After watching our video about the importance to adapt and grow in order to better deal with changes in terms of your career, it is also important to note that upgrading skills and changing your career are not the only things you can do to grow. Hence, here are 5 tips for you to be a better employee!
1. Having the initiative
Regardless of your work experience, one thing that most, if not all, employers look for, is whether their employees have the initiative. The initiative to help, the initiative to come up with ideas, etc. While it is still possible for an employee to get by without having any initiatives, simply obeying instructions and doing whatever he’s been told to do, it is unlikely that he will be valued by the company, and hence, is less likely to stand out as compared to other employees who do have the initiative. Having the initiative though, does not mean that you should become someone like a teacher’s pet. There is a difference between taking the initiative in order to please your boss as compared to taking the initiative in order to help the company.
For example, your colleague has to do OT in order to meet a deadline in order to secure an important client for your company. And you, having no particular commitments for the evening, chooses not to help, but you jump at the chance whenever your boss asks the team if anyone wants to lead a project even if there are other people better suited to do it. Taking the initiative at the right time often requires you to weigh whether your capabilities are suited for the task at hand, and should be applied to all, including your colleagues, instead of merely in pursuit of your boss’s favour.
2. Provide solutions, not problems
While some jobs might be easier than others, there are no jobs in the world where you won’t encounter any problems or challenges. What sets a good employee from the mediocre one apart is if the employee will provide the solution to the problem. It is easy to simply ask your supervisor or your boss whenever you encounter any problems because they are more experienced, and should have encountered the problem before, and thus will have the solution ready. However, if you have to rely on your superiors for help whenever you encounter any problems, then isn’t it easier for your superiors to do your job for you in the first place? Definitely, a good superior or boss should be open to answer your queries and to render you help and advice if need be. However, if they are offering solutions to most of the problems you encounter in your own job scope, then you should be wary if your company were to go through any retrenchment exercise.
There will be situations when upon facing a problem, you will not be able to decide as the authority does not lie with you. However, you should not simply raise up the problem to your superior. You should analyse the problem, come up with a few possible solutions, weigh the pros and cons of each solution, and surface all of these to your superior. This will not only make things easier for your superior as he or she can simply decide on the spot based on the facts that you’ve provided him/her, it also will illustrate that you are someone who has done your homework, and is actively trying to solve the problem. Only then, your superior will feel reassured in your capability and trust you to take on more responsibilities in the form of a promotion or a pay raise.
3. Having standards
A lot of times, work gets repetitive. You might end up having to do the same few tasks everyday, or that the steps to handle a project are the exact same as any other projects, so you will just follow through. And definitely, you will (and really should) find ways to make things easier for yourself by having templates that you just need to fill in, or contacts to source for any necessary resources, in fact, any tools necessary in order to get your work done ready. However, it does not mean that just because the tasks are the same few things everyday, and you have the necessary templates or tools to get the job done sufficiently right now, your work quality is perfect. There are always rooms for improvements. A template that you’re using right now, may not be as useful the next year. A tool you’re using right now, may not prove to be the most effective 2 years later. While doing your “repetitive” tasks, always be on the lookout on what can be improved, what can make your job easier, what can help you to elevate the quality of your work. A tool that you’re using right now can even become obsolete months down the road. Hence, just because it still works, doesn’t mean that it’s good for you or the company.
4. Networking / Socialising
A bad news for the introverts, but no matter what field you are in, having a good network is important to add value to yourself as an employee. The social network that you have can be friends you have from school, or acquaintances that you have met from drunken nights, and even clients that you’ve worked with before. And the social network you have need not to be wide, but they should be strong. There are various reasons as to why it is important to have a strong social network. One, knowing and talking to more people, allows you to learn vicariously through their experiences. There is only so much that you can get to see, hear, experience and do in your lifetime. Hence, getting to know what others have gone through, allows you to broaden your perspectives and will aid you in thinking out of the box whenever you face a problem that others might have encountered before.
Another reason is, opportunities. Having a social network formed of people from all walks of life, they may or may not be working in professions that have direct relations to you. They might even working for your competitor companies. Hence, in the event that you receive a setback in your career, and may be looking for opportunities elsewhere, having the right contacts to point you in the right direction may save you days or even weeks of constantly surfing job portals and sending of your resumes. Even if you are not looking to change a job, knowing the right contact may allow you to secure deals that would have never happen otherwise.
Hence, no matter how busy you are in your work, don’t forget about maintaining your social network, and also, it’s beneficial for your mental health.
5. Be somewhat “gossipy”
This is a somewhat controversial tip at first sight, but let me explain to you why. In a company, you are often working among other colleagues. In fact, they might be the people you see most in a week, much more than your family and friends. As such, it is important for you to understand the people whom you are working with. While there isn’t a strict need to become friends with your colleagues, but getting to know your colleagues beyond the surface is important to understand how the interpersonal dynamics in your company works. Your colleagues are just as human as you, and they also have their likes and dislikes. If you have colleagues that you are more comfortable to work with, for reasons such as they are easygoing, they are friendly, or simply because they are efficient, then you can be sure that your colleagues will have their own thoughts as well. As such, what better way to get to know their thoughts than through gossip? Listen in to the conversation that your office gossips partake in, probe a little further if need be, but don’t be one of the gossips. That’s not a reputation you want to have. Knowledge is power, and you will be surprised by the power you will have when you grasp the interpersonal dynamics of your office. When you’re tasked to lead a project, knowing who works best with who, and avoiding pairing people who aren’t comfortable with each other will allow your work process to go on smoothly. Of course, if you are able to resolve any interpersonal conflicts between colleagues, then it’s definitely a bonus. Just don’t end up causing conflicts.
These are 5 tips that will aid you to be a better employee in your workplace! Know that the more value you can add to the company, the more value you are adding onto yourself. If you prove to be an employee valued by a particular company, you can be sure that other companies will see the value you have as well.
*images are behind the scenes photos from a yet-to-be-released video. Look forward to it!