When I first joined the company I’m currently working, I spoke to the team about the work that they were currently doing.
I told them that much of their work was operational non-value added work. That is work that happens but does not add value. Work like adding rules to the firewall, or adding users to active directory. And that many units thought that they were not adding value to the services being offered.
I said that we needed to start doing more value-added work.
The team left and went about their work.
Many months later in one of my one-on-ones, this thing about non-value added work came up, and the team thought that I meant that they were not valued or that the work they were doing was not valuable.
I was taken aback.
One, that they equated value-added with being valued.
And two, that this came up so long afterwards, meaning that the team sat and ruminated on this for a long time.
I had to explain that this had nothing to do with them not being valued, but that the work they were doing was mainly transactional.
Value-added work, on the other hand, would have a multiplier effect on the effort.
For example, instead of creating shares for every user who requests it, create a shared folder accessible to everyone and show people how to create folders and specify permissions. Instead of unlocking and resetting passwords, use software to allow self-service unlocks and resets.
The work you’ve expended creates far more value to users and also frees up your time. You will be creating fewer shares, and unlocking fewer accounts.
To this day some members of my team bristle at the term value-added. But hopefully, the majority of the team gets it.
They’re still doing much non-value added work, but I’m starting to see some sprouts of value-added ones coming about.
I remain optimistic.