Being an employee in any company seems simple enough; you’re given a set of responsibilities to carry out, you fulfill them, and go home for the day. The truth is, however, that following that formula won’t make you a stellar employee. Being an employee that goes beyond that requires a bit more effort, and in this article we’re going to be breaking these concepts so that you can truly stand out at the workplace.
Being a Professional
Being an employee and being a professional are two very different things. Being professional at the workplace means acting in a way that is polite, respects others and yourself. Doing your job whilst not following some of those things is what will immediately flag you as a poor employee. You’ll be standing out, but for the wrong reasons.
Being a professional will not only benefit your employer but also benefit yourself. An example of this can be seen with the simple attribute of being honest. If you’re not being honest about, for example, having too high of a workload, you’re more likely to underperform, which is something no one wants to see. Being a professional at your workplace also ties in to the fact that you’re not working alone – you’re most likely working within a multifaceted team that works far better if everyone acts in a professional manner.
The team aspect plays an enormous role in the success of a company. The way in which you navigate the dozens of human interactions you complete on a daily basis will have a tremendous impact on your performance, your identity, and even your mental health. Being a good team player requires a sub-set of skills that although come naturally to some, can be achieved by anyone through diligence and attention to detail. The way you deal with the requests of others, the way in which you speak to your colleagues and even the way you deal with conflict at the workplace, all play an important role in how your interactions are interpreted by your colleagues as well as your employer.
When it comes to working in a team environment, it won’t take long to realise that it’s not too difficult to deal with your colleagues when everything is going well. That being said, it does become difficult when stress is added to the mix. When deadlines start to creep up, when mistakes are made, even when something goes wrong in someone’s personal life. These are the scenarios where your soft skills are pushed to their limits. With that, however, comes the golden opportunity to step up and be recognised. If you’re able to bring calm to a room in chaos with your soft skills, you can guarantee that your employer will notice that, and remember it.
Taking the Extra Step
At the beginning of this article, we looked at the bare essentials of simply being an employee, but if everyone follows those steps, isn’t everyone the same?
The answer, at face value, is simple; the ones who take the extra step. It’s the person who is willing to clock out a few minutes late if the team is working on an important project. It’s the person who’s willing to point out how something can be improved in a constructive way, even if that’s not directly their role. These little things are the keys to moving forward at your workplace, instead of staying in the same place. Another important aspect of this is being open to new ideas, and to your own consistent development. Being willing to learn new things within your field, and expand into new territory will slowly shape you into a person with the attribute the people over in Human Resources are constantly looking for.
One of the things that stunts a lot of people and stops them from growing within a company is aiming to maintain the status quo. Looking at what your colleagues do and copying is a good way to find your feet in a new workplace, but in the long run, if you want to stand out, you have to push boundaries. This isn’t an easy thing to do and does take time. However, if you do it consistently, together with the other things we spoke out, you’ll eventually do one thing that your employer looks for the most; help push the company forward.
Doing this increases your value within the company since you’ll slowly carve out your own unique input to the company that cannot easily be found elsewhere. This will help you be more likely to get promoted further down the line and help you carve out a career, not just a job.