Five habits of great employees

Everyone is keen to impress their employer. Try on these habits for size, and you’ll be on the path to success.

By Ernest Richardson

The workplace can be a competitive environment. If you’re in any way ambitious, you’ll be keen to make a good impression. But beyond simply getting on with your job to the best of your ability, what can you do to ensure you make an impact, and enhance your chances of progression?

We’ve distilled five habits of great employees, as observed in workplaces throughout the country. If you can cultivate even some of these, we reckon you’ll see your career take flight. 

1. Great employees make lists

Most people hate the idea of drawing up endless to-do lists. But if business guru David Allen is to be believed, list-makers are more productive, less stressed and more effective than other people in the workplace. 

Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology is a sophisticated tool that enables people to capture the tasks requiring their attention, sort them in order of importance, and hatch a plan for completing them. 

If you don’t have time for such a systematic approach, be assured that even a quickly jotted list of ongoing tasks greatly enhances productivity. It enables you to see at a glance what you need to do, and by when. And nothing beats the satisfaction of ticking off the things you’ve achieved. 

“I’m not by disposition a very well-organised person,” says Tim Gibson, a journalist, corporate trainer, communications consultant, author and university lecturer who advises Just Recruitment Group Ltd. “But I’ve found that list-making is a highly valuable habit in my busy life. Each week, I write a list of what has to be done, with deadlines alongside. I highlight the most pressing deadlines, and prioritise meeting those. And I put a big tick alongside everything that gets completed, which is pretty much the highlight of my working day.”

2. Great employees go the extra mile

It’s a hoary old cliché, which means it almost certainly contains a ring of truth: employees that make a good impression are those who go above and beyond the call of duty. 
This may entail a willingness to stay late in order to see through a big deal, or take work home at the weekend during busy periods. It could be about taking on additional responsibility, such as training as a First Aider, even when that doesn’t come with any extra reward. Or it could simply be a matter of not moaning when a last-minute job comes in that throws your schedule off kilter. 

“There’s a fine line between showing willingness to take on extra and being the office goody-goody,” says Emma Kershaw, Director at Just Recruitment. “But employers notice members of the workforce who don’t mither about doing more than they’re contractually obliged to. And when promotion opportunities come around, it’s often those people who are first in line.”

3. Great employees roll up their sleeves and get stuck in

Most working environments operate with some kind of hierarchy, and although there’s been a turn in recent years to flatter management structures, it’s pretty clear someone needs to be the boss. 

But here’s the rub. Even the most senior member of a team needs to show a bit of leg from time to time. No one looks kindly on the colleague who never takes their turn with the tea round, or who shuns workplace gossip because they’re too important to chat.

The point is simple: act in ways that are appropriate for your position in a company. But never be too proud to muck in and get involved. That’s the way to foster healthy relationships.

4. Great employees take initiative

“I can’t think of a job where employees wouldn’t be looked upon favourably for taking initiative,” reflects Just Recruitment director, Peter Foy. “In our business, we always encourage staff to think for themselves, develop new projects and find fresh ways of doing things.”

Consider that from the perspective of an employee and it’s clear that original thinking is a habit to be cultivated. If you think there’s a better way of doing something in the workplace, or have a new project you think is worth pursuing, put the hours in to develop it and test its viability. Then present it to management as an item for consideration. 

Worst case scenario, they’ll turn down your idea but notice your creativity and passion. Best case scenario, you’ll make a tangible difference to the success of your company. 
That said, it’s always worth showing a bit of humility, as Tim Gibson explains: “I once took it upon myself to redesign the management structure of a college where I was employed as a very junior member of teaching staff. It’s fair to say that was a bit too much of a display of chutzpah for my boss, who’d spent the last 30 years in the education sector, and had a much better idea than me about how to organise his staff team!”

5. Great employees are courteous and well-mannered

It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. 

That’s a classic aphorism, which many of us learned at our mother’s knee. But that doesn’t make it any less relevant as a maxim for life. 

The reality, as Tatler editor Kate Reardon told a group of pupils at Westonbirt School for Girls in Gloucestershire in 2014, is that good manners go a long way to helping you foster strong relationships. In a work setting, that means you’re more likely to build successful networks both externally and internally.  And the value of that to employers is immeasurable. 

“Courtesy isn’t about being sickly sweet or over the top in your interactions with other people,” says Emma Kershaw. “You just need to show an interest in people, be polite, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and avoid rudeness. It’s basic stuff, but it makes the world of difference to how you’re perceived in the workplace.”

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2018

If you liked this article you may like to read – How to be the king or queen of time management

You may also like to read – Training: the best investment opportunity we have

Jobs currently available

Featured job
Management Accountant
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: £30,000 - £38,000
Location: Haverhill
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 906965
About the role

The Just Recruitment Group have a superb opportunity for an experienced Management Accountant to join our client on a fulltime, permanent basis working near to Haverhill.

Reporting directly to the CEO of this fast growing successful company. The business is currently growing at 20% per annum and is at a pivotal moment in its development. New premises have been purchased and new sales and accounting systems are due to be installed in the coming 6 months. This role will be part of the senior management team and involved in key decision making for the business going forward.

Responsibilities include:

  • Responsible for the whole of the accounts department and production of the monthly management report and KPIs.
  • Managing the accounts assistant who has primary responsibility for the purchase ledger.
  • Managing UK and overseas payments, controlling deposits and advance payments.
  • Cash management including weekly forecasting of cash and credit control.
  • Running all aspects of payroll.
  • Management of Royal London pension scheme.
  • Responsibility of all company insurances and utility suppliers.
  • Working with the Operations Manager, analysing profit and cost variances to budget.
  • Implementation of new accounting system, which will free up purchase ledger clerk to take some of the more administrative elements of this role.
  • Job and departmental profit analysis.
  • Monthly VAT returns and Bank reconciliations.
  • Ad-hoc tasks necessary for the for Senior Managers and Directors.
  • Management of personnel files.
  • Administration and other duties relevant to the role.

The ideal candidate will possess the following skills:

  • Experience working in a fast moving busy office environment.
  • Ability to work to deadlines, quickly and accurately under pressure.
  • Ability to prioritise.
  • Discretion required due to nature of the role.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Confident in using Microsoft Excel.
  • Flexible and adaptable.
  • ACA/ACCA/CIMA Qualifications are desirable but not essential.

 

Read more
Featured job
Service Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £30,000 to £35,000 Per Annum
Location: National
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 906655
About the role

This position is based nationally and reports to the Field Service Manager.

Responsibilities

  • Attending customer sites across the UK and Ireland as required by the business.
  • Delivering routine preventative maintenance and repair work as scheduled by the service coordinator.
  • Attending product breakdown calls, providing technical assistance to customers and supporting service refurbishment activities.
  • Working efficiently and safely, always within the companies Health & Safety guidelines.
  • Delivering high standards of customer service and maintaining a commercial outlook towards the business.
  • Occasional visits to our parent company in Denmark or attending other manufacturing sites for the purpose of training or support.
  • Active input into the strategic activities of the business when required.

Qualification 

  • Full clean driving licence
  • Knowledge of ventilation systems
  • Knowledge of refrigeration systems
  • Knowledge of control systems
  • Health and Safety, including but not limited to, a strong understanding of making and working within risk assessments and method statements.

Skills

  • Electrical
  • Braising
  • Fault finding

Experience

  • Service and preventative maintenance on HVAC products at a national level

Personal attributes

  • Honest
  • Diligent
  • Flexible
  • Supportive Team player
  • Work effectively and safely alone.

Hours

Monday to Friday 08:30 – 17:00 with a 60-minute unpaid lunch break. However, will be expected to work such additional hours as are necessary for the proper performance of your duties.

Reward Package

  • Competitive Salary (based on experience/qualifications)
  • Bonus scheme (Profit related)
  • 25 days holiday per annum (up to 5 days used for Christmas shutdown) increasing with length of service, up to a maximum of 30 days per year
  • Company sick pay (after 13 weeks service and increases with length of service)
  • Pension Scheme
  • Auto-enrolment 3% employee contribution and 2% employer
  • Group Personal Pension Scheme (once qualified) 3% employee contribution and 3% employer increasing with length of service
  • Life Assurance (2 x basic salary)
  • Private Medical Insurance (once qualified)
  • Childcare Voucher Scheme
  • Employee Assistance Programme

Other benefits

  • Monthly flexi-Fridays (staff can leave at 2pm, having made the time up that week)
  • Medical appointments paid up to one hour (excluding opticians)
Read more
New job
Truss Designer
Sector: Property and Construction
Salary: £30k-£32k
Location: Halstead
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 907456
About the role

Just Recruitment is currently recruiting on behalf of an independent Builder and Timber Merchants based on the Suffolk/Essex border.

They supply to retail, sole traders, commercial trade and small contractors right up to national house builders and developers.

They are looking for a Truss Designer to join the team.

The role will involve working with architects and engineers as well as creating layouts for roofs. The candidate will be working with 3D drawings and using systems such as Wolf Enterprise and Rivet.

The successful candidate will:

  • Have experience in a similar role
  • Experience in using Wolf/Rivet systems
  • Be detail conscious, with the ability to ensure work is always completed accurately and on time
  • Able to liaise with customers and provide knowledgeable service both in the office and on-site
  • Have a clean driving licence
  • Be highly customer focussed
  • Be highly organised

Benefits:

  • Competitive salary subject to experience
  • Contributory Stakeholder Pension Scheme
  • 25 days holiday plus bank holidays
  • 40 hours per week, Monday-Friday 8am-5pm
Read more
New job
I-Beam Designer
Sector: Property and Construction
Salary: £35,000 - £40,000
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 907449
About the role

The Just Recruitment Group is currently recruiting for an I-Beam Designer to join an independent Builder and Timber Merchants in Colchester. 

Monday to Friday 8.00am to 5.00pm 

25 days holiday rising with continuous service 

The company has its own manufacturing facility producing Truss, Eco-Joists and I-Beams. They also stock and supply a wide range of heavy as well as light side building materials, timber, sheet materials, landscaping products, joinery and doors. 

The in-house designers will produce EU5 approved Truss and I-Beam solutions for almost all types of construction. 

The vacancy is for an existing Designer/Estimator to design and price I-Beams. 

The successful candidate will have relevant construction design and estimating experience and will need: 

  • A Clean Driving License 
  • The ability to ensure work is always completely accurate and within time constraints. 
  • To be highly customer focused – have good communications skills, with both customers and colleagues. 
  • To liaise with customers and provide a knowledgeable service both in the office and on-site visits. 
  • Attend customer and site meetings as required. 
Read more
New job
Group Financial Controller
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: £50,000 - £58,000
Location: Earls Colne
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 907432
About the role

The Just Recruitment Group is currently recruiting for a Group Financial Controller within the property sector. 

The role will involve day-to-day finances, the controllership function and any ad hoc projects that may arise – contributing significantly to the commercial management and strategic direction of the company. 

Responsibilities:

  • Running the daily accounting processes, delivering weekly, monthly and board financial reporting, according to applicable accounting standards and to internal and external reporting deadlines. 
  • Overseeing accurate, efficient and timely transactional processes.
  • Preparing and reviewing bank reconciliations, loan schedules, inter-company recharges etc. 
  • Monitoring and forecasting company cash flows. 
  • Debtor and creditor reporting and management. 
  • Review of payroll, VAT and corporation tax returns processed by external accountants. 
  • Commission and expense claim review. 
  • Review and transmission of BACS files. 

Requirements:

  • A degree qualified ACA or ACCA accountant with a commercial and analytical approach.
  • The ideal candidate will have had previous experience in a commercial finance controller role, as well as managing staff members. 
  • Experience in budgeting, forecasting and reporting. 
  • Intermediate to advanced applications software expertise (Excel, Xero plus others). 
  • Meticulous attention to detail and accuracy in work product. 
  • Ability to meet and establish deadlines. 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with all levels of staff and a team player. 
  • Flexible, energetic and highly motivated with the ability to thrive in a fast paced, high growth environment. 
Read more