Question of the Day – What Makes a Good Employee?

Last night I had to make a quick trip to the grocery store. As I was walking into the store, I noticed a young man out gathering up grocery carts. I kid you not, a 90-year old with a walker could have moved faster than this kid was moving. Of course it’s hard to move quickly when your pants’ waistline is halfway down to your knees (how pants like this are allowed on the job is beyond me).

The sight got me to thinking about what makes a good employee? I came up with a short list of my own ideas. If I was a manager, this is what I’d like to see in an employee (or associate):

1. A good employee knows what job they are supposed to do and does it without prompting. When they are done with that job, they ask for another job. They don’t just stand around.

2. A good employee hustles! Those hours that you are on the clock don’t belong to you, they belong to the company (that is what you agreed to when you took the job). An employee who does otherwise is stealing from the company.

3. A good employee treats customers (even rude customers) with respect and courtesy. SMILE (even though you don’t want to).

4. A good employee picks up trash and doesn’t just walk by and leave it on the ground.

5. A good employee takes pride in their work and in their appearance.

6. A good employee asks their manager what they can do to improve their performance.

7. A good employee has fun on the job.

8. A good employee does more than they are asked.

9. A good employee goes out of their way to serve a customer’s need even if it isn’t in their department.

10. A good employee asks for more responsibility and promotions if they feel they are deserved.

Okay, those are my thoughts. What about you?

In your opinion, what makes a good employee?

Tomorrow we’ll tackle what makes a good manager.

8 thoughts on “Question of the Day – What Makes a Good Employee?”

  1. I agree with everything you said, JLP. However, one must also question what role the managers, trainers, etc. play as the employee joins the company.

    In my own job, a person can ‘succeed’ or ‘fail’ based on how they are indoctrinated into their role.

    Don’t get me wrong, there MUST still be personal accountability on the employee’s part, but some of that accountability also lies in the hands of the managers, trainers, etc. These individuals may not even ‘care,’ and may let these items go to the side because they, themselves, lack motivation to take pride in their work.

    Just a thought…

  2. A good employee does not spend all day reading and commenting on websites. Oh wait, I have to get back to work.

  3. I think the list can be shortened down to two.

    1. A good employee care about the customers and believe the customers are entitled to be treated like he/she would like to be treated.
    2. A good employee does not have have a “us vs management” attitude. Kill the unions!

  4. #3 reminds me of a recent job posting on Craigslist for a “counter server”:

    Position: where ever needed. steam milk, smile, serve great food, smile, bus tables, smile, clean the corners, smile,
    sweep the floor, smile, make latte after latte after latte, smile

  5. Usually, a good employer makes (and keeps) good employees.

    If the grocery store has a good incentive system and/or a performance evaluation system, most employees would be motivated to perform well (and the remaining slackers would be let go soon).

  6. When my mum used to manage a store, she had just one sneaky test she did on people. At some point, she and the interviewee would walk from one part of the store to another. She walked at the normal speed she does at work (so she hustled). If they didn’t keep up, they moved to the bottom of the list.

  7. The comment from Beth about management being accountable is true, but a good employee will see the lack of caring from their employer and eventually leave for a better company to work for.

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