The 5 Traits Of A Great Employee by Principal, Valerie Verdult

19 Sep 2017

 

What Are The 5 Traits Of A Great Employee?

We’d all like to think we are a great employee, but do others really see us in the same way? In a job market that is very competitive it’s extremely important that we stand out above the crowd. I have the pleasure of talking to hiring managers each day and discovering what’s most important to them in prospective candidates. Here are the top 5 traits to get you noticed and in line for that next promotion and raise.

1. Be Teachable

So often we have years of experience under our belt and a way of doing things which has served us well. But our world is different today and technology is changing the work dynamic. I barely get a new iPhone and a few months later the new and improved version is out. Why can’t I just wait for them to make the best version of the iPhone and I’ll just get that one? Technology is fluid and the point is there will always be advances and modifications to make it better than before. The same is true in business. We can master how to do something but there will be innovations or a new thought process introduced and we need to be able to adapt to that new way of doing things. Managers never want to hear, “But I do it differently and that’s how I like to do it.” The best thing you can do is be teachable and show your boss that you are always open to changes. Even though you may be an expert and do something the same way for years with success, be moldable to learn a new way. Chances are you may surprise yourself and actually find it more efficient and easier.

2. Be Flexible

Part of being teachable is also being flexible. Companies need to evolve and respond to changing economic climates. They need employees who are easily adaptable. You may need to wear a different hat and take on a new role for a short term or be able to work different hours to handle a new account. Employers need flexibility in their employees to be able to maintain a competitive edge and relevance in the market. This isn’t to say it’s ok for an employer to ask you to commute an extra hour or relocate to Alaska for a few months. It’s just about being the one who is willing to work alongside their peers when they need some extra support. Employers need to know they can count on you. It will serve you well to have a track record of stepping up to the plate come review time for raises and advancement. You want to be the name that comes to mind first.

3. Be Dependable

This seems like such an easy one and yet it’s one of the biggest struggles employers have. According to a YouGov poll, 1 in 5 employees are late once a week. A Gallup survey showed a loss of $84 billion in productivity across multiple work sectors. This puts a huge burden on companies to keep their departments efficient with missing workers and strains other employees to pick up the extra workload. The bottom line can greatly impact budgets, company growth and hires. It matters to a lot of people that you show up on time and that others can count on you to be there and complete your work with excellence. If you want to see a negative dynamic in a company, just have one employee slack in their performance and the entire team morale can quickly deteriorate as others are expected to fill in the gaps of that undependable employee. You are part of a bigger picture whether you have an office of 2 or 1,000. You are there for a reason and your efforts matter to others. People are counting on you. Show up on time, be ready to do your work and be the person others can depend on.

4. Communicate Effectively

This is my favorite as I think it’s key to all good relationships. I hear candidates fearing their bosses and not wanting to talk things through or others only too willing to talk about every situation. It’s hugely important to have open communication both from an employee and employer. You need to know who you can go to and discuss issues and concerns. On the other hand, it’s equally important to have the wisdom to know what’s integral to discuss. For instance, you may really want to be in line for a promotion but you're not sure if you should say something or think they should just notice you. Well certainly if you are exhibiting the five traits we are discussing here you have a much better chance of being in consideration for a promotion. But it’s also a good idea to let your manager know you’d like to be considered for the role. Sometimes we fear letting our bosses know we want to advance and then we get looked over and feel undervalued. Let your superior know you would like to be considered for the promotion. If you don’t get chosen this time it’s ok to ask for some feedback on what you can do to be on the short list next time there’s an opening. This type of constructive dialogue shows your willingness to grow, to accept feedback and your desire to be the best that you can be. It also lets an employer know you cared enough about your role in the company to come to them for communication.

5. It’s Not About You

It may feel like it’s about you and maybe it should be about you...but it’s not. Employers have a lot on their plates and aren’t perfect. It’s easy to take things personal when you didn’t get the raise you expected or are having to work later to make up for someone else’s absence. The less we make it about us and the more we invest in those around us, the better your work dynamic. Learning to filter the expectations and developments of the day on how it impacts us is a process. The more we can concentrate on doing our very best job no matter what the circumstance, the more we find ourselves in a positive mindset that flows through all of those around us. I’m a big fan of deep breaths and realigning our focus when we start to let the noise around us impact our vision of what’s important.