What makes a great employee varies greatly from position to position, employer to employer. Yet I have observed one trait that seems to be valued in employees, no matter what the pay grade. It is not about education, though education is needed. It is not about the skills, though the skills are essential. It is not about creativity, though employers definitely appreciate a creative thinker.
So what is it? It is reliability.
Woody Allen once said, "90% of success is just showing up." I'm not sure I'd personally go that far, but the idea is spot on. Ask any manager, with nearly any company, and those that they consider to be on their top performers list tend to be the ones that do show up day in, and day out. I'll add to this and say, "with a great attitude." I call it being present in both body and mind. Simple concept, right? You can only do your job if you are at your job. You can only be a top performer of your duties and get your projects in on time if you are present and interested in being a top performer.
So what value do employers place on reliability? Interestingly enough, it is not always a trait that is considered on a performance review. Rather, the presence or lack of reliability will show up in other areas. When an employee has an inordinately high number of absence, this can affect the other members of the team who have to pick up the slack. Because this employee has taken off time in the middle of a project, the deadline may suffer. It is a domino effect.
So how do you show your reliability? I like to think of it as an appointment at my dentist. If I don't show up, I'm still charged for the appointment. It's a commitment and there is a value attached to it. Consider work to be a commitment. I recommend that when you commit to an interview and show up and be early. If you've accepted another job offer first, call the employer and let them know. It's both courtesy and can affect your own personal employment brand. You never know when you might interview with someone later that works for the employer. Accept the job offer and be ontime for training. Plan any time off after your first few months of employment. Take time off when you need it, but be up front about it.
The value of your time to your employer = your total compensation package. The value of reliability = PRICELESS.