A female employee is sitting at her desk at work.

7 Characteristics of a Successful Employee

Most of us are always looking for ways to be better at our jobs. Whether it's because we want that raise, we want to work up to a new position, or we just have a lot of respect for where we work, being an effective member of the team is important to us. And even though you might have a lot of work experience, it's good to be reminded of what goes into being a successful employee.

No matter how much work experience you have, and no matter whether you're an entry-level employee or a top executive, here are seven qualities of an effective employee.

How to be a successful and effective employee

Be goal-oriented

If your manager hasn't set goals with you, it's time to have a conversation about it or at least set them on your own. Without professional goals, it's hard to know what's expected of you. Plus, setting goals can remind you of what you need to be working on every day. This will keep your mind focused, and your day busy, and it'll be a track record of why your company needs to keep you on the team.

Show ambition

Something employers love to see in an employee is ambition. Setting goals will assist with this, but being ambitious proves that you're invested in your career, which in turn means you're invested in the company your career is taking place at. Superiors will most likely promote or give special projects to the most ambitious employees on the team because your ambitious attitude means you can be trusted.

Pay attention to the details

From working with numbers to writing important content - even sending emails - details are important. If you don't have an eye for errors in the work you draft, this might show your employer that you're lazy and don't take your work seriously. That's why it's so important to pay attention to every detail in your work. This will also save you time because you won't have to recalculate your numbers, rewrite content, or resend an email.


"Commitment" can be a scary word, and a lot of people tend to run away from commitment. But on the other hand, anti-commitment is a scary thing for employers. If you don't seem committed to your work or company, they won't commit to you. This doesn't mean you have to commit to being at your job forever, but it means that you should mentally commit to where you're at. This will keep your mind at ease, and it will prove that you're going to stick around in the meantime.

Be honest

Did you forget a task that your manager assigned to you? Or maybe you made a mistake on a project. In most cases, it's important to be honest when it comes to human error or mistakes, and you should be honest from the start. Now if you're wondering if you should be honest about an opposing opinion, like how you really feel about your boss' new look, you should probably give that some thought before you're too honest and dig yourself into a hole.

Show up on time

One of the most truth-telling characteristics about an employee is when they show up for work. If you work in an easy-going environment, and you're allowed to show up whenever you want, then that's fine. But if you're told to be at work by a certain time, you need to be there on time...every day. Things do happen, so if you're a bit late, send an email and make up the time at the end of the day.

Do your research

When it comes to asking questions, there are usually two types of responses from supervisors. They either like it when employees ask questions or they dread it. No matter what, we suggest doing research on your own about a question you have. If you can't find the answer, tell your supervisor that you tried to find the solution but still need guidance.

Find out what options you have for continuing your education today!

Learn More