Become a better employee in 7 easy steps

Career advice, Career development

You may have set yourself a tonne of goals since the beginning of the year; to exercise more, eat healthier or to learn something new. But how many of you have set goals to improve your way of working and become a great employee in the process?

Investing time into your career development is a great way to become an invaluable employee in a competitive market. Not just to improve how your employer views you but to develop skills and traits to rise above the competition when you’re looking for a new opportunity. At the end of 2018 the unemployment rate in the UK tumbled to 4%, the lowest level since the 1970s. Alongside the gig economy, there’s been a rise in growth in the UK export market, making skills such as languages and logistics experience precious to potential employers. If you’re not a bilingual sales administrator with a solid career history within the export market, never fear. We’ve brought together a list of tips to make you stand out in the current job market and perfect your competitive edge.

1. Request Regular Feedback

How many of us can say that we approach our direct line managers for feedback on tasks and duties that we complete daily? Even if your company doesn't conduct regular performance reviews or 1-2-1’s ensure you make it clear to your manager/supervisor that you are interested in receiving frequent feedback. This will help boost your own job satisfaction and help progress your career forward. Let’s face it, nobody is perfect and if we don’t know our imperfections how can we improve?

2. Get Better at goal setting

It’s a proven fact that the ‘stand out employees’ within an organisation are predominantly the ones that step outside their comfort zones and set goals and targets that really challenge them. This ties in nicely with asking for feedback, if you set yourself a goal and you don’t achieve it sit down with your manager and try and figure out where you can improve next time. It was found in a BetterWorks employee survey that 92% of employees said they would work harder if their colleagues could see their goals. So, don’t be afraid to step outside that comfort zone, set goals, hang them up and aim for them!

3. Manage your time better

It’s one thing to set yourself goals and targets, but its another to meet them on time. It has been proven by the project management institute that only 64% of project managers ever meet their goals. Getting the job done without missing a deadline can quickly make you a workplace superstar, as it shows commitment, dedication and efficiency, all skills employees thrive for! A great tip for this, keep it simple, straightforward and take small steps to every milestone.

4. Send Better emails

The best tips anyone can offer you when it comes to writing emails both internally and externally is, keep them short, sweet and to the point! Too often we tend to go off on tangents when it comes to providing customers with information. All they want to know is that you can do what they ask and how quickly you can do it for them. 

  • Get right to the point, you can explain later if needs be
  • Take ownership and establish your own credibility
  • Make the process and next steps clear
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a quick proof read if you need it
5. Step up your social media game

As we are now dominated by the social media world, have you taken a step back to think how your online profile would look to a prospective employer or future employer? Make sure your profile does not set a bad tone about your personality, avoid anything controversial. Set your profiles to private and think carefully before you hit that like or share button on a post! There is nothing worse as a recruiter to get that call from a company who was looking to make an offer to a candidate but has come across something on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter that could have a negative impact on their company going forward.

6. Show Gratitude

It is a proven fact we all like to be thanked for a ‘job well done’; this goes for employers as much as it does as employees. You will soon see how much more productive and positive a working environment can be when there is a two-way communication street of gratitude.

7. Improve your soft skills

Who can honestly say that we listen to and are empathetic towards our employers/customers at the very end of our working days as we are first thing in a morning? It is so easy to let ourselves slip after a big lunch, or that afternoon sales meeting, so what can you do to avoid this? Firstly, you need to learn how to handle pressure healthily, dealing with these pressures demands the ability to manage your emotions. You need to figure out what your coping mechanisms are, whether it’s taking five minutes away from your desk, or asking a fellow colleague for guidance, figure out a way that works for you and use it!

Secondly be a good listener! Everyone wants to be understood and heard, however the ability to listen well and respond to others is crucial in developing strong working relationships. Many of us think we are good listeners, but many of us struggle with understanding other people’s points of view. Set aside your own emotions and put yourself in your colleague or customers shoes at every possible opportunity. Again, think about your emotions, your tone of voice and your body language. All these factors coupled together are what make a great listener!

Written by Jamie Cowman and Katie Lynch, Bradford branch