How to Be a Better Employee

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published August 6, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published August 6, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Whether you're starting a new job or have been with your company for years, taking steps to be the best possible employee is always a great idea. Maximizing on your workplace performance can position you for promotions, new experiences and an overall increase in workplace satisfaction. Learning tips for how to be a better employee can help you decide which you want to try right away.

In this article, we share 15 tips for how you can be a better employee at work.

Tips for how to be a better employee

Here are some tips you should consider to improve your performance at work:

1. Request feedback

Asking for more feedback is one of the best things you can do to improve your performance at work. If you don't already have regular meetings with your supervisor, schedule one right away. A one-on-one meeting behind closed doors gives you the opportunity to ask questions in confidence. Consider asking about ways you can improve your communication style, efficiencies and workflow.

You should also ask what you could do to position yourself for other opportunities and projects. Regular meetings usually lead to more candid conversations, so it becomes easier to ask direct questions about the company, your performance or protects you aren't working on but might be interested in.

Related: 10 Tips for Being More Goal-Oriented at Work

2. Give more than 100%

Always put in more than 100% for any work that you do, whether you're taking notes at a meeting or just scheduling meetings. Whatever you do, go above and beyond the basic expectation for your role. By exceeding expectations on a regular basis, you can show your supervisor that you're ready to take on additional responsibilities and position yourself for future promotional opportunities.

3. Learn more

Learn more by reading books and investing in your own professional development. There are books available on a wide variety of topics to help you grow professionally and be a better employee. They can also help you have talking points on hand when you're speaking with executives or managers in the company. Consider looking for books on topics that will help you grow within your specific space, those on topics in areas you want to grow into professionally or books on topics relevant to your industry as a whole.

Also, look for opportunities to take training courses that will make you more valuable to your organization. Talk to people who are in positions that you're interested in and find out whether there are any certifications they hold. Consider pursuing certifications and looking for other ways to improve your skills and make yourself more valuable to the company.

4. Dress for the job you want

Chances are that you've heard this piece of advice before. Dress for the job you want. However, it remains true today as much as it ever has. If you want to get ahead at work, look at the people in positions you hope to have and emulate their clothing, the way they present themselves at work, the way they interact with others and even how they approach their work.

5. Volunteer for additional responsibility

Once you've proven to your manager that you excel in your current work, you should consider asking for additional responsibilities. Even if your manager isn't initially sure what extra work you could take on, look for ways you could help. Look for projects that no one else has the time to take on or responsibilities you could take on for your supervisor, freeing up their time for other tasks. The more willing you are to help out in any way you can, the more you will impress your supervisor and others in your organization.

6. Go to work early

It's always a good idea to get to the office early to be fully prepared for the day ahead. Being at the office early will give you plenty of time to get some coffee, review your to-do list for the day and check emails from the day before. You could also take advantage of the quiet office to focus on your highest priority task during the day, as research shows the majority of people are most productive in the first few hours of the day.

7. Stay focused

It's easy to be distracted when you're at work. Distractions like email notifications, cell phones and last-minute meetings can break your focus and get in the way of your productivity. To better understand what or who is creating the biggest distraction for you, start making a checkmark on a paper each time you lose focus and make note of what created the distraction.

Once you have a better understanding of what's breaking your focus, you can look for solutions. For example, if you work in an office with a door, perhaps try shutting the door for the first few hours of your morning until you finish high-priority tasks. Another idea is to use headphones to drown out distractions around you and encourage chatty employees to come back when you are more available. Close your email entirely so you don't see notifications or new emails coming into your inbox. Also, put your phone on silent and remove it from your desk, especially when you're working on high priority tasks.

8. Learn to prioritize

In addition to improving your focus, it's also important to become good at prioritizing your workload. Start by evaluating everything you need to get done. Categorize your work by deadline and level of importance. Once you've taken these steps, it will be easier to focus on what's most important, while also ensuring all tasks, even the low-priority ones, stay on your to-do list.

9. Speak up

If you have any ideas at work, it's important to speak up. While it's important to make sure that the timing is right for making suggestions, communicating ideas that you have can make a positive impression on your supervisor, possibly even showing them what you have to offer outside of your role. Speaking up and sharing ideas that could improve processes and efficiencies can also emphasize the value you bring to your role.

10. Adopt a solution-based mindset

Develop a reputation for being the employee who remains calm and collected at all times. When problems come up, adopt a solution-based mindset and look for ways to resolve the issue right away. By remaining calm and focusing on a resolution, you can show your manager your leadership qualities, even if you don't currently hold a leadership role.

Related: Using a Growth Mindset to Develop Your Skills

11. Look for leadership opportunities

Look for the opportunity to take on leadership opportunities whenever you can, whether it's volunteering to mentor a new employee, lead a team project or train interns. Your willingness to accept the additional responsibility will reflect well on you in the long-term. It also gives you the opportunity to enhance your resume and show off your natural leadership abilities for your manager.

12. Think like a manager

Start thinking like a manager. That means thinking strategically about what you need to accomplish and what will have the greatest impact on your department and company. Look for opportunities to improve not only your performance, but that of your overall team. That could mean jumping in and helping when necessary or mentoring other employees. It could also be looking for ways to improve workflow or efficiencies to increase productivity.

13. Get comfortable with pressure

People in high-level positions have to deal with a fair amount of pressure, whether from clients and customers, from executives or board members or just to see the company succeed as a whole. To prepare yourself for this, get comfortable with being under pressure. Look for opportunities to take yourself out of your comfort zone and put yourself in situations you may find uncomfortable. It may mean volunteering to deliver a presentation or participate in a big project you're unfamiliar with. Train yourself to be comfortable with high-pressure situations.

14. Be positive

While you may be facing tight deadlines and a heavy workload, it's important to approach every day with a positive attitude. Even if you need to get outside of the office each day for a brief walk and some fresh air, always put a smile on your face when you head back inside and show your manager and those around you that you appreciate the opportunity to work at your company.

Related: 10 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude

15. Network

Networking both inside and outside your office is important. Finding time to have coffee with co-workers or make it to workplace happy hours can make a huge difference for your career. It gives you the opportunity to strengthen the relationships you have with people in the office and help them know you better personally.

This could lead to mentorship opportunities with someone, either inside or outside of your office, who could help guide your career or allow you to connect with someone in another department, who you may not have met otherwise. Both of these situations can help to impress your manager and help them see you as someone who has more to offer the team.

Explore more articles