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Become a diamond employee in 5 simple steps

20 Aug 2014 by Sarah Leembruggen.

In our recent Salary Survey, more than 700 PR and Communications professionals were asked about a number of topics relating not only to their salaries, but also to levels of job satisfaction. The survey generated so many interesting findings that we thought would delve a little deeper into the implications of some of the responses.

The first topic in this series relates to the question:

Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best at work every day? 

55% agreed that they did, 26% disagreed and 19% weren’t sure. 

With almost half of the participants not feeling as though they are showcasing their best talents at work, we felt it would be timely to share some tips on making sure that you are positioning yourself in the best way possible to exploit your abilities. 

Spending time helping yourself succeed will simultaneously impress an employer and make it obvious to them what it is that you do best.  It will also create success for others. Remember, great employees spend the majority of their time helping other people succeed.  In doing so, you will stand out from the crowd. Being noticed for the right reasons will put you in the perfect place to do what you do best at work.

Check out these 5 simple steps and see if you’re on track to superstar employee status:

1. Be first—but with a purpose.

Being the first to arrive each day to organise your thoughts and get a head start on your email is great, but it won’t get you noticed. Be the one who gets in early or stays late in order to get things done—things that are visibly worthwhile for the company. Take care of or try to tackle an unresolved problem from the day before; chip away at an ongoing project that others ignore; set things up so it's easier for employees to hit the ground running when they come in. Not only will your performance stand out, you'll also start to be known for something specific.

2. Go above the norm.

Meeting standards, however lofty those standards may be, won't help you stand out. Instead, pick a mission that people will notice and excel at that mission. 

Be the leader known for turning around struggling employees. Be the manager who consistently promotes from within. Be known as the employee who solves problems rather than making them, responds quicker, acts faster, and always follows up.  Be the member of the team who others can turn to for solid advice, support and guidance or the one who’s always willing to volunteer for something at short notice.

3. Take action—quickly!

Lots of employees are happy to take verbal stands. Few take a stand and put effort behind their opinions. Say you think a project has gone off the rails; instead of just pointing out its flaws, jump in and help fix it. Everyone talks about problems. The people who help fix them stand out.  Superstar employees will make up their minds and take action within 24 hours. No employer can fail to notice this.

4. Be human.

Don’t set out to show that you are a cut above the rest without remembering to show a little of your personal side. Not only will sharing your interests help other people to identify and remember you, but you’ll also offset any risk of becoming known as the one who’s ‘all work and no play’. Just make sure your personal interests don't overshadow professional accomplishments. Being ‘the one who does triathlons’ is fine, but being ‘the one who is always training and doesn’t seem to want to socialise’ is not. Let people know a little about you; a few personal details add colour and depth to your professional image and takes you that all-important step closer to being recognised.

5. Work smarter, not harder.

If you find that you are working so hard that you’ve almost run yourself into the ground and no longer have the energy and enthusiasm you did when you first joined the company, you need to break that pattern right now.  Working culture dictates that nothing beats hard work. But there’s a significant difference in outcome when you work smart rather than hard.  Steer your focus in one direction so that you’re doing one thing really well; that one thing should be something that’s important—something that will bring ‘diamond’ success to those around you.  The trick is working out what that one thing is that you’re going to do really well!  It’s worth investing some thought if you want to shine that little bit brighter and ultimately find yourself in a position where you are doing what you do best.  A win-win situation!

What do you think makes a superstar employee?  

Salary Survey 2017