As employers, we are all looking for team members that have ‘it’. We know when it is lacking, and we know when it is exceptional, but most often it falls somewhere in between. The ‘it’ factor we are talking about is, of course…work ethic. Work ethic is often discussed as a generic, basic quality that you either have or you don’t, but if you really start delving into the different ways that work ethic is demonstrated, you will quickly realize that most workers fall somewhere in a range. 

Here is a look at 5 notable ways to demonstrate a strong, top-level work ethic on the job. If you have a strong reputation for all five, you will likely never have a problem being recognized as a standout employee. However, if you are falling short in any of the areas listed below, there is room for improvement.  

Focus on Quality

People with a strong work ethic are focused on producing quality work. For them, it isn’t about going through the motions and just getting the job done; it is about doing it well. They take a deep sense of pride in their work, and have high expectations of themselves. Whether it is paying meticulous attention to detail, coming in early or staying late to meet a deadline, or appropriately noting and reporting issues that are preventing them from producing – they set the bar. This is not to say they don’t make mistakes, of course they will; the difference between high work ethic employees and everyone else is they take accountability for their mistakes and they learn from them. The will not brush a big error under the rug and hope no one notices, the proactively call attention to it so it can be fixed.

Strive to Be Above Average

Those that have an intrinsic appreciation for the role that work plays in their lives and do not take their jobs for granted. Their professional reputation matters to them, and they will not be flippant about how they approach their work because they understand how it will reflect poorly on them. They arrive ready to work each day, they manage their time, and they build healthy peer relationships. These workers understand that their job matters, their income matters, and their reputation matters as it is a means to keep everything else – so they don’t want to put it at risk. To them, it doesn’t matter if it is a normal occurrence for others to arrive late, take long breaks, or call out regularly – that is not who THEY are. 

Stay Busy During Downtimes

There will be periods of time at work when your workload is light or systems go down. It happens in every industry, at every organization. While it might be tempting to use those downtimes to catch up on all your friends’ social media posts, get trapped in an endless web of cat videos on YouTube, of have an epic meme battle with your co-workers, those with strong work ethics will recognize that time is money and seek out opportunities to stay busy and provide value while others are idle. From catching up on filing, to organizing and cleaning their workspace or a shared space, there is usually no shortage of activities that can add value. Of course, this isn’t to say they can’t find a little time to participate in fun workplace antics (as they can be a great relationship building tool), but those with strong work ethic will find balance and commit to being a good steward of company resources.

Ditch The Drama

Those with a strong work ethic will avoid workplace drama and politics like the plague. They will not get caught up in the gossip and rumor mills. Instead, when conflict arises, they will not contribute to it  – they will redirect in a professional manner. Instead of commiserating with a fellow co-worker about the annoying thing Johnny did the other day, they will encourage the peer to go work it out with Johnny or they will recommend bringing it to the attention of leadership. They know that drama at work is little more than a distraction and noise that creates a negative workplace, and their aren’t going to waste their time participating in that.

No Excuses

These hardworking individuals are deeply driven to success. They want that feeling of accomplishment that comes along with winning. When the going gets tough, they don’t make excuses, they find a way to make it work. When faced with a failure, the word ‘but’ isn’t in their vocabulary; instead, they focus on what they can do differently to succeed next time. Even when there may be reasonable explanations for why a deadline wasn’t met, or why they lost that big client – they spend their efforts on what is next. When they get a big win. they don’t hang their hat and rest – they start going after their next big win. 


If you are looking with candidates that are eager to prove their work ethic to you each and every day, contact us.