How To Be An Irreplaceable Individual



You are not special. EVERYBODY is replaceable.

Every business person may have heard the phrase “everybody is replaceable” said at some point in their professional careers.  It seems a simple and short – almost trivial – sentence, yet it can be quite “heavy”. It often discourages any loyal and dedicated employees who want to do their best for the company they’re working with. The phrase “everybody is replaceable” implicitly tells an employee that no matter what value he/she brings to the company, someone else can be hired to do the same job and have the same impact.

Are you irreplaceable?

Most people have always thought of themselves as an “irreplaceable” individual. As children, they were led to believe that they bring our own distinct value that we are special.

That’s what they think all along, until they entered the workforce and learned that they were not special employees. Thus, while we have seen many employees try to “shock the company” with their “I quit” proposal, the company, undoubtedly, manages to go on.

While it’s true that the company can and will go on without you, there is numerous evidence that the more perceived value you have, the more likely that an employer will want to keep you around.

How to increase your perceived value?

Building your skills and increasing your value does not automatically make you “irreplaceable”. Still, it certainly provides yet another good reason why an employer might not want to lose you. There are several ways that employees can increase their value in the workplace. Below we outlined three useful tips – structured as ABC’s – that you can start implementing today.

A = Align Yourself

Do you understand the mission and vision of the company? Do you understand the role of your department? How’s your boss’s expectations of you? If you haven’t found the answers to these questions, for God’s sake, get in the know. You will need to walk in alignment with the mission, vision, and goals every day. It is about your ability to live the mission and vision, and to live up to (if not surpass) your employer’s expectations. Alignment illustrates your willingness to commit to the overall strategy.

How do you do it? Well, you need to:

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the company’s goals.
  • Work together with people and teams who are working towards those goals.
  • Develop your own personal vision that directly supports both the organisational and departmental goals.
  • Be able to clearly communicate the value that you bring through alignment.
  • Keep track of your daily activities, decision-making, and performance. Compare your tasks to management’s expectations of you.

Make a commitment to “align yourself”. If you are able to help your boss, department, and the company to the next level, your elevation should naturally follow.

B = Build Your Network

Fortunately, with tools like LinkedIn, building your value through networking has never been easier.

However, always remember that as you build your network, surround yourself with people who have a similar vision. Be sure to connect with people who motivate and inspire you, perhaps someone in a position in which you’d like to be some day, or someone whose work ethic you admire.

  • Identify like-minded individuals.
  • Blend in. Join groups/networks in your industry of interest.
  • Widen your network with influential, thought-leaders.
  • Network both internally and externally: Build your network within the four walls of your organisation; but also make contacts outside of the company.

C = Create Your Brand

Unlike the common saying, it does matter what others think in the business world. Remember, your employer’s perception of you is reality; at least to them. If they see you as a go-getter, then that is what you are.

However, you have the power to direct and possibly control your employer’s perception. The key lies in the development of your personal brand.

You don’t have to be something you’re not. In fact, you should use your personal brand to advertise your best professional qualities.Your personal brand is how you communicate the unique value that you consistently bring. It is the way that you market yourself and drive the message to shape perceptions.

So, how to do it? Building one’s brand is a long journey, but here are a few steps to get you started:

  • Self-Assess and Act: Identify your strengths and be able to effectively and confidently communicate them. Recognise your weaknesses and challenges, and determine what steps you are going to take to address them!
  • Define Your Value: Do you know why you are valuable to your team and to the organisation? What do you do that no one else does? What processes have you implemented or improved? Being able to effectively communicate why you are valuable is crucial.
  • Demonstrate your value: Give your all! A key aspect of building your brand is showing how valuable you are. Don’t just talk about it! Demonstrate it!
  • Let Your Personality Shine Through: What are the best aspects of your personality? Share the best part of you by letting that personality shine! When you allow this to happen, it is easier to personally connect with clients, colleagues, and management, and establish a rapport.


It’s time to start thinking about the “next level”. Value is the keyword and you need to increase your perceived value. But it’s not enough. You need to effectively communicate to others the value you bring. Yes, an employer may be able to bring someone in to fill your position, but if you are creating and adding value, it is more likely that employers will want to keep you around.