Whether you’re starting a new job, made your career your New Year’s resolution, or you just want this to be the year your career takes off, actively working on becoming a better employee is always a great idea. Being mindful and purposeful about growing as an employee will help you grow in your career – and it could lead to a promotion or new opportunities!
You spend 40-plus hours a week working – make it count by putting in the effort and making it meaningful. Your boss, your coworkers, and your customers will notice and appreciate the difference. So let’s take a look at some tips on how you can become a better employee.
1. Ask for Feedback
Communication is key, no matter what industry you work in or what your job title is. If you don’t already meet with your manager for a one-on-one meeting at least every other week, ask to schedule one. Thirty minutes a week allows you to hold yourself accountable, stay top of mind with your manager, and get valuable feedback about ways to improve your workflow or communication style.
These meetings are a chance to ask questions and receive constructive criticism in a safe environment. Eventually, they may lead to more candid conversations about the company or projects you’re not a part of, which gives you a sense of context for your work while letting your manager know that you care about the big picture.
2. Organize, Organize, Organize
If you’re not already utilizing a to-do list to manage your time at the office, we highly recommend it. You’ll be amazed by how much more you can get done with your daily tasks clearly outlined. You get to choose how to organize your to-do list – daily tasks or weekly deadlines, getting smaller stuff out of the way first or tackling the most difficult items early in the day when you’re fresh. Try a few different styles and find what works best for you.
Once you’re done organizing your tasks, consider organizing your desk! Cluttered workspaces can lead to lower productivity and higher stress. A tidy desk sends a message that you take yourself seriously.
Being organized at work means being more organized in your personal life as well. If you can work more quickly and efficiently, you can get home for dinner to spend time with your family or actually make it to yoga on time. This will make you happier and send a message to your superiors that you have it all under control.
3. Get to Work Early
Getting to the office early – even if it’s just ten minutes – can really help you set the tone for your day. Unpack your computer bag, make a cup of coffee or tea, and review and adjust your to-do list. Doing these things in the calm and quiet before the day starts keeps you from getting distracted or overwhelmed first thing in the morning. And as a bonus, showing up early makes you seem responsible and in-control – very promotable qualities.
4. Give 110%
Whatever your day-to-day consists of – taking notes during the staff meeting, scheduling appointments, making calls or running scripts – do your very best with each task. When you hand coworkers perfectly outlined notes, schedule every appointment correctly the first time, or run consistently bug-free code, your boss will see you as an asset to the team. When you prove you can be trusted with small things, they’re much more likely to trust you with larger ones.
5. Take On More Responsibility
Now that you’ve demonstrated that you have things under control, ask if you can take on a new responsibility. It’s best to have a specific task or idea in mind. Take some time to really watch your department and see if there are any gaps to fill. Could the team benefit from a daily report? Is there a project that’s off track and holding everyone up? Ask your boss if you can take the lead. They’ll appreciate your proactiveness and you’ll get the chance to show off your skills!
Networking – in and out of the office – is incredibly important for your career. People hire and promote people they know. It can be tough to make time for after-hours events or coffee with coworkers, but you won’t regret it. You could meet a mentor that helps you through a tough problem or make a connection with someone in a different department that helps you get a project pushed through faster. No matter what you end up getting out of it, networking is social proof that your career really matters to you.
7. Speak Up
Whether you have an idea for the perfect addition to the product line or you need to make sure you’re getting the credit you deserve – speak up at work. Obviously, there’s a time and a place, but as long as you do it correctly, speaking up for yourself makes you appear confident and competent. The worst thing that can happen is you’ll be told “no” – but even then they’ll remember that you had an idea and spoke up, which is a positive impression.
8. Keep Your Cool
Work can be stressful. While it can be tempting to vent to your coworkers, try to become the employee who stays calm through the craziest of days. Instead of panicking – or worse, saying “not my problem” – try to adopt a solution-based mindset. Step in and help your boss or your teammates put out the fire. Staying cool in a hectic work environment is an indication of leadership potential.
9. Read a Book
There are so many books out there that can help you become a better employee. Whether you want to organize your workspace, optimize your time, become a better communicator, or learn how to negotiate – there’s a book for that! This shows your boss that you have personal goals for yourself outside of work.
Books are also a great talking point when you’re networking or trying to start a conversation with the higher-ups. And if you just can’t imagine trying to fit reading into your schedule, try an audiobook! You can listen during your commute or while you do the dishes.
10. Support Your Coworkers
Great bosses take blame and give credit. When Sarah has a great idea but is too softspoken to get the room’s attention, speak up for her and support her. When someone helps you out on a project, publicly praise them and lift up their contributions. If you finish your work early, see if you can help out a coworker who’s struggling.
When you support others, they’ll want to support you as well. Being part of a company is like being part of a team – you’ll get so much more out of it when you actively and fully participate. And being seen as a team player can only be good for your career.
If you want to become a better employee in a new company, contact Apex Staffing online or give us a call at (501)-801-7626. We’ll help you find a job that allows you to realize your full potential as an employee.