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

New job
Manufacturing Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Negotiable
Location: Haverhill
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 911476
About the role

Just Recruitment is currently recruiting for an experienced Manufacturing Engineer for a company based in Haverhill, Suffolk.

The company design, develop, prototype and high-volume manufacture for its clients and their special applications worldwide.

Its products address customer challenges related to custom optical connectivity and cable assembly solutions. These include hermetically sealed optical sub-systems, high-efficiency laser and detector coupling. Applications range from traditional fibre optic networking to industrial, nuclear, space and medical applications.

Your Role:

To support the Manufacturing of existing products and processes to meet stringent customer expectations of timescales, cost and reliability.

Key Responsibilities and Duties:

  • To oversee and provide direct Engineering support to the manufacturing team
  • To ensure products are manufactured to an agreed specification
  • Create and update documentation for the manufacture of products (i.e. work instructions and process cards)
  • To assist in the training of all personnel
  • Actively working to improve manufacturing yields and product reliability
  • Support on-time transfer of products and services to manufacturing
  • To participate in continuous improvement activities to deliver process time and manufacturing cost reduction
  • Commissioning and maintenance of existing tooling/equipment, and where appropriate, identify new equipment needs
  • Attend customer and supplier liaison meetings as required, providing technical assistance to customers and Sales
  • Drive problem-solving Task Teams.
  • Provide the Quality department with engineering support on RMA’s, vendor evaluation and all quality reports when required

Knowledge, Experience, and skills required:

Essential:

  • Degree in an engineering discipline
  • Hands-on with a pragmatic approach and excellent attention to detail
  • Excellent verbal and written communication and influencing skills
  • Good analytical skills, data analysis and presentation
  • Sound grasp of statistical techniques
  • Ability to manage multiple projects effectively and efficiently
  • Strong team player yet capable of independent and creative thinking
  • Minimum of 3 years experience as an Engineer in a high-tech Manufacturing Engineering environment, conducting process control and improvement activities

Desirable:

  • Experience with fibre optic products manufacturing and testing
  • Experience in reliability testing & quality control
  • Experience in technology transfer and related support documentation

Benefits:

  • 25 days holiday plus the usual 8 days bank holiday
  • An extra day off on your birthday (terms apply)
  • Perkbox (terms apply)
  • Auto-enrol pension
  • Working hours Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm – 1 hour lunch break
  • On-site parking
  • Free tea and coffee provided
Read more
New job
Forklift Driver
Sector: Warehouse
Salary: £10.20 per hour
Location: Woodbridge
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 911338
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for Forklift Drivers on a temporary ongoing basis for a company based in Woodbridge, Suffolk.

This is an excellent opportunity to join a prestigious manufacturing company based near Woodbridge in a Temporary to Permanent position, the hours are 5.45am – 2pm and 1.45pm – 10pm.

Duties include:

  • Checking orders
  • Unloading lorries
  • Using the booking in and out system
  • Picking/packing
  • Using SAP (full training given)
Read more
New job
Production Operative
Sector: Warehouse
Salary: £9.10 per hour
Location: Woodbridge
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 911072
About the role

Just Recruitment is currently looking for Production Operatives on a temporary ongoing basis for a company based in Woodbridge, Suffolk.

This is an excellent opportunity to join a highly regarded company that manufacture premium brand products. The hours are 5.45am – 2pm and 1.45pm – 10pm This is an ongoing position.

Duties to include:

  • Manually feeding the production line with bottles
  • Packing of products
  • Assist the machine operators
  • Must have good attention to detail

This is a great chance to join an expanding company.

Read more
New job
Sales Administrator
Sector: Customer Service
Salary: £20,000 - £22,000 per annum
Location: Braintree
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 911475
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for a Sales Administrator to join the team of a busy manufacturer, based in Braintree, Essex.

Working Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 16:30 or 08:30 to 17:00, both with a 30 minute lunch break

The main focus of the role will be to liaise with customers, process orders, and provide administrative support as and when required.

Daily duties will include the following:

  • Processing customer orders and making necessary amendments
  • Sending customers their order acknowledgements and corresponding documents
  • Maintaining and exceeding customer service level standards with current and new customers
  • Matching up returned delivery notes to batch paperwork and invoices
  • Liaising with transport regarding customers deliveries
  • Liaising with production/warehouse regarding product and order lead times
  • Support with the website customers’ orders and updates
  • Support with the customer shipment process
  • Assisting with any other admin duties

GCSE in Maths and English at Grade C and above is required, with a good level of data entry experience.

Manufacturing industry experience would be advantageous.

Read more
New job
Technical Systems Analyst
Sector: Information Technology
Salary: £16.00 per hour
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 911468
About the role

Just Recruitment is seeking a Technical Systems Analyst to work on a 9-12 month ongoing temporary basis for a company based in Sudbury, Suffolk.

Salary:

  • £16.00 per hour
  • Shifts are rotational: 6am – 2pm/2:15-10pm.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Provide technical (help desk) support to system users
  • Assist with master data daily functions and project works
  • Keep up to date with new and changing technologies (internal and external)
  • Advice and help the implementation of new technology
  • Develop and support methods and technical procedures for the site
  • Provide troubleshooting solutions for computer or operating system issues that affect delivery
  • Work closely with all other departments for collaborating IT projects
  • Train staff and stakeholders on technical issues as needed
  • Provide technical support to projects and contractors as requested
  • Analyse complex computer systems, identify problems, and develop and implement logical conclusions and effective solutions.
  • Implementation and training of programme applications appropriate to assigned duties and projects
  • Support demands and service requests according to IT governance strategies, regulations and in accordance with Cyber and Information security policies.
  • Out of hours works required for maintenance works or project plans
  • Maintain confidentiality of information processed or prepared
  • Coordinate, research and analyse reports
  • Stay connected with and utilise company channels such as Teams

Qualifications/Experience:

  • 5 years experience in a similar position
  • Demonstrated success in working with people in establishing change to management plans
  • Strong communication and collaboration skills
  • Experience or training received in providing technical support
  • Performing a wide variety of duties and responsibilities with accuracy and speed under the pressure of sensitive deadlines
  • Demonstrate integrity, ingenuity, and inventiveness in the performance of assigned tasks
  • Ability to adapt to and learn new technologies
  • Proficient knowledge of database structure with the ability to enter, manipulate and report data
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships at all levels
  • Perform time management and scheduling functions, meet deadlines and priorities
  • Must possess positive, professional interpersonal skills

Technical skills:

  • Installation, operating, maintenance and repair of operating systems, networks, and programmes
  • Data analysis and reporting
  • ERP/SQL query data process knowledge
  • MS Power platform (PowerApps and BI)
  • MS 365
  • Windows Operating Systems and controls

Language and communication skills:

  • Ability to compose, read, interpret, and edit complex documents and correspondence
  • Communicate positively, professionally, and effectively to all stakeholders, both verbally and in writing
  • Follow details written and verbal instructions
  • Accurately proofread numerical and text data

Read more