Self-Improvement and Education

Do these 10 things to be a great employee


I am fortunate to work in a great environment with great people. As the HR director of Christ The King Community Church, I have the opportunity to work with every team at some point over the course of a year. Through these interactions, I observed 10 attributes of a great employee. To be a great employee:

1. Do high-quality work

The quality of media that the staff at Christ the King (CTK) produces is impressive. From bulletins to videos to images for the sermon series’, the standard is always improving. When you have a congregation of over 3500 there are a lot of eyes on the content. Great employees always step up the quality.

2. Be an Excellent Communicator

I’m responsible for coordinating and onboarding all new staff at CTK. New staff members go through 9 different orientations over the course of a couple weeks to get acclimated to our environment. Great communication is key to the success of the new hires first 90 days. Fortunately, the orientation team is always knocking it out of the park. Every time I do an orientation feedback session with the new hire, they always say the orientation was great and have very few questions. Great employees are excellent communicators.

3. Collaborate

As a church, many times we host memorial services and in order for them to truly honor the family, several teams have to coordinate and work well together. This means there is a collaboration of 3-4 teams each time. When this happens, the foyer looks great, the message is encouraging and honoring, and even how the chairs are set up is done beautifully and efficiently. As a result, the family feels a deep appreciation for what the staff has done and has one less burden to carry. Great employees collaborate well.

3. Be Proactive and Take Initiative

A great employee takes care of a need or helps without hesitation. I see this every day. Employees volunteering to help with unexpected situations. Taking a project to the next level. Resolving problems that most people didn’t even know existed. Employees who are proactive and take initiative will always have success in his or her work environment.

4. Be an Efficient Worker

As a productivity junky, I love efficiency. The supervisors’ response time to my HR requests always impresses me. When hiring I try to minimize the work supervisors have to do, but inevitably there are items the supervisor will need to tackle. Many times supervisors are off campus meeting one-on-one with people or busy working on projects. This prevents easy communication.

Despite this obstacle, I frequently will request a signed document, a second interview, or need some feedback for an orientation and it almost always receives a response within the day. This type of response is not only efficient, but it honors both me and the new hire.

5. Praise People and Care

I clearly remember my first month at CTK. The job was obviously new, I was new to church work and new to everyone on staff. People on staff knew this and responded. Lunch invitations came my way. Invitations to events and groups flooded in. Several times I would hear a knock on my office door and someone would express appreciation for a specific project or hiring I was working on. Care and praise come naturally to a great employee.

6. Give and Receive Honest Feedback in Humility

A great employee gives honest feedback in 3 ways. First, they give honest feedback to their peers. Second, they receive feedback with humility and respectful responsiveness. Finally, they are not afraid to give feedback to their supervisors or superiors. The last one is the hardest one, but doing all of these solves a lot of problems and prevents gossip. Great employees do all 3 well.

7. Solve Problems

Solving problems is the norm in any work environment. But there is a wrong way and a right way to solve problems. You can do it in spite of someone or something that caused it or you can do it with humility and grace. Great employees don’t bad mouth the person or thing that caused the problem, they quickly find a way to resolve it and then give feedback to the right people to prevent it the next time. A great employee solves problems with humility and grace.

8. Don’t Gossip

As a staff, we work and play together within the church walls and outside the church walls. Many staff members play sports together, share a Bible study group, and do life together. As a result, personal lives intermingle with work lives. When this happens, gossip is normally easy to come by. A great employee won’t abuse this sharing of information and say harmful things about another employee. Even if they know harmful things.

9. Be a Friend (or at Least Friendly)

You can’t be friends with everyone on a staff, but you can be friendly to everyone. I’ve seen this in spades at CTK. From my first month to now, there is genuine interest in people’s lives. And this interest is not nosey, it is done with respect. A great employee is friendly and understands the difference between someone who wants you to be a friend and someone who wants you to be friendly.

10. Learn from Mistakes and Forgive

Finally, a mistake-free work environment is impossible to achieve. But an environment where people learn from their mistakes and forgive others for their’s, is not. When mistakes are made, like forgetting to finish new hire paperwork (that’s me), gentle reminders and help are a great employee’s response to their co-worker’s mistake.

This is the norm at CTK and I am grateful for that. With mistakes, it is easy to keep a mental record of them, but a great co-worker gives honest feedback and forgives the mistakes to help the situation instead of harm.

In Summary

A great employee will produce high-quality efficient work with great communication and collaboration. This employee will solve problems, learn from their mistakes, and proactively approach their job. They will be a friend or friendly and yet hold their tongue when they learn of gossipy information. They will give and receive honest feedback well and genuinely care about their peers and supervisors.

In short, a great employee is of high character and integrity, cares about the job and the people they work with and “gets things done.”

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