In my three years of work experience, I’ve trained a lot of people and I’ve worked with even more. Some of those people were amazing at what they were setting out to do while other just weren’t, and you could tell as soon as you worked with them, regardless of skill.
Why was it so blatantly obvious when someone was a good employee, even if they haven’t been trained do actually do the job yet?
I’ve had a lot of time to think about this, and these are the four traits that strong employees immediately display:
1. Willingness to Learn
Right off the bat, I can tell someone is going to be a good fit for the job I’m training them on by how many questions they ask or how they interact with the material I’m teaching them.
I had one employee who would make small talk during her training modules. She never had any questions, which would have been fine, but every other slide she’d stop to talk about something unrelated. This just tells me she was uninterested.
Even after you’ve been working a job for six months, it’s still important to be willing to learn. Sometimes there’s faster ways to do something, or you find out you’ve been doing something wrong the whole time. Mediocre employees tend to get stuck in their ways, while great ones will re-learn something and grow from it.
2. Time Management
It speaks an incredible amount about who you are and what you’re doing if you’re able to be punctual. I’m not just talking about being on time to work every day, but also responding to texts, emails and voicemails in a timely fashion if you aren’t able to answer a phone call. Doing so shows a commitment to your work and a basic respect for those around you.
It’s also important to be able to complete tasks on time, so others don’t have to pick up the slack. If you’re new, you have an exception, but only for a few weeks before it becomes a problem.
Your co-workers or boss should never dread asking you do something because they aren’t sure if you’ll reply or get it done on time.
3. Taking Initiative
It is one of my favorite things when a new employee notices something that needs to be done and asks about it. Obviously they don’t yet know how to handle the task, but to me, this shows that when they do know how to do everything, they would be able to do it without being asked to.
This is a huge thing to employers. It’s not your managers job to babysit you and constantly make sure that you’re on task.
If you see something that needs to be done, just do it. Run it by your manager first if you’re unsure, but they’ll absolutely appreciate you taking initiative.
When an employee is new, you can see this through them showing up on time on and their ability to complete simple tasks when asked. As they start to learn more and more, the complexity of their tasks will increase until everyone can be confident that they can do their job.
However, when you’ve been there a little while, your employer and co-workers should be confident that you can show up on time and do your job to at least a satisfactory level. Don’t give your coworkers a reason to think that you don’t have the ability to do your job.
Think about all the times you’ve looked at your schedule and groaned when you found out who you were working with. Don’t be that person. Don’t give your co-workers a reason to hate working with you.
These are four things that you can tell about a person as soon as they start working, no matter how skilled they are at their jobs. If you see these traits in you, chances are, you’re a good worker.