How to become indispensable at work

In any office or business organization or in a service organization, we can always see that someone is more often consulted with than others. He could be even a junior executive, but the difference he makes to the workplace is vital. What makes such people indispensable? This article seeks to provide some answers in some detail.


Those who are indispensable at work are those who prove themselves. They often have something special in them. They would work long hours. They would be willing to teach others. They would work voluntarily on all aspects of documenting learning in any manner. They will be ready to innovate as well.

Based on personal observation of a number of people in his career spanning several years, this author has noticed that if you one needs to become indispensable at work he or she needs to a) Volunteer to do tough work b) Take on new challenges even with limited resources c) Network with all subordinates irrespective of time constraints d) Maintain personal rapport with each employee and e) Always look cheerful and optimistic.

Volunteer to do tough work

Though this happened decades ago, the experience of the particular person is still talked about in the private sector bank where this author was once employed. Today, it is among the fastest-growing banks in India. At that point in time, it had a turnover of just around 350 crore rupees in terms of deposits. In came a very dynamic Chairman from the State Bank of India.

This person looked for those with a fire in their belly. He would go all out to support them. In those days, a new branch was to be opened at Ahmedabad. Suresh (name changed) opted to work as a Manager at this branch. He met the Chairman and personally volunteered to work there. Those at Karur (a very small town at that point in time) thought he was mad. He was not. He could easily see the future in a growing city. He enrolled for Hindi classes with the best-known teacher and within two months, he always talked in Hindi with this Chairman, whose knowledge of the language was good, thanks to his decade-old stint at Mumbai.

The young man's wife also supported him. They had a son who was just two years old. This enabled them to take a bold decision and within four months when the new branch was opened, the Chairman had told him many a trick on how to be good at customer service. Only Hindi speaking youngsters were placed as his subordinates. Within three years, the branch had a deposit position of over ten lakhs, a figure that was good in those days. Years later, the man was promoted as Divisional Manager. He was sponsored to attend many special courses. He became indispensable and was always available to guide the freshers.

Hence, volunteering to do tough work, often in new environments is an essential pre-requisite to becoming indispensable and recognized as unique individuals.

Take on new challenges even with limited resources

This is the next pre-requisite. Those who aspire to become indispensable are often those who take on new challenges with limited resources. They would come to the factory at odd hours to be present for sharing any idea with those in the second shift. They would interact with workmen and seek their ideas. They would immediately implement the good ideas and keep the bosses posted about such improvements.

There would be challenges galore. Like managing with casual or contract labor. Or doing maximum work only during the general shift. The concerned person would never bother. They would clock at least ten hours per day and up to even fourteen if required. He or she would never complain and would give up on the bare essentials. One can even observe that they have their lunch rather late. For them, work is a mission. They have a passion for work of any kind and hence distinguish and differentiate themselves.

Their knowledge of all technical matters would be exemplary. They could be at any level, but the initiative that they show at work would take them to the greatest heights in terms of not only being recognized by the Top Management but also be the center of all attraction. They are consulted on many matters and are sponsored for all special programs.

Network with subordinates irrespective of time constraints

This is absolutely essential. It often turns out that our subordinates have more ideas that can be immediately implemented. They are quite resourceful. They can be useful at all times for fresh initiatives. Hence, it is essential to meet all subordinates, even if they come in different shits. This even happens in IT organizations.

If one wants to be really indispensable, he or she needs to compulsorily network with all subordinates and develop good listening skills. He or she needs to look forward to something far better every day, in terms of being able to optimize all human resources. For instance, fresh engineers who are IT-savvy can also be used to input the details of several Kaizens. They can also be used to document several technical inputs that would have gone unnoticed otherwise. This would mean that such persons are relieved from regular work at least 40% of their time. The trick is to train others and get the work done on the shop floor. All these actions will be noticed by the boss and the big bosses at some point in time. Recognition and appreciation will automatically follow.

Maintain personal rapport with each employee

If a colleague gives us an invitation to attend his or her wedding, it is our duty to attend the same. If we had not done so for some reason, we should at least show up at their houses and offer our best wishes to the couple concerned. This is a basic courtesy that we should never forget. Similarly, helping a worker with the documentation required to enable the HR department to release a part of his PF contribution for an emergency in the family, will be greatly appreciated. The concerned workman will reciprocate in terms of better work in the near future. It ought to be realized that building a personal rapport is vital in today's conditions in India. It will always be.

Always look cheerful and optimistic

We get to see such people in branded hotels. They could service us with whatever we order to eat. Their behavior would make us happy. We can easily see the supervisors giving such persons a little bit of extra work, like co-ordinating a few more guests at another table. We can see them in the large textile shops as well. They would voluntarily show us some two hundred ready-made shirts in a particular price range and also offer suggestions on what could possibly suit us best. These are the indispensable service warriors. We should learn from them the ability to be cheerful and optimistic. We can often observe that they keep smiling and making others also smile. These are variables that should be emulated.


Irrespective of the level at which we get to work, we can always become indispensable and make a difference to the organization we work for. We can go up on the career ladder fast too. Some points relevant to the process have been discussed above.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao23 Oct 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 7

In an organisation, no one should be indispensable. Then only we can say that the organisation is healthy. If the organisation's performance depends completely on a single man, there will be something wrong with the management policy. If something unwarranted happens to the person who is indispensable, what will happen to the organisation? So, when you look from the management angle, we should always have a fall back arrangement or Plan B. Then the management need not worry about a particular person leaving the organisation. Then only management can ensure that no one will exploit their weakness.

If we see from the employee's angle, if a person creates a separate image for him and try to see that the problems faced by the organisation are addressed correctly and suggest remedies, that particular person will become indispensable. The more the skills you develop, the stronger you will be in your position. To have this, one should not restrict himself to routine work but should address the issue which is critical, wherever they are.

A word of caution for the persons who want to become indispensable. Never try to keep away from the problems. Keep circulating all your achievements not only to your boss but also other people in other departments who are of the same rank as of your boss and also to your boss's boss. Otherwise, there are some bosses who will take the credit into their account and you will be ignored.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha27 Oct 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

We would find numerous painstaking and laborious people in most of the organisations often working beyond the normal hours so as to achieve the financial targets of the companies with which they are attached. They are the self-motivated people having their eyes on the fulfilment of the targets. Apart from the job assigned to them, they would consider the multiple points where they could boost the targets in such jobs assigned to their different colleagues. This calls for the total grasp of the work culture of the entire organisation and at the same time needs the skill to perform in different areas. With such involvements, they become darlings of their bosses.

The author has sketched their qualities in the appropriate manner and has highlighted some qualities of such dedicated people as to how they become indispensable to any organisation.

Author: Wilson K. Mathew29 Oct 2019 Member Level: Gold   Points : 12

While I partially agree with this writer's ideas, there are points to which I strongly disagree. Perhaps his personal experience has illuminated this article, but according to the type of company and institution,
circumstances also actually vary.

In companies or institutions owned by a single owner or a small group of shareholders, such indispensable staff will not last long. This is because the owners of these companies and institutions will be in the key posts. They may believe that their ideas and hard work have contributed to the growth and development of the company. It may be some databases they acquired, some mixtures, some recipes, etc. They won't ever make it public. Therefore, employees or officers who are above and beyond the prescribed job is viewed with suspicion by the management. Each section has its own chargeman and a group of employees under him and working as a group to perform the tasks of the respective section. No one else is allowed to get into that category. Sometimes, the high-ranking executive will hand over parts of their jobs to make their job easier to such an indispensable employee. If it comes to management's attention that he has been trying to get some details to which he is not supposed to be privy to, it will be a warning first and repetition will entail suspension or dismissal. The reason is that the owners do not want to disclose what is going on in the closed section and how the company is producing such things. They will be well aware of the consequences of such operations. Otherwise, they can always expect another company nearer to it.

And if it's an organization, especially those who don't have the financial interest, to help the society and
if there is such an indispensable person among the members, one is sure that they will have some hidden personal interests - to get to the highest positions of the organization. Such people tend to work more than others, and more closely with other members. That would put him at the peak of the movement.

Thus, if there is a person who works more and more among all, his or her actions may sometimes serve to protect his own interests or to protect his mysterious interests.

Author: Umesh13 Nov 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

All the employees in any organisation, office or workplace are not equal in their intelligence and talent. Performance-wise or efficiency-wise, they will have different capabilities and capacities. Due to this basic factor, there is a segregation of the employees in the eyes of management and different categories emerge out. Out of this, some are those who are very good in their work and complete their work independently and proficiently. Then there are others who require guidance and proper monitoring but will perform all right. There is one more category where the performance is mediocre and one has to check their work before finalising it. Due to this, it is natural that the top performers become important in any workplace or office. In addition to being a top performer, if the person is cordial and well behaved and does not mind to stay late in the night or come to the office on holidays, these people become indispensable for the organisation. These are the people who sometimes get early increments in their salaries and management also keeps them happy by various motivational measures. Only problem with these indispensable ones is that sometimes their family lives may not be as smooth and happier as that of others as they might be giving less time to their families.

It is also natural that such people command a good respect in the corridors of the organisation and others might feel a bit envious of them.

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