Grow your career on

Advanced Search

Career Guide Articles

View the current Ag & Food Career Guides:

Enhance your career development by signing up to receive relevant career advice delivered to your email! Sign up for the Career Success Kit at

Download      Back

4 Habits of Top Employees

By Erika Osmundson, Director of Marketing & Communications


Ever wonder what the best employees have or do to set themselves apart?  Well, it really isn’t a secret and we are here to share with you the top four habits of the best employees.



Yes, it is as simple as being a good communicator.  However, that entails more than most people think.  First off, a lot of communication is about listening.  Be a good listener and focus on what the other person is saying–not your rebuttal.  Ask clarifying questions.  Listen to understand what the other person is getting at and then formulate your response.  Take your turn; clearly and concisely articulating your thought process.


The other part of communication that often gets overlooked is choosing the right medium.  Is what you want to say best delivered by email, phone or in-person?  Do you need a meeting to cover your agenda or would an email suffice?  Who do you really need to include in the communication?  We’ve created a society of meetings and email trails with everyone.  Really though, we need to be more mindful of how we communicate and who we include.  Time is money!



This isn’t easy for some and if organization doesn’t come to you naturally, that is okay.  There are tips and tricks to help you get there.  Let’s start at the beginning though, by getting to work on time.  Manage your lunch hour if they afford you one–don’t schedule a haircut that will take well over your hour timeline in your first month or two.  Learn what type of flexibility your organization offers before you take it upon yourself to flex.


Create priorities and understand projects thoroughly.  Again, ask questions.  If you have a full list of ‘to do’s’ it is okay to talk with your manager about not being able to accomplish everything immediately but ask for input on how you should prioritize your workload.  You can save yourself time by asking questions up front to ask how to accomplish the project or what the desired outcome is.


Use technology.  There are so many tools at your fingertips to help you stay organized.



Last year in this publication we talked about accountability.  This is the idea that you take on and continue to ask what more you can do for your organization.  Being accountable in the workplace means that you can motivate yourself to get the work done. 


This also has a lot to do with work ethic and problem solving.  It isn’t completing your work and expecting to walk out the door for the day.  It is asking your manager or team what else you can do to help.  It is looking for new ways to do things and continually working to accomplish and solve problems the organization faces.


Team Player

No, you don’t have to love everyone you work with, but you have to be a courteous and respectful employee and colleague.  As employers focus on company culture, understanding how you contribute to help or hinder the company culture is key.  If you are hindering the drive to build a positive company culture, you need to re-evaluate.


You can challenge the status quo or those around you but do this respectfully.  Again, the ability to ask questions and listen is key.


Being a team player also means how you show up outside of work and the perception you leave within the community.  What are you saying about your organization to friends, family and on social media?  How do you support your community?  If you are passionate about community involvement, ask your employer for support.  This is a great way to build an employer brand within a community and be a brand ambassador for your organization.


Step up your game and implement some of these qualities and characteristics to become a top employee today or in the future!