extraordinary employee habits

Extraordinary Employee Habits


It is a constant battle for organizations to sustain sales growth, profitability, cost containment, and market share. Extraordinary employee habits can take your business from good to great. Employees power the organization and great habits make it possible.

Employers need extraordinary employees. Employers who focus on hiring individuals and cultivating cultures that contain the following exceptional employee habits will see outstanding business results. Individuals who develop these habits will be top producers in the field and will grow both personally and within the organization.

Developing Extraordinary Employee Habits is not easy. Employers spend millions of dollars every year looking for ways to boost productivity, do things better, or find new techniques to compete in the market.

An Extraordinary Employee Works for Results, Not Time

 We all know individuals whose focus at work is putting in their time. They clock in from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily; make sure they take every break, watch the clock until closing time, clock out, and go home. Now, this becomes their routine, every day punching the clock, putting in their time for pay.

Extraordinary employees don’t work for the time; they work to add value to the organization. They understand the job expectations and continually make an impact, striving to not only meet expectations but to exceed them. These employees work to make a difference for their employer and their customers.

They Make Things Happen

 Let’s face it; the workplace like life is full of surprises and challenges. Some employees respond to challenges, acting like victims, or blaming others. They get frustrated and let someone else fix things. In many instances, they go into autopilot, reacting emotionally — living in a way that they let things happen to them, then enjoy complaining and whining about it. Some are quick to judge, are critical, and cynical about changes in their environment. They respond to workplace challenges, surprises, and change by choosing a positive, productive reaction. They consciously take control over what happens by choosing their response. They cause positive things to happen, rather than be an effect of things going on around them. They are happy, creative, and responsible, always focusing on the overall best outcome for the company and its team members. They make good things happen!

Knows the Score

 Have you ever played a sporting event like basketball or golf when you did not keep score? If you did, you discovered you did not play as hard or perform as well. Some employees drift through their job, never really knowing how well they are doing. They may even be upset; their supervisor is not doing a good enough job at telling them how they are doing. The company or their supervisor imposes any job performance tracking that takes place.

Job performance, knowing how they impact the organization, other team members, and their customers. They define key performance indicators for their job, track performance, and set goals and action plans to make improvements. They care about how well the company is performing and strive to do everything they can to improve the business. They understand the “big picture” of what matters in an organization, learn their part in this effort, and move forward, making it happen. Annually, quarterly, and monthly, employees set objectives that are aligned to support business strategy within their departments. They know the score for the business, their department, and for themselves.

Extraordinary Employees are Focused, Organized, and Efficient

Do you know employees who are scattered, disorganized, and seem to waste a lot of time doing trivial things? Some operate reactively, waiting for a new fire to dictate their next priority or work task. Others spend a great deal of time doing personal stuff on the job like texting, instant messaging, banking, email, Facebook, etc. They are skilled at moving through the details of their job, identifying critical information, and organizing their workflow into efficient systems. They crank out work using the best methods while striving for new improvements. They keep their work time and personal life separate, staying focused at work, not wasting time. Their work arranged in a way that keeps them proactively focused and efficient, not firefighters.

Shows up Big – Is Engaged and Motivated.  Some employees are motivated as long as a supervisor is present; there is a new incentive carrot, a threat of punishment, or something in it for them. Extraordinary employees are self-motivated without external influence. They love their job, care about the company’s success, are committed, and go the extra mile because they care. It’s not just what they want, and it’s who they are. These employees don’t just go through the motions; they show up big, actively making a difference with passion and enthusiasm. They volunteer for assignments, offer suggestions, develop new improvements, perform extra tasks without being asked, and always give 110% effort.

Selfless Team Player & Service-Oriented

 Do employees at your office focus on making themselves look good or only do things that have something in it for them? Do they help other team members or departments? They are not just in it for themselves; they care about the company, their team, team members, and their customers. These employees can take the lead or follower role within an organization, as appropriate for the overall success of the group. They define success as a “we” rather than a “me” issue. Working as a team player, they inspire and promote shared values to focus the team in the same direction. They keep others informed of relevant information, as needed, cooperate well with other departments, and assist with the best outcome for the group.

Besides being a team player, extraordinary employees know their customers, internally and externally. They are relentless in making sure they understand what’s important to them and meet or exceed expectations. They make realistic commitments and ensure they return calls and emails promptly, always following through doing what is right for their customers and the team.

Stays Knowledgeable and Trained

 Ordinary employees look for the company or supervisor to train them in their job. They expect the organization to continually keep them up to date on their skills and job knowledge.

Exceptional employees dive in asking questions, seeking training, and develop the skills and knowledge needed for the job, on their own. These employees take ownership of keeping their knowledge, skills, and abilities state-of-the-art. They read articles related to their job, take courses to improve their skills, ask for increased work experience, and actively increase their value and skills for the organization.


 Some employees gauge their behavior and actions based on what they can get away with, following the minimum requirements dictated to them from handbooks, department rules, and supervisors. They base their behavior on what they see others doing. They have personal values that guide how they work, interact with others, and govern their overall behavior. Furthermore, they, too, learn and follow company requirements, but they typically live and act with higher standards that are required. They work and behave by values, like giving more than a good day’s effort, being honest, working with integrity, being kind to others, and being dependable. They learn the company values as well and incorporate them into how they behave on the job.

Solves Problems and Continually Improves

Identify and resolve problems creatively on an ongoing basis. They continually strive to make things better and better, raising the bar for success. These employees don’t settle for average or accept things as they are. You’ll never hear them say, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Instead, you may hear them say, “I know we can do better; let’s think about other ways to make improvements.”

Choosing to be an extraordinary employee  is within reach of everyone. It is more about choosing your attitude and how you react to life than it is about skills and abilities. Compare your attitudes against each of the topics discussed in this article. Resolve today to live and act as an extraordinary employee. Define specific objectives, plans, and actions needed to improve how you show up at work and in life in general. In today’s market, organizations select and keep only their top-performing employees. Extraordinary employee habits in these key areas will not only make you one of the elite but will help your organization grow and thrive.

Author: Ken Spencer, President and CEO

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