoy that, we swear!) if you enjoy working on a project, that’s a success. Everyone should carve out some time each week to focus on work-related tasks they enjoy. It’ll lead to a happier, more engaged workforce, overall. And as we’ve pointed out many times, happy employees are more productive, more loyal and just more pleasant to work with.

5. creating something you’re proud of

Have you ever spent time on a project and walked away proud of what you accomplished? Perhaps you finally created that filing system you’ve been meaning to get around to for years. Maybe you spent months planning an event and are revelling in all your work finally come to life.  Or maybe it’s as simple as giving an awesome PowerPoint presentation you know you knocked out of the park. That feeling of accomplishment is a marker of success no matter what any numerical metrics say.

6. making someone’s day

Success doesn’t have to be all about you. If you’ve gone above and beyond to make someone’s day, you deserve kudos for that. Consider an example in customer service: if you give a customer a standout experience, they’re going to feel good about that and are more likely to come back in the future and do repeat business with your company. Maybe the metrics on your little bit of kindness won’t add up to much short-term if the customer’s purchase was small, but from a branding and customer retention perspective, the interaction was a huge success.

In today’s complicated and multi-faceted workplaces success comes with many layers. While there’s no doubt that numbers will remain an important metric, don’t forget about the importance of non-tangibles. How do you measure success at work? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

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In today’s complicated and multi-faceted workplaces success comes with many layers. While there’s no doubt that numbers will remain an important metric, don’t forget about the importance of non-tangibles. How do you measure success at work? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.