“One of the most important lessons I learned during my years as a CEO was that great employees are not replaceable.” – Amy Rees Anderson, Angel Investor.
Companies do not want to lose their best employees. Valued team members see a faster climb up the ladder, a higher pay grade and more exposure to game-changing exciting projects. They’re also approached with the hottest job opportunities.
But how do you become that star employee?
You can kick-ass at your core skillset, but you can also work on areas that have just as much, if not more impact. That’s because the most valued employees have a lot in common, regardless of their jobs or the companies they work.
We’ve scoured the tech scene to curate the essential list of 16 things you can do to get to the next level. From our panel of Australian tech experts to inspirational leaders, we’ve collated the best tips alongside the most helpful advice on the web.
So put on your best motivational music, and let’s get into it.
1. Buy into the vision
The number one focus for any great leader is to provide a clear goal for the team. They are looking for people to buy into that journey.
“If the team understands what you’re doing and knows that their opinions are heard, it fundamentally changes their approach to work.”
– Blair Cooke, Managing Director, Amicus Digital
Great employees will pay attention, and ensure everything they do is connected to helping the broader team and the company make strides in achieving that goal.
Recommended Read: This hot startup has landed in hot water. Its founder is finding out whether a big vision is enough to lure top talent.
2. Make decisions when it counts
The ability to work autonomously without constant direction is a highly valued trait. There’s not always time to run ideas past managers and employees become appreciated when they make decisions when it counts.
Don’t be afraid to make decisions, back yourself and support others when it counts. If you go for the wrong choice, it’s OK – learn from it and move on.
Recommended Read: The average person makes about 35,000 decisions every day – This simple self-care practice that can help you make better decisions.
3. Care about company progress
Innovative companies rarely stand still. Product features, team priorities and even your responsibilities are open to change as companies find the perfect market fit.
“A positive attitude and adaptability are critical considering tech continually evolves and we need people that than cope with change.”
–Head of Talent, HotelsCombined.com
Be agile, flexible and open to change. Take risks and push boundaries to help the organisation get where it’s trying to go.
4. Gather feedback
Top employees don’t stand still either. Someone who asks for feedback from colleagues and leaders shows they are committed to being there best.
Be proactive and value the opinions of others. Don’t take “you’re doing a good job” as an answer, drill into the detail, look at the metrics, ask for the areas to improve too.
Recommended Read: This Is The Wrong Way To Ask For Feedback At Work
5. Leave ego at the door
The best employees understand that there’s no need to be superior. After all, no one likes a show-off.
When you’re coming into the office, leave your ego at the door, don’t think your opinions are better than anyone else’s and be open to feedback and criticisms, no one is right every time.
“Be smart enough to know that you’re not the smartest person in the room, and continually look for ways in which you can develop and get better.”
–James Bergl, Sales Director at Datto
6. Value time
Everyone is busy. There’s just not enough time to get through all your tasks in the day; the best employees focus on core activities that make progress toward goals.
Think about your time and others. Don’t ask people to do tasks that won’t help them achieve their goals, show people you value their time and plan yours wisely.
Recommended Read: 25 Time Management Hacks That Actually Work
7. Think about the team
Companies value nothing more than a high-performance team; it’s why most job applications say they’re looking for a ‘team player’.
“Our most successful people know they are most effective when they work as a team to get the deal over the line – no man is an island.”
–Head of Talent, Veeam
You’ll get a buzz out of working with a great team, kicking goals and learning from each other. Try not to land them in the dirt.
Recommended read: These Traits Create The Most Successful Teams in Tech
Whether you’re seeking out contacts that could help fuel your skills or looking for industry advice from experts in the field. There’s no better way than networking.
Put yourself in situations that push your boundaries, try and bring in others around you – introduce your boss to people he admires, facilitate conversations and commit to your community.
Recommended Read: Chris Fralic who went from software sales at Oracle to VC – How to Become Insanely Well-Connected
9. Seek answers
We’ve all been in that situation where someone asks a question they could have answered themselves with a bit of effort. Leaders value those who hunt down answers and bring suggestions to the table.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs, Former CEO, Apple Inc.
Seek to find answers, aim to make life easier for everyone around you and respect the time and efforts of your colleagues.
10. Be a positive influence
Energy and positivity go a long way. Working in a growth environment is full of ups and downs – leaders value the positive player who keeps the team spirit high.
Try not to be the person that uses downtime to have a rant and moan. Organise team events, share successes or merely ask your colleagues if they are ok from time to time.
Recommended Read: You Can Train Your Mind to Be More Positive: Here’s How
11. Have Fun
Who wants to work with someone they don’t like? We’re only human; we love being around others who make us laugh and make coming to work that little bit more enjoyable.
When looking for a new role, make sure you’re a culture fit before taking a position. Sign up for a job you’ll enjoy doing every day, with a team whose time you enjoy. Bring your real personality to the table, weird humour and all.
“You don’t have to put in time at work and then escape to life to be happy. You believe in enjoying life and enjoying work.
When you love your job, it’s a part of your life. You feel alive and joyful not just at home – but also at work” – Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO at HubSpot.
12. Share the blame
We all sometimes fail in life. Great employees do too–but just as they won’t let others take credit for their contributions, they also won’t let others take the blame for their failures.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”- Thomas A. Edison
Take accountability for your actions, hold your hands up when you get it wrong and rather than focusing on blame, look at the solution.
13. Put your hand up
Leaders admire people that are looking to take on more responsibility and push their boundaries. In growth environments, leaders think highly of those who are willing to get their hands dirty and step outside of their day to day role. It may also help you get a pay rise.
Take challenges outside of your comfort zone that help you get to where you want to be next.
With work that takes more time, focus on the projects that will help you develop skills for your next career step.
Recommended Read: How To Take On More Responsibility At Work (Without Being A Pushover)
14. Share successes of others
Success doesn’t always come from shouting about your progress. Leaders value those who can get just as excited about the wins of others.
When you’re busy, it can be hard to remember the small things like sending a team email, passing over a Slack high 5, saying ‘nice work’ in the corridor. Praise your colleagues in open forums, shout about there work and help them out when you can.
When you celebrate, endorphins get released into your body, and you feel incredible. When you accomplish something and don’t take the time to celebrate, you are robbing yourself of a vital feeling that reinforces your success.
Recommended Read: 3 Reasons Celebrating Your Many Accomplishments Is Critical to Your Success
15. Show your passion
Valued employees give a crap about what they are doing, whether that’s the skills of your job role or the industry.
Be on a continual learning path, always looking to know more. Attend meetups if you have them, share learnings with the rest of your team, make yourself the go-to inside expert.
Recommended Read: How to Have Fun at Work and Be Passionate About Your Job
16. Know when it’s time to move on
If you no longer buy into the vision, it’s tough to stay motivated.
Accept that this may no longer be the opportunity that’s right for you, and don’t become a negative force – look for your next step and stay awesome.
Recommended Read: Should You Quit Your Job? When To Leave And When To Stick It Out