Five Ways to Impress Your Employer

Are you working at a job with plenty of room for advancement, but can’t figure out how to put yourself ahead of the pack for promotion? Sure, you show up and do your job, but what can you do to set yourself apart and impress the boss? Here are five ways to impress your employer.

Demonstrate Passion
Believe it or not, the owner of a given company probably started their business out of a passion they had for the industry. This passion created enough success for them to hire on additional employees and establish a management structure where advancement was made possible. Even if you work at a larger corporation or government department, passion is recognized as one of the core principals of success in any working environment. Think about it: if you’re responsible for a set of employees and need to choose one of them to take charge of the others, would you pick the one who shows up, does their job, and goes home, or the individual who brings new ideas to the table, shows enthusiasm for what they do, and doesn’t mind staying later to get the work done? Passion can’t come out of thin air, and it doesn’t have to be targeted at the industry itself. You could be passionate about providing excellent customer service, building a strong team, or simply doing the best job you can possibly do.

Five Ways to Impress Your EmployerThink Outside the Box and Provide Ideas Through Proper Channels
Finding ways to save the company money, or improve how it currently operates are key components to making a great impression on your employer. A call center, for example, may have a process that costs agents additional time with each caller. Perhaps you’ve discovered a better way to do the same job, which could result in lower talk times and better overall service levels for the call center. This one idea could save the company a lot of money, and the person who presents the idea will no doubt have a lasting impression on management when promotions become available.

As an example, a call center where I worked for years offered customers a payment plan if they were unable to meet their monthly billing requirements. Their total amount due was split by a percentage, and the remainder would be further split over a period of several months. This required every agent to work out the payment arrangement using paper, pencil, and a calculator. This opened the process up to a higher error percentage as math was rarely as accurate as it could have been, and the amount of time spent with each customer was significantly high. One agent went above and beyond by creating a spreadsheet that calculated the payment arrangement and provided copy-and-paste friendly notes for the account by simply inputting the customer’s total amount due and next bill due date. Time spent calculating the arrangement went from over a minute down to a few seconds. This resulted in faster calls, less errors, and uniform notes that were easier for the next agent to understand. Further to that, the agent who created the payment arrangement calculator was one of the first to be promoted to a lead position during the next round of openings.

Attendance is Key
It’s easy to call in sick if you feel that you need a break from the workplace. The lure of accrued vacation and sick time can be difficult for most people to resist, even under optimal conditions. The fact of the matter is, some jobs have terrible attendance rates, which result in inefficiency and a drop in customer satisfaction levels as customers begin to notice a lack of support. You can see the direct results of poor attendance at your local grocery store. Poor attendance levels result in closed registers, poorly stocked aisles, and a parking lot full of carts. You may notice this more on Mondays, Fridays, and around the first of the month, which are historically bad days for attendance.

When considering who to promote, attendance is often the first thing any manager or business owner reviews. If someone calls in frequently, regardless of the reason they give when they return to work, they’re more likely to be passed over. Poor attendance can be interpreted into a lack of passion or interest in the work. This lack of interest could relay directly to any employees under a member of management, so there’s less incentive to promote someone with poor attendance. Bottom line: unless you’re sick or have a verifiable emergency, try your hardest not to call in.

Dress for the Job You Want
This advice I received from arguably the best manager I’ve ever worked under. She ran a very large division of a Fortune 500 company, and her hiring decisions had a direct impact on the company’s bottom line. One of her core philosophies when hiring or promoting an employee centered around how that candidate dressed on a daily basis. Anyone could spruce themselves up for an expected interview, but how that individual represented their team during day-to-day business was more important than whether or not they put on a tie for a single 30-minute interview.

This applies mostly to office environments or businesses without a uniform dress code. If you show up to work in flip-flops and shorts, you’re probably not doing yourself any favors. When you’re at work, you should dress for the job you want. Take a look at members of management and the attire they wear to important meetings. Do they wear a tie? Do they tuck their shirts in? Are any of them walking around in cargo pants?

Even if they are, you should never take for granted a slacking dress code. Design your wardrobe around the kind of clothes you’d expect to wear if you were interviewing for the position above your own. Believe it or not, this is one of the best ways to leave a good impression on a manager, even if you don’t talk to them directly.

Bottom line: you can be comfortable in your backwards cap and cargo shorts at home. Show up to the office wearing a button-up shirt and slacks with real shoes, and you just might find yourself in a much more comfortable financial situation before long.

Be Honest and Take Ownership
Honesty is the best policy when dealing with management in the workplace. Making up excuses or deflecting blame toward others does little to win the confidence of management. If you’re presented with a problem, how you choose to deal with it says a lot about how you handle the pressures of a higher position within the company. Often, a member of management will present an employee with a situation knowing exactly where the problem exists and who the responsible parties are simply to find out if the employee takes ownership of the problem and assumes responsibility to ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future, even if they had nothing to do with the problem in the first place.

There’s a time and a place for pointing fingers, but the employee who grabs a problem by the horns and takes responsibility for solving it will always come out on top over one who blames a coworker or accepts the blame and does nothing to correct the situation.

The same can be said for situations where you’re facing a problem you honestly believe you can’t solve. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’ve hit your limit, but make sure you’ve exhausted your available resources to finding a solution first. Sometimes, a problem can only be solved by bringing in other members of the team to make it work. This may be exactly what your employer wanted you to do in the first place.

19 comments On Five Ways to Impress Your Employer

  • I had a employer where I couldn’t do anything to impress. When I thought I was finally safe, I had a meeting where my boss told me I was doing great, the next day I received a warning, then was I fired shortly. I busted my butt following their advice and making goals still I couldn’t please the management.  Ihave never been treated like that ever. I felt like bad employee. I am not!

    • Sometimes, you just can’t change a doomed professional interaction. These tips are meant to serve as tips, rather than guaranteed methods of success. You can’t make all of the people happy all of the time.

  • I had a employer where I couldn’t do anything to impress. When I thought I was finally safe, I had a meeting where my boss told me I was doing great, the next day I received a warning, then was I fired shortly. I busted my butt following their advice and making goals still I couldn’t please the management.  Ihave never been treated like that ever. I felt like bad employee. I am not!

    • Sometimes, you just can’t change a doomed professional interaction. These tips are meant to serve as tips, rather than guaranteed methods of success. You can’t make all of the people happy all of the time.

    • Sometimes, you just can’t change a doomed professional interaction. These tips are meant to serve as tips, rather than guaranteed methods of success. You can’t make all of the people happy all of the time.

    • Sometimes, you just can’t change a doomed professional interaction. These tips are meant to serve as tips, rather than guaranteed methods of success. You can’t make all of the people happy all of the time.

  • I had a employer where I couldn’t do anything to impress. When I thought I was finally safe, I had a meeting where my boss told me I was doing great, the next day I received a warning, then was I fired shortly. I busted my butt following their advice and making goals still I couldn’t please the management.  Ihave never been treated like that ever. I felt like bad employee. I am not!

  • I had a employer where I couldn’t do anything to impress. When I thought I was finally safe, I had a meeting where my boss told me I was doing great, the next day I received a warning, then was I fired shortly. I busted my butt following their advice and making goals still I couldn’t please the management.  Ihave never been treated like that ever. I felt like bad employee. I am not!

  • This advice is all “ideal world” stuff.

    Yes, in an ideal world, we’d all have bosses that would appreciate hard-working employees and would reward such efforts, and you’d be judged solely by your ability to deliver and nothing else.

    However, in the real corporate world, you’ll probably have many layers of management above you.  They’re probably looking for an easy time and to do as little as possible, so any real hard-work from you makes them look bad.  When this happens, you’re screwed.  They’ll be out to get you, and they will succeed simply because they hold rank over you.

    Always remember that in most organizations, it takes far more “politics” than actual real hard work to get ahead.

    • I beg to differ. Thinking outside the box (and the example given) won me two promotions within a year at a sizable local government department. I wouldn’t call that bureaucracy an ideal situation. 

      The manager that told me about dressing for the job you want went on to become one of the highest ranked corporate consultants, and people she promoted through the years have almost all achieved a great level of success within or outside of the company.

      Yes, there are some politics involved in getting where you want to go, but that’s where the last tip about taking ownership and conveying an honest approach when dealing with management. Stepping on people’s toes may get you where you want to go in the short-term, but you’re far more likely to gain the respect of your managers and the people under you by being a genuine individual.

      • Everyone is different. I think outside the box. I redesign things to be more efficient, safer, or cost effective. I work extremities hard and will literally push my body to the breaking point. But, there is one thing that holds me back. A promotion requires a huge increase in paperwork. I am not so good with keeping up with paperwork unless I am allowed to structure my own file organization. So, I will never get a promotion at my employer because paperwork must be organized the way they say it should be. I can’t do it. I can go above and beyond everywhere else and literally save the company thousands of dollars… but my one weakness keeps me on the bottom rung.

        Ok, I have two weaknesses. I often am too passionate. I treat the business I work for as if it is my own. I actually care too much if it succeeds or fails. Shame really.

  • This advice is all “ideal world” stuff.

    Yes, in an ideal world, we’d all have bosses that would appreciate hard-working employees and would reward such efforts, and you’d be judged solely by your ability to deliver and nothing else.

    However, in the real corporate world, you’ll probably have many layers of management above you.  They’re probably looking for an easy time and to do as little as possible, so any real hard-work from you makes them look bad.  When this happens, you’re screwed.  They’ll be out to get you, and they will succeed simply because they hold rank over you.

    Always remember that in most organizations, it takes far more “politics” than actual real hard work to get ahead.

    • I beg to differ. Thinking outside the box (and the example given) won me two promotions within a year at a sizable local government department. I wouldn’t call that bureaucracy an ideal situation. 

      The manager that told me about dressing for the job you want went on to become one of the highest ranked corporate consultants, and people she promoted through the years have almost all achieved a great level of success within or outside of the company.

      Yes, there are some politics involved in getting where you want to go, but that’s where the last tip about taking ownership and conveying an honest approach when dealing with management. Stepping on people’s toes may get you where you want to go in the short-term, but you’re far more likely to gain the respect of your managers and the people under you by being a genuine individual.

    • I beg to differ. Thinking outside the box (and the example given) won me two promotions within a year at a sizable local government department. I wouldn’t call that bureaucracy an ideal situation. 

      The manager that told me about dressing for the job you want went on to become one of the highest ranked corporate consultants, and people she promoted through the years have almost all achieved a great level of success within or outside of the company.

      Yes, there are some politics involved in getting where you want to go, but that’s where the last tip about taking ownership and conveying an honest approach when dealing with management. Stepping on people’s toes may get you where you want to go in the short-term, but you’re far more likely to gain the respect of your managers and the people under you by being a genuine individual.

      • Everyone is different. I think outside the box. I redesign things to be more efficient, safer, or cost effective. I work extremities hard and will literally push my body to the breaking point. But, there is one thing that holds me back. A promotion requires a huge increase in paperwork. I am not so good with keeping up with paperwork unless I am allowed to structure my own file organization. So, I will never get a promotion at my employer because paperwork must be organized the way they say it should be. I can’t do it. I can go above and beyond everywhere else and literally save the company thousands of dollars… but my one weakness keeps me on the bottom rung.

        Ok, I have two weaknesses. I often am too passionate. I treat the business I work for as if it is my own. I actually care too much if it succeeds or fails. Shame really.

      • Everyone is different. I think outside the box. I redesign things to be more efficient, safer, or cost effective. I work extremities hard and will literally push my body to the breaking point. But, there is one thing that holds me back. A promotion requires a huge increase in paperwork. I am not so good with keeping up with paperwork unless I am allowed to structure my own file organization. So, I will never get a promotion at my employer because paperwork must be organized the way they say it should be. I can’t do it. I can go above and beyond everywhere else and literally save the company thousands of dollars… but my one weakness keeps me on the bottom rung.

        Ok, I have two weaknesses. I often am too passionate. I treat the business I work for as if it is my own. I actually care too much if it succeeds or fails. Shame really.

      • Everyone is different. I think outside the box. I redesign things to be more efficient, safer, or cost effective. I work extremities hard and will literally push my body to the breaking point. But, there is one thing that holds me back. A promotion requires a huge increase in paperwork. I am not so good with keeping up with paperwork unless I am allowed to structure my own file organization. So, I will never get a promotion at my employer because paperwork must be organized the way they say it should be. I can’t do it. I can go above and beyond everywhere else and literally save the company thousands of dollars… but my one weakness keeps me on the bottom rung.

        Ok, I have two weaknesses. I often am too passionate. I treat the business I work for as if it is my own. I actually care too much if it succeeds or fails. Shame really.

    • I beg to differ. Thinking outside the box (and the example given) won me two promotions within a year at a sizable local government department. I wouldn’t call that bureaucracy an ideal situation. 

      The manager that told me about dressing for the job you want went on to become one of the highest ranked corporate consultants, and people she promoted through the years have almost all achieved a great level of success within or outside of the company.

      Yes, there are some politics involved in getting where you want to go, but that’s where the last tip about taking ownership and conveying an honest approach when dealing with management. Stepping on people’s toes may get you where you want to go in the short-term, but you’re far more likely to gain the respect of your managers and the people under you by being a genuine individual.

  • This advice is all “ideal world” stuff.

    Yes, in an ideal world, we’d all have bosses that would appreciate hard-working employees and would reward such efforts, and you’d be judged solely by your ability to deliver and nothing else.

    However, in the real corporate world, you’ll probably have many layers of management above you.  They’re probably looking for an easy time and to do as little as possible, so any real hard-work from you makes them look bad.  When this happens, you’re screwed.  They’ll be out to get you, and they will succeed simply because they hold rank over you.

    Always remember that in most organizations, it takes far more “politics” than actual real hard work to get ahead.

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