Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ten Characteristics of Star Employees

[Published in Manila Bulletin in July 2011]

In the workplace, there will always be star employees who shine. These people are well-liked by their bosses. They reach their targets or accomplish notable achievements. They are star performers, which is why they get recognized by their company and get promoted faster than the rest of the regular folks. It’s pretty cool to be a star employee. So let’s all aspire to be one.

If you are presently employed, I’d like you to take a good look at yourself. From a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, how would you rate your general work performance? If you were your boss, would you point to yourself as a star employee?

If your answer is yes, then keep up the good work. Kudos to you! However, if you are not quite there yet and would like to become one, let’s take a look at the qualities that separates star employees from ordinary ones.

1. They are Always Present
Star Employees are always present physically, mentally and emotionally. This means that they have good attendance records. They understand that quantity affects quality of time---that no matter how brilliant you are, if you’re not present for work, then you can’t really do a good job. So they come to their place of work, alert and ready to face the challenges the day brings. They leave their personal issues and problems at the door which allows them to focus on the job at hand.

2. They are Results-Oriented
When Star Employees are busy, they really are. They do not spend all day doing things just to look busy. They actually do tasks that they deem instrumental in helping them reach their goals. These people look at the end-results all the time. They measure their performance with targets and actual results. For example, star salespeople know their sales targets by heart. They find the best use of their time that will get them the desired results.

3. They are Self-reliant
Star employees do not need to be micromanaged. They require very little supervision as they are capable in making common sense decisions. They are not too dependent on their bosses or co-workers. Unlike some people who ask their bosses to solve everything and decide on the littlest of things, they are well-capable of managing themselves and dealing with everyday work issues. They are also self-motivated.

4. They are Reliable
Star employees carry a sense of dependability about them. They look and act responsible. Bosses feel at ease assigning them to important projects because they are diligent and consistent with the quality of their work. They are steadfast which is why they don’t make their bosses worry too much about project completions.

5. They are Progressive
To most employees, change is difficult to swallow. They like doing things that they are comfortable with. They like things to be the way they are. Star employees, on the other hand, can adapt well to change. In fact, they initiate it. They constantly look at how their work, the procedures and systems in their office can be improved. In the process they find innovative solutions that increase their company’s profits or generate huge savings for the company which their employers appreciate.

6. They are Good Reporters
Star employees are on top of things. Bosses often get frustrated in constantly reminding their subordinates about things they need to do and they often waste a lot of time following up on projects. Meanwhile, the star employee gets there first. They regularly update their bosses and teammates on what’s happening. You don’t have to ask them what’s up with this account, because chances are, they’ve already told you before you even thought of asking.

7. They can Communicate with Ease
When star employees talk to people, they are not tense and uptight. They communicate in a comfortable and enthusiastic manner which makes the other person feel at ease right away. They can talk to bosses, co-workers, suppliers and customers very well in a conversational manner. They are naturally personable which draws people to them.

8. They are confident
Many people equate confidence as being extroverted and outspoken. But not all star employees are made that way. There are many star employees who are quiet and not so gregarious. See, confidence is about knowing who you are and your self-worth. Star employees know their capabilities and limitations. They courageously face challenges and are not afraid to seek assistance if needed.

9. They Go the Extra Mile
What sets star employees apart from regular folks is they go further than what is expected of them. If they are expected to know a specific product of their company, they go the extra mile in learning the whole product line, the competitor’s product, pricing and promos. If they are expected to reach a sales quota, they don’t stop upon reaching the quota. They go for more. They do a little bit of extra when it comes to their work and even their relationships.

10. They are Grateful
Most important of all, star employees are grateful. They are not brats who feel entitled to all the benefits, rewards and incentives given by their company. Instead, they sincerely appreciate what is given to them and make it known by saying thank you all the time. The reason why they perform better than the rest and why bosses like them is because they know how to value their jobs, their employers and colleagues.

Now, given the ten characteristics above, take a look at yourself. Which of these traits do you have? Which ones do you lack? Are you a star employee?

Aspire to be a star employee because it’s pretty cool to be recognized and appreciated by your bosses and colleagues. Not to mention the perks and rewards attached to it. Everyone has the capacity to become a star employee, all you have to do is hone yourself and build on the ten characteristics of a star employee.

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