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. 

    ...employees that make a good impression are those who go above and beyond the call of duty.  

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.”

Published: 01 August 2019

© 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

Senior Electrical Design Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Sudbury, Suffolk
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910031
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Senior Electrical Design Engineer with significant experience in electronics development for instrumentation.

Relocation package could be considered for the successful applicant.

This will be a senior engineering role, working as part of a dedicated R&D team responsible for coordinating sustaining activities across the broad range of our life-saving products.

Our client offers a flexible and dynamic environment and the space to stretch beyond your comfort zone in order to grow both personally and professionally as well as a competitive salary and benefits package and flexible working.

You will work closely with Manufacturing, Quality and Service to coordinate platform enhancements, implement cost reduction projects, drive corrective actions in response to field issues, respond to new regulatory requirements and mitigate manufacturing supply risk and manufacturing quality issues for our blood gas and urinalysis product lines.

You will also be responsible for providing electrical support to your team and daily activities will include investigating hardware complaints, researching and implementing alternative instrument components and designs, identifying lower-cost solutions, developing project schedules, defining V&V plans and ensuring on-time execution of plans.

Your qualifications and experience:

  • B.Eng or M.Eng degree in Electrical Engineering, with significant experience in electronics development for instrumentation (at least five years or more)
  • Good understanding of basic multidisciplinary engineering fundamentals and experience working with multi-disciplinary teams
  • Hands-on experience with analogue and digital design, board layout and qualification, programmable logic and control system development, especially for electromechanical devices
  • The ability to function well both independently and as part of an integrated team
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills are essential
  • Experience with OrCAD, Mentor Graphics PADS, Mentor Graphics Expedition, Microsoft Office or equivalent programs is necessary
  • Experience with stepper motor controls, LabVIEW and Minitab is a plus but not essential
Read more
Mortgage Advisers
Sector: Property and Construction
Salary: £27,000 per annum
Location: Ipswich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909759
About the role

Just Recruitment is representing a growing Mortgage Brokerage based in the Ipswich area.

Due to continued growth, they are looking to recruit experienced Mortgage Advisers to join their team.

The roles itself will be telephone based with all leads provided.

You must be CeMAP qualified with experience as an Adviser.

In return, we can offer you a highly competitive salary with on-target earnings of £60,000 PA.

Read more
Audit Senior/Semi Senior
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: £35,000 - £50,000 per annum
Location: Ipswich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909964
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for an Audit Senior/Semi Senior to work in any location across East Anglia and London.

Overview:

The company’s dedicated public sector assurance team in East Anglia operate across the whole region from bases in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and London, servicing clients in those locations, as well as Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Sussex and Surrey.

The public sector clients include an extensive range of NHS, local and central government organisations, including the police and fire services. These vary in size, from £50 million to £2.2 billion gross expenditure per annum, and in technical complexity.

The Audit Senior works as part of an audit team or takes responsibility for running the audit, working directly with the client under manager supervision.  The Audit Senior manages the audit team and supervises the audit process to ensure our audits are of high quality.

This role is open for applicants that wish to work in any of our locations across East Anglia and London.

Responsibilities:

  • Assists in the planning, execution and finalisation of all areas of the audit assignment for manager or partner review, seeking input for areas of concern and judgement.
  • Predominant amount of time will be spent off-site at clients’ premises.
  • Identifies risk matters and raises with a manager and/or partner, while exercising judgement within agreed parameters.
  • Produce work for the Manager and/or Partner review clearly highlighting issues and providing potential solutions to issues identified.
  • Identify and understand client needs, suggest potential solutions on technical matters and communicate and agree client needs and potential solutions with managers.
  • Active engagement with senior client staff in order to gain a good understanding of their business and ensure the efficient execution of the audit.
  • Take primary responsibility for monitoring progress against budget, and when the actual differs from the budget then gain a full understanding for the Manager.
  • Supervise, coach and develop junior members of staff within teams, on client premises and in the office.
  • Ensure compliance with internal (audit methodology and risk management) and external (regulatory) requirements.
  • Participate in group, stream and firm-wide activities.

Requirements:
Required

  • Newly Qualified ACA/ICAS/CIPFA/ACCA Qualified or overseas equivalent.
  • Educated up to degree level.
  • Experience supervising and coaching junior members of staff on site.
  • Working knowledge of International Auditing Standards (IAS), IFRS, UK GAAP.
  • Working knowledge of firm services, issues regarding advice, and regulation and compliance, including anti-money laundering.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of current economic and market trends.

Desirable
Public sector external audit experience (Local Government, NHS, Central Government, Charities).

Read more
Payroll Assistant Manager
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: £40,000 - £46,000 per annum
Location: Norwich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909895
About the role

Do you have a background in Payroll? Are you looking for the next step up?

Due to continued expansion, our client is now looking for a Payroll Assistant Manager to join their team.

As an Assistant Payroll Manager, you will be responsible for overseeing the smooth and efficient delivery of a growing payroll bureau. Working alongside other managers to develop their existing client base.

You will have:

  • Significant experience of end to end payroll
  • The ability to manage and mentor colleagues
  • A strong knowledge of Sage, Quickbook or Xero

A background of working within a payroll bureau is necessary to be considered for this opportunity.

Read more
Maintenance Administrator
Sector: Engineering & Technical
Salary: £18,000 - £22,000 per annum
Location: Ipswich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909848
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for a Maintenance Administrator to join a company based in Ipswich, on a 12/18-month FTC.

As the Maintenance Administrator, you will be responsible for the efficient and effective delivery of a full range of administrative support within the Service and Maintenance department, ensuring excellent customer service always.

This is a busy role supporting many maintenance contracts while coordinating a number of engineers.

Your main responsibilities:

  • Work with colleagues within the branch to ensure incoming telephone calls are answered and dealt with effectively.
  • Liaise with customers and arrange for engineer site visits to be completed on time.
  • Plan maintenance jobs and delegate to engineers, ensuring engineers have the information necessary in order to be able to deliver a good service to the customer.
  • Provide maintenance quotations to new clients following the installation of new equipment.
  • Be responsible for the renewal of maintenance contracts.
  • Production and administration of maintenance invoices.
  • Chase maintenance quotes.
  • To comply with all Health, Safety and Environmental policies and procedures and all other company policies and procedures.
  • Ad hoc administrative duties as required.
  • Work effectively as part of a small team, filling in and supporting colleagues in periods of absence or high workload.
  • To perform any other reasonable duties commensurate with these responsibilities, the band of the post and skill and qualifications of the post-holder.

To be considered for the position you will have:

  • Previous experience of working in a similar role/industry.
  • Proficient in using CRM systems.
  • Intermediate Excel.
Read more