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Succeeding in Workplace


Finding employment in our country; South Africa is challenging, with a rate of 25.5% of unemployment. When one has secured employment, it is very critical to sustain it!

Succeeding in the Workplace

How does one succeed in the workplace, not only for sustaining the job but, to grow, be promoted and be on top?

  • Make sure you live up to your employer's expectations

  • Brush up your employability Skills, employability skills or "soft skills" are the key to workplace success these are a set of skills and behaviors that are necessary for every job:

Essential Employability Skills

  1. Foundational Skills

    • Be organized.
    • Arrive to work on time, or early.
    • Be dependable.
    • Have a positive attitude toward work.
    • Exert high levels of effort and perseverance.
    • Complete tasks on time and accurately.
    • Seek out information to improve skills.
    • Be flexible and adaptable.
    • Complete all tasks, even if unpleasant.
    • Understand dress code or uniform guidelines.
    • Maintain personal hygiene.
  2. Interpersonal Skills

    • Be friendly and polite.
    • Respect supervisors and coworkers.
    • Respond appropriately to customer requests.
    • Ask for feedback.
    • Take constructive criticism.
    • Resolve conflicts calmly and appropriately.
  3. Communication Skills

    • Read and understand written materials.
    • Listen, understand, and ask questions.
    • Follow directions.
    • Express ideas clearly when speaking or writing.
    • Learn required technology and use appropriately.
  4. Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

    • Accept change.
    • Be willing to start, stop, and switch duties.
    • Work calmly in busy environments.
    • Start tasks without prompting.
    • Ask questions to solve problems and do the job better.
  5. Teamwork

    • Be comfortable working with people of diverse backgrounds.
    • Be sensitive to other peoples' needs.
    • Take responsibility for own share of work.
    • Contribute to team goals.
  6. Ethics and Legal Responsibilities

    • Take responsibility for own decisions and actions.
    • Understand and follow company rules and procedures.
    • Be honest and trustworthy.
    • Act professionally and with maturity.


Professional Skills

The general employability skills above help you to get hired and to keep any job. In addition, anyone who wants to advance in their careers and people working in higher-level jobs should have the following professional skills:

  1. Career Development

    • Continue to study and learn (adopt a lifelong learning attitude
    • Learn new skills and take on different projects.
    • Serve on work committees.
    • Take initiative and work with little supervision.
    • Understand your industry and common business practices.
    • Align your work goals with the mission and vision of your employer.
    • Understand the different roles of coworkers.
  2. Leadership

    • Coach and mentor others.
    • Be willing to take risks.
    • Be able to negotiate.
    • Motivate and direct people as they work.
    • Demonstrate efficiency.
    • Seek to simplify processes.
    • Save time or money for the company by analyzing business needs.
    • Build partnerships and teams with coworkers.
  3. Stick to Your Work Schedule

    • Always be on time to work. Have a backup plan for transportation and child care.
    • Try not to take time off in the first few weeks of a new job so that your supervisor knows you are dependable.
    • If you know that you will be late or not coming in, call your supervisor as soon as possible.
    • Leave and return from breaks on time. Let your supervisor know when you will be away from your assigned workstation.
    • Follow the Rules at Work
    • Know the company rules and procedures. Read the employee manual and pay attention to any orientations and safety lessons. If you are unsure of a company policy, ask your supervisor or human resources.
    • Act maturely and professionally at work and related events. You are representing the company. Avoid questionable activities that could lead to misconduct issues.
    • If you have a problem at work, follow the proper chain of command. Approach your immediate supervisor first, unless you are told to do otherwise.
    • Dress Appropriately
    • Find out what clothing is acceptable. Read the company dress policy.
    • Always come to work clean and well groomed. Do not wear heavy perfumes or colognes. Go easy on the makeup.
    • Present yourself as competent and professional.
    • Act Professionally
    • Be self-disciplined and have a good work ethic. Prove that you need little supervision and are serious about getting things done and doing them well.
    • Improve your communication skills. Speak clearly. Be professional in all communication. Use language appropriate to a work environment. Never use curse words. Avoid using slang or speaking too casually to customers and supervisors. Write clearly, with no misspelled words or abbreviations.
    • Improve your listening skills. Make eye contact and pay attention when people speak with you. This will leave a positive impression on them. It will also show that you are attentive and engaged.
    • Be flexible. Deadlines and situations change all the time at work. Being able to accept change adds value to you as an employee.
    • Manage your time so you can meet deadlines, prioritize tasks, and work on several projects at once. Avoid standing around talking when there is work or a customer to help.
    • Take on new projects or learn new skills. This shows initiative and leadership potential.
    • Be assertive and express your opinions and ideas. It shows interest in your job, leadership qualities, and creativity.
    • Keep your personal life out of work, in phone calls, and use of company equipment. Avoid using your cell phone (talking, texting, surfing the Internet, etc.) for non-work related activities during work hours.
    • Never use alcohol or illegal drugs while working. Getting caught will not only put your current job in jeopardy, but could keep you from getting hired for other jobs.
    • Get Along with Others
    • Be a team player and help coworkers with projects. Volunteer to work on teams.
    • Bring urgent or questionable matters to the attention of your supervisor in a timely manner.
    • Get to know coworkers who have positive and productive attitudes. Avoid people who are negative, gossipy, or have poor work habits.
    • Learn how to network. It could help you down the road in your career.
    • Be aware of political, religious, or cultural issues that might offend others. Most workplaces have policies to support diversity.
    • If coworkers' behaviors interfere with your job, ask a supervisor how to handle the situation.
    • Have a Good Attitude
    • Be positive and friendly. Respect your supervisors, coworkers, and customers. Don't gossip.
    • Ask questions to reduce potential misunderstandings and errors. Ask for help when you need it.
    • Be calm and focused under pressure. This shows that you can handle busy or stressful situations.
    • Learn how to take constructive criticism or be corrected by supervisors or coworkers.
    • If you make a mistake, admit it right away and find out how to fix it. Take responsibility for your decisions and actions.
    • Don't let your personal problems affect your job. Keep your emotions under control.
    • Learn all that you can in your current position before looking for opportunities to move into a new job.
    • Use performance reviews as a chance to learn how you can improve.