Tips to improve your work ethic

Build your commitment to professional success.

Tips to improve your work ethic

Demonstrate your work ethic by practicing specific skills.

It’s a fact: Employers watch for the hallmarks of a work ethic—dedication, reliability, and integrity—and often they reward those qualities with special assignments, greater trust, and even accelerated advancement. But what if you weren’t born with that sense of hard work as a moral virtue? Not to worry; you can build up your work ethic by practicing specific skills.

How do you define work ethic?

A person with a great work ethic is:

  • Cooperative
  • Dedicated
  • Productive
  • Professional
  • Reliable

These are the workers who show up on time—or early—for work. They pull their weight and, if a problem arises, they hold themselves accountable. They deliver on deadline and are the first to admit room for improvement.

You’ll see these people working well on a team, and always carrying themselves professionally. They make an organization’s rigorous standards their own and respect their co-workers, but they will call out inappropriate behavior.

These employees welcome opportunities to learn from their managers without brown-nosing. They understand the value of networking without being artificial. 

How do you improve your work ethic?

If you’ve ever had a poor performance review or been told your work ethic is lacking, then you’ll want to check out these steps for improvement.

1. Practice professionalism

This tip covers a variety of best practices: showing up on time at the start of your shift, saving personal calls for your breaks, and dressing appropriately for your office, among others. Essentially, your behavior should reflect what’s in the best interest of your clients or customers.

2. Be a spokesperson for your organization

You don’t have to be a salesperson to be a representative for your business. Keep a positive attitude about the company. Embrace opportunities to recommend your employer.

3. Prioritize learning

Look for ways to expand your experience and knowledge. Consider volunteering, mentorship, night classes, or weekend seminars. Join professional associations in your field.

4. Exercise self-discipline

Arrange your daily schedule to ensure you can tackle top-priority assignments. Stay focused on the task at hand, and be sure to check your work before you submit it. Using time-tracking tools can help ensure you’re making the best use of your day and delivering in a responsible timeframe.

5. Be a team player 

It may sound cliched, but working well with others is an essential characteristic on the job. Respect your peers and managers. Always welcome feedback. Look for opportunities to collaborate with your colleagues.

6. Seek balance

A strong work ethic is an invaluable characteristic in your career path, but so is a commitment to living a healthy, well-integrated life. Pursue your passions and support your wellness to ensure you’re at the very best you can be. A good night’s sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy diet deliver a vital boost to your productivity and focus.

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