The most frequent frustration I hear from business owners is the challenge they have with hiring good employees. Whatever level of struggle they have overall is magnified several times over when they are hiring younger employees. Specifically, most employers’ experience with the “Millennial” generation is extremely frustrating.
Yet, there is a flip side to the business owners’ frustrations. Millennials – as well as employees of other ages – will have an edge regarding their employment prospects if they develop a few good habits. Those who develop these habits will distinguish themselves from the large number of unemployed people who are unable or unwilling to become good and productive employees.
Whether you are a Millennial, or a friend or parent of one, the traits listed below – if taken seriously – provide a roadmap to the opportunity for people of all ages to be successful in the workplace.
No matter what degree or professional certification you have, your success over the long term is going to be mostly related to how you conduct yourself in the workplace. The habits discussed in this article will set you apart as a valuable and respected employee. If you are a parent, sharing this list with your children will set them up for success if they can learn to develop these habits.
This is particularly true in today’s culture, and especially among young people. Many young people have been raised thinking that the world revolves around them. Unfortunately, unless they had good parenting, most people in their twenties and often beyond do not understand that the real world does not work that way. The fact is that – for most people – work is not something they enjoy much of the time. It is work and it is often not fun. But it is essential to becoming a successful person.
Believe it or not, the first thing that an employee needs to do is to come to work. This means to show up on time and work a complete day or the entire shift. Unless you are really sick, come to work. If you have to work tomorrow, don’t stay up too late tonight and risk not being able to work tomorrow.
Recently one of my clients had a new employee in her mid-thirties. Over the course of a month she used every possible excuse to explain why she could not come in. Between personal sickness, dying pets, family illnesses and deaths, as well as personal emergencies and mental health days, she missed more work than she attended. One particular week when she was covering for an employee on vacation, she managed to only show up to work one day during the entire week. Not surprisingly, we had to let her go.
Show up. Actually go to work. You’ll already be ahead of the pack.
The second habit of work success is to work hard. When you are at work, work. When you work, put energy into it and act alive. Walk quickly and look like you have a purpose. Ambling is great when you are on vacation walking on the beach. But at work, move quickly and purposefully. Visibly display energy.
As a young worker at Kohls, my son has noted that another worker in the shoe department stands around doing nothing when they are not busy. Instead of putting away new inventory or cleaning up the sales area, she wanders around aimlessly, complaining and waiting until she can leave. My son also mentioned that she has already been written up and is likely on her way out. Her inability to work hard when she is on the job will likely lead to her being terminated.
My third suggested habit for Millennials and other people who want to be successful in their job is to plan their life around their work instead of their work around their life. In saying this, I am not suggesting that is acceptable for employers to take advantage of employees. But there are times when businesses require employees to work overtime or come in on a weekend or on their day off. Sometimes it is necessary for an employee to work a different shift.
Most good employers respect the fact that employees have a life. They understand that employees have personal lives and they will generally work with the personal schedules of loyal and productive employees. But they also instinctively can tell when an employee is not committed to their job. One of the ways that this can be determined is by the employee’s response when asked to work extra hours or adjust their schedule. Good employees are willing to adjust their personal schedules at times to accommodate the needs of their employer.
The final suggestion that I want to share that will ensure that you will be able to maximize your opportunity to have a good position is to look for ways to do more than is expected. When in the workplace, keep your eyes open for things that need to be done that haven’t been addressed.
One night after working at his job as Kohls, my son shared that he had spent most of the evening folding shirts. They were apparently a mess in the department next to his, but since the shoe department was not busy, he folded shirts. Employers notice employees who care and who are willing to go beyond the parameters of their particular job.
In summary, here are the four success habits for the workplace:
- Show up on time and work the entire day or shift.
- Work hard. Walk and move with energy.
- Plan your life around your job and not vice versa.
- Do more than what is expected.
People of any age who do the things mentioned in this article will have an edge in the workplace. They will find it much easier to hold a job, and they will be the last to be cut if staffing reductions are needed. The fact is that far too many people are essentially unemployable because they are unable to master the four habits listed above.
If you are a parent, share this article with your children. If you are working, keep these four success habits in mind as you approach your position. If you are a manager, share this list with your team so that, perhaps, employees on your team who do not have these habits will begin to exhibit them.