Are you a great employee or just an OK one? Here are six ways that great employees set themselves apart.

1. OK employees don’t defend their company’s reputation; great employees choose to work someplace they can be proud of.

Your company makes you work long hours without pay, expects you to be on call 24/7, and has a terrible reputation in the industry. We get it, how are you supposed to paint them in a nice light when they aren’t a great company to be working for? Staying in a bad work environment that you aren’t proud doesn’t make you a great employee. At best, it makes you an OK one. Would you continue to stay in a relationship with someone that you were so embarrassed of that you didn’t tell anyone you were dating them and refused to be seen together out in public? Then why continue to have a relationship with a company that you’re embarrassed to be associated with? That’s a good sign that you should be starting your job hunt.

2. OK employees only want to share in the profit; great employees are willing to share in the losses as well as profits of a company.

Most publically traded companies offer incentives like stock options. OK employees are excited to share in the profit but complain if the stock prices take a dip. They only want to profit when the company profits but are not willing to share in losses. Great employees understand and accept that there will be ups and downs with any company and are willing to share in the profits and losses.

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3. OK employees look for ways to bend unfair rules; great employees make overbearing rules obsolete.

You must be clocked in at a certain time every day, no phones at work, and certain social sites are restricted. You know the type of overbearing rules I’m talking about. OK employees will find ways around the rules – there are always ways around rules – but great employees will make a boss wonder why all those rules are even in place. No, you’re not supposed to sit back and let obnoxious rules infringe on your needs; a great employee will talk to the boss about rules that are unnecessary and real reasons why you can’t comply. Perhaps you need to check your phone in case your kids have an emergency at school. Or maybe you use social sites to research articles. Whatever the reason, be upfront and you’ll be surprised what rules will go out the window. If they don’t, this is a red flag that the company may not be a great fit for you.

4. OK employees prefer to do their job without tools; great employees will ask for tools to improve productivity.

Some employees like to take their time doing things the manual way. If you’re a great employee, you’ll help your boss realize what tools you need to improve productivity. If they don’t want to invest in the tools, that’s their choice. However, great employees are always looking for ways to make their jobs – and their lives – easier.

5. OK employees just want a raise every year; great employees know their worth and ask for raises when deserved, even if more often.

It’s the end of the year, time to ask the boss for a raise. If you’re an OK employee, this when you go and ask for a raise, hoping you’ll get one. If you’re a great employee, you know your value is far beyond the yearly raise. Even if your boss says no, this gives you a chance to review your successes and explain why you deserve a raise. They’ll view you as a more valuable employee over the one that comes in each year asking for a raise just because they’ve worked there another year. And yes, if you’re a good boss you give raises without having to be asked.

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6. OK employees are happy in an easy, stagnant, role; great employees want to be challenged and grow.

Let’s get one thing straight – not everyone wants or needs to end up in a managerial role. Some people are more comfortable staying where they are in the company. Nothing wrong with that, you can be a great employee and not grow into a leadership position. However, if in five years you’re still doing everything the exact same way at your job you’re doing something wrong. Every position grows and changes throughout the years and it’s your responsibility to not only grow with your role but to challenge “how things have always been done.” Just because something was done a certain way a few years ago doesn’t mean it still should be done that way. There are always ways you can be better and more effective in your job.

Check out the next page for the Infographic.

Infographic: 6 Characteristics of Great Employees
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Elizabeth Becker

Elizabeth is Marketing Manager at PROTECH. Comments and feedback can be directed to her at