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How to be a productive employee

Have you ever wondered if you're a productive employee? Maybe you haven't joined the workforce yet and are curious what it's like to work in the business world. I talk to people on many different paths and also work with young adults that are largely curious what it's like to join the workforce. I believe I have an advantage here in that I've spent an equal number of years in both the business world and education. Here are a few tips to help you when you get started or to improve upon your current practices.

Understanding metrics

These metrics are often called key performance indicators (or KPIs) in business. They're a way to quantifiably measure your success as an employee. The metrics will change depending upon your role in an organization. A social media manager might be responsible for a certain number of conversions per quarter for example. A programmer might be responsible for launching a project by a specific deadline. Normally defining the KPIs is not within your control, unless you work for yourself or happen to be a manager. In either case it helps to have a clear understanding of the metrics being used to evaluate how productive you are.

Businesses will often view you as a cog in the machine

Sounds cold, I know. A business that is already profitable and running efficiently will often view you that way because they already have a business model that works. Bringing new ideas to the table is great but at the end of the day it's your job to keep things running smoothly. That's the core principle of being a productive employee.

Watch out for things that waste your time and energy

It's easy to get caught up in things that aren't directly related to your KPIs. This happens to everyone, and sometimes it's unavoidable. A few things you can watch out for though are unnecessary meetings and irrelevant projects. Paying even a handful people to meet for one hour can easily add up to thousands of dollars. That is time they could have spent generating revenue for the company, and normally the discussion they had could have been dealt with in 5 minutes via email instead. If you are also asked to help out with someone's new pet project within the company or asked to take ownership of a new responsibility, consider the effect it will have on your KPIs. Will it keep you from achieving them? In this scenario you should let common sense dictate how best to proceed.

Learn to be adaptive

This is one of the most important skills you need to have. It's a common sense skill a lot of people forget. Who would you rather work with between the following: someone that is inflexible and stuck in their ways, or someone willing to work with you to accomplish your goals and theirs? Be conscious of the fact that being adaptive to the needs of co-workers benefits the organization as a whole.

I hope these tips help keep or put things in perspective for you. I wish you all the success in the world.


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