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17 Tips to be an Effective and Reliable Employee

Being an effective and reliable employee is not tricky. What is needed is commitment, hard work, and consistency to try to do our best in our work.

Effective and reliable employees are a dream in any company. The career will follow by itself, no need to worry.

This article is the result of my observations and analysis, which I tried to draw from 10 years of work experience in one of the SOEs in Indonesia.

Let’s describe one by one the crucial factors to become an effective and reliable employee:

1. Enjoy and Master Your Work

Enjoy and Master Your Work
Enjoy and Master Your Work

The first step is to enjoy your work. It’s hard to be an effective employee if we hate our jobs.

To enjoy it well, of course, we must master the job. Learn every technical aspect of it, its business process, the relationship of your part with other parts of the company, indicators of the success of your department, and all things related to your work.

Expand your comfort zone. If there is a part of the job that you are not good at, rest assured that everything can be learned if there is a will instead of avoiding learning.

You don’t have to be proficient in every field, but at least know in general all the things related to your daily work.


2. Master Standard Applications in The World of Work

Master Various Standard Applications in the World of Work
Master Various Standard Applications in the World of Work

To be an effective employee and quickly complete daily work, you must master standard applications in the world of work.

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Usually, every company uses an integrated application or information system (ERP), such as SAP or Oracle.  As the primary system that becomes the company’s backbone, you certainly have to master the system, especially applications that are directly related to your daily work.

Another application that is most widely used in work is undoubtedly Microsoft Office. Fully master Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  Especially for those of you whose job is more behind the desk, Microsoft Office is the primary weapon in work.

It’s not enough to just type a simple letter in Word, or just use a simple calculation formula in Excel, or just be able to create a simple presentation slide in PowerPoint.

Learn more about each of these Office programs.  For Word, for example, creating header-footer, multilevel list numbering, mail merge, etc.  For Excel, master all standard excel formulas and their applications, among others, IF functions, v-lookup / h-lookup, data sorting, conditional formatting, pivot tables, processing charts, and others (this is very useful to simplify and speed up the work)

For PowerPoint, master how to make informative, concise, and stunning presentations. Processing images, processing graphics, slide animations, etc.  If needed, use additional professional graphics processing applications such as Think-Cell or Mekko-Graphics

Manage the data well. Good data management includes storage, backup data organizing, creating neat folders and subfolders, diligently updating data, and mastering the art of processing data to become valuable information to support work.

Don’t rely too much on one work device (your laptop or computer), especially if the nature of your job requires high mobility. 

If needed, take advantage of cloud storage such as OneDrive, Google Drive, or iCloud Drive so you can easily access important data at any time, wherever you are with your mobile gadget.

Create templates to simplify and speed up work, learn how to create exciting and informative reporting

Make notes to remember things that need to be done, deadline dates, meeting schedules, and so on.

Instead of using your “Boss” as a reminder, it’s better to use a simple app to record “things to do” or “reminders” like Microsoft To-Do, Evernote, OneNote, Google Calendar, or other similar apps.


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3. Good Attitude (work ethic)

positive attitude

Apart from the ability to work, another crucial factor is a good attitude. Even in the world of work, a good attitude exceeds the importance of intellectual intelligence.

This attitude includes our daily attitudes and behaviors in interacting with superiors, fellow employees, subordinates, and other work partners, both internal and external.

Respect superiors and more senior employees, as well as establish familiarity, cohesiveness, and teamwork with other employees

“Rest assured that the environment is a fair judge. Your environmental judgment is a mirror of your personality and long-term behavior, so build a positive image of yourself with a good attitude and morals.”


4. Keep Learning 

Continuous Learning
Continuous Learning

Never feel enough for mastery of science and skills. The world is moving fast, science and technology continue to evolve, which we consider the most sophisticated today, could be obsolete in the next three years.

Do not miss short-course opportunities in the office. If there is time and cost, try to pursue further education. In addition, get used to reading and develop the ability to learn alone (autodidact).

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Keep up to date with technology, replace gadgets periodically, not for styles, but to take advantage of the latest technology to make the job easier.

Update software and learn about popular new applications. If you work in the world of marketing, for example, learn image processing software such as adobe photoshop or adobe illustrator to create infographics or design exciting ads.

To support work effectively when you have to work with a work-from-home system, for example, master the features of video conference applications such as zoom, Microsoft teams, and or google meet, including its collaboration tools.

Or, if needed, you can also study Prezi (Prezi Next and or Prezi Video) to create a stunning presentation.

“The new generation that is more literate and technological updates will always be present in our world of work. So do not fall asleep, lose a competition or even be considered a burden, do not want to be called by juniors as the outdated senior generation.”

5. Well Planning dan Well Prepared

fail to prepare

I remember the following wise words from Benjamin Franklin:

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Therefore, one of the most important factors to work effectively is good planning and careful preparation.

We have to get used to planning what needs to be done in the future. The easiest is to make a daily and weekly to-do list.

For example, if coordination is needed with other functions/ sections, in the new appeal of sending a sudden invitation H-1, it would be better to send the invitation one week before it to manage their time allocation easier. Furthermore, the material discussed can also be prepared in advance so that the meeting course will be more effective.

Take advantage of tools or applications to plan and monitor teamwork routines such as Microsoft Planner or Smartsheet.

The next thing that is no less important is good preparation. Remember that good preparation is half of success,

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Often in everyday work, we are faced with important moments (golden momentum), such as presentations to top management or negotiations to the main client (critical account). These events certainly require extra attention and careful preparation, ranging from data collection, in-depth analysis, setting key-point strategies, and creating visualizations that support so that the audience can more effectively accept the ideas you want to convey.


6. Always Think Positively


Always keep positive thoughts. Positive thoughts will affect our overall attitude, behavior, and mood. Avoid the habit of complaining, giving up quickly, and or avoiding responsibility. No one has sympathy for the person who is always complaining.

“Focus more on solutions than problems”

In everyday work, we often meet people with different personalities. For example, I often observe that some employees like to complain, whine, complain if given additional labor, are moody, easily panic, and have other similar negative habits.

On the other hand, there is also a tough employee, calm, even though he is getting job pressure, stay cheerful, not easy to complain, has initiative and a high sense of responsibility for his work. Often give more than what is requested, time, energy, and work results.

Employees who always think positively can motivate themselves (self-motivation), so they always appear excited and quickly rise if they experience failure.


7. Responsibility


To become a reliable employee, instill a high sense of responsibility on the job. Automatically this will make us feel obliged to do our best and work as optimally as possible.

The characteristic of employees who have a high sense of responsibility is to understand their work-related obligations well. As a result, such an employee does not need to be reminded to complete their work and quickly responds to internal and external dynamics that can affect his work.

Responsible employees understand the potential risks, take the necessary steps to minimize them, and respond in an emergency.

Employees with this type, ready to accept every kind of work and do not run away from responsibility if faced with a difficult situation.


8. Discipline


Discipline needs to be an ingrained habit. The discipline to arrive on time, meet work deadlines, and adhere to all Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) is essential to being a reliable employee.

For example, in arrival hours, I often witness in many offices, some employees underestimate the need to arrive on time. Maybe in their minds, “Ah, why should I come on time? However, I also usually volunteer overtime, go home always later than normal office hours, so my working hours have exceeded what they should be.”

But, coming in 15 minutes earlier is much more important than going home 30 minutes later.

Arriving a little earlier indirectly shows morale, discipline, and obedience.  But, of course, every boss prefers to know that his team is reliable, always coming on time.

Likewise, in attending meeting invitations or other formal and informal events, if you are used to arriving late, it is not only bad for your image, but also interferes with the effectiveness of other employees. Don’t let other people’s time be wasted just waiting for you.


9. Focus


Focus on work, get rid of things that can distract you from the work you are responsible for. 

Activities on social media, online shops, personal business, or family affairs wherever possible should not be done during working hours. The boss may not supervise you continuously, but remember, by agreeing to accept our current job, it means that we have been contracted to work according to predetermined working hours as compensation for the salary we receive.

Dividing the focus of work with other activities during working hours means we have hurt the commitment to our employment contract.

It is difficult to get the job done effectively, create a good work plan, think of strategies to achieve targets, meet deadlines, make good reporting, and generate innovations if some of the work time is spent on other activities unrelated to our work.


10. Initiative and Innovative


Be a high-initiative employee and work well without waiting to be ruled. A reliable employee should already know what needs to be done, not be a passive employee who is just waiting for the boss’s orders.

In addition, strive to make innovations or breakthroughs that add value to the work. Added value can be cost savings, reductions in the time needed to complete a job, new ways that facilitate work, or increased company profits.

Usually, events convey creative ideas in every company, such as “improvement competitions.” Don’t miss an event like this to show performance and hone your innovation skills.


11. Set the Order of Work Priorities

Set Your Work Priority

Sometimes we are faced with work that accumulates, overloads, or maybe a short deadline to complete work. In this case, we must be good at arranging the order of priorities of the work.

Jobs with short deadlines and those with the most impact must undoubtedly come first.

If you have subordinates, first, the work delegated to your subordinates gives enough explanation. Then, you just have to review the results of their work later.  It’s simple but often forgotten.

For example, you have ten types of work to complete today, because of panic and rush, you immediately choose the most difficult one, then focus on finishing it, then two hours later you select one of the others, and so on.

In the afternoon, you just realize there are still four jobs left, of which three can be delegated to your subordinates. If you delegate it from the morning, your assistants have eight hours of work to complete it neatly, but since you only delegated it two hours before the deadline, then the completion of the work becomes not perfect.


12. Balance Between Speed and Accuracy

Balance between Speed ​​and Accuracy
Balance between Speed ​​and Accuracy

Sometimes we want to quickly finish a job, then rush to submit a report or send a letter that we make, but it turns out that after being sent, we realize there is an error, whether it’s a typo or maybe there is a miscalculation.

The speed of completion of the task is essential, but on the other hand, the accuracy is also no less important. Therefore, we need to balance between speed and accuracy.

After completing a job, make it a habit to check & recheck, double-check the spelling, whether there is still a typo, if there is a calculation, check again whether the calculation is correct, or if the work we make has to do with policy, check either whether it is in accordance with the guidelines in the company or against the applicable regulations.


13. Make Sure You Can be Contacted at Any Time

Make sure you are ready to be contacted any time
Make sure you are ready to be contacted any time

Mobile phones have become an inherent friend of everyone today, should be contactable at any time is not difficult, but many people take this for granted. The battery runs out, or forgetting to bring a cell phone is often an excuse.

Ensuring that we can be contacted at all times is absolute to be a reliable employee. It also shows a high sense of responsibility. It’s important to build a positive image of yourself.

If you have subordinates, of course, feel comfortable having men who you know that at any time if needed you can contact him quickly, and vice versa how annoying if in times of urgent, subordinates or co-workers can not be contacted at all.

“Simple things like making sure to fully charge your phone before traveling, carrying a backup charger at all times in your bag, providing a mobile charger in your vehicle, and or always carrying a fully charged power bank at all times need to be used as an inherent habit to ensure that you are ready to be contacted at any time.”


14. Understand and Respect Your Boss

Understand and Respect Your Boss
Understand and Respect Your Boss

One of the most challenging things in work is understanding the boss. Typical of the boss is undoubtedly different. There is a type that is perfectionist, there is a type that is relaxed/easy going, or there is also a type that is difficult to understand and annoying.

Similarly, bosses’ style in giving directions, the type of language they like in administrative affairs, or their favorite reporting style.

We have to quickly adapt and understand the way of the mind of our leaders. Try to “equate frequency” with the boss’s mind. Learn what reporting style they like, the language style of their correspondence, the patterns of data analysis that are usually selected, and how they make decisions.

To increase chemistry, it never hurts to get to know the boss’s personal life, such as their residence or their family.

Respect your boss. Respect is different from fawning. Respecting the boss is a good attitude. You certainly do not want your subordinates to disobey or be disrespectful to you, right? 

If at one chance you disagree, convey it in a good way, give proposals and considerations at private meetings, never express differences of opinion with superiors in open forums or front of others.

Nor is it ideal for employees who are just always obeying, just waiting for the boss’s guide, without daring to express a different fresh idea.

“How to express different opinions is an important art learned at work.”

Remember, never step over your immediate boss for any reason. If forced to report to a higher-level boss, be sure to immediately report to the boss directly so that they know the situation as well.

When you have “clicked” and have the same frequency as your boss, it will create a harmonious working relationship.


15. Networking / Establish a Broad Relationship

Build Extensive Relationships
Build Extensive Relationships

In addition to focusing on everyday technical work, do not forget the importance of socializing, both inside and outside the company. A broad relationship is significant to facilitate and support success in your career.

Often we have to work with other departments to get our work done, or we may need partners outside the company to help us. Of course, it would be easier to work together if we knew them well.

Lunch is a time to socialize, don’t eat alone too often.

Don’t miss informal events in the office such as morning gymnastics, family gatherings, or eating together.

It cannot be denied in every work environment. There must be competition between employees to get good performance assessments or pursue promotions.

But it is much more important to maintain a friendly relationship than the competition. If you need to compete, compete fairly.

Sometimes there is the right opportunity or stage to show your performance, for example, at the company’s annual improvement competition or a presentation moment in a regular meeting.

You can also show good performance by mastering your work, presenting good reporting, or always meeting work deadlines, contributing your fresh idea, original ideas. There is no need to claim someone else’s idea as your idea.

In addition to supporting daily work, the breadth of networking can affect your career in the future. Who knows one of your friends is lucky and has a brilliant career? But, of course, they will need help from the team they already know, right?


16. Manage Your Team

manage your team
Manage Your Team Effectively

Be a good friend and mentor to your subordinates. Rest assured, you can still get respect from them without making them feel afraid of you.  Instead, instill discipline and a sense of responsibility in them. Do not forget to take the time to provide coaching to increase their motivation and convey what is already good and what still needs to be improved from each of your subordinates.

If you have more than one subordinate, form good teamwork, ensuring all team members know what the others are doing. I often apply some kind of rolling over a limited period of time to make sure all team members master what their friends are doing.

It is essential to keep a type of work dependent on one person. Remember that your subordinates are not robots. One day they need time off, vacation, or family matters. By making all team members could replace each other, you also ensure your department’s performance will remain optimal at all times.

Also, make sure you master what is done by your subordinates, ranging from technical things, how to do something to collecting information or data related to your team’s work.

Create a kind of shared folder that can be accessed together, and hold regular internal meetings to make sure you know everything that’s going on and can access the necessary data at any time.

You don’t have to do your subordinates’ daily routine work, but it would be silly if you are asked something by your boss one day, then you have to answer, “wait a minute, sir I have to ask my subordinates first.”


17. Maintain Balance in Life / Work-Life Balance

Work Life Balance
Work Life Balance

The last and most important thing is to keep the balance in our lives.

Working as well as possible does not mean having to be work-alcoholic to the point of neglecting your family and social environment. Life is not just for work, but we need to work to live.

There are at least five things that we need to balance in life, namely:

    • First: Religion, we live in this world only to worship Him, work is one part of that Worship
    • Second: Family, love our family, give enough time to present ourselves completely for our partner, play with children, watch their growth, and guide them, remember our family also has the right to our time.
    • Third: Work as a source of our livelihood and family and as part of our Worship.
    • Fourth: Health is a very important factor for enjoying a good quality of life. Health is the most valuable investment. A healthy lifestyle must be an ingrained habit in our daily lives. Age is in God’s hands, but we certainly must strive, and maintaining health is one form of our gratitude to the Creator.

Also Read:

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    • Fifth: Social environment, it is our obligation to socialize with the social environment, especially those around us, do not let the busy work make us not know neighbors, do not have time to socialize to our prominent families or break up communication with old friends.

Thus the description of important factors to become an effective and reliable employee. But again, this is just a theory that most employees already know. What matters is how to practice it consistently.

By maintaining the above, “InsyaAllah,” we can become effective and reliable employees while maintaining balance in our lives, amen

What about you? are there tips from your work experience that are not included in this list? If there are any questions or suggestions, please write in the comments field at the bottom of this article.

I hope this article is helpful.

This post is also available in: Indonesian

Lahir di Palembang pada bulan November 1981, saya menyelesaikan S1 di Jurusan Teknik Kimia Universitas Sriwijaya, dan S2 Master of Business Administration (MBA) di Sekolah Bisnis Management Institut Teknologi Bandung (SBM-ITB). Bekerja di salah satu BUMN dan tinggal di daerah Jakarta Selatan.


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