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Career Development Tips

What Is Work Ethic? Skills and Tips

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated Jun 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Work ethic definedWork ethic skills to help you excel in your jobHow to improve your work ethic skills

Guide Overview

Work ethic in the workplace

Work ethic is a valuable trait that employers look for in candidates. A strong work ethic allows you to focus on tasks, act in a professional manner, be persistent in trying situations, and demonstrate responsibility and dependability in the workplace. People with good work ethic are often better employees than those without it, and for this reason, hiring managers will often select candidates with a strong work ethic over applicants who aren't committed to their work. Here we explore what work ethic is, skills related to a good work ethic, and tips to improve your work ethic skills.

Work ethic defined

Work ethic is a term used to describe a person’s dedication in relation to their job. While every employee may show up to work and perform their duties, not everyone has a strong work ethic that allows them to highly value their professional life and success and commit to doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Employees with strong work ethic skills exemplify determination and a commitment to their role within their organization and are highly valuable to employers. People with work ethic understand that hard work is a natural part of the job and aren’t intimidated by the need to put in the effort to succeed in the workplace.

Work ethic skills to help you excel in your job

There are several skills that employees with a solid work ethic possess. These skills include:


Employees with strong work ethics understand that they are part of an organization rather than simply someone who clocks in and clocks out of an office every day. A good work ethic means that you’re able to work well in a team setting and form valuable relationships with those in the workplace. Being a good team player and participating in team activities is an important component of thriving at work and can ultimately improve on satisfaction and boost work productivity, both of which contribute to a stronger work ethic.


A strong work ethic means that you are committed to seeing a project through, no matter how difficult it gets. Building determination and persistence will allow you to more adequately achieve goals, work for longer periods of time, and stay focused on the task at hand without becoming frustrated or discouraged. The more determined you are to ensure your tasks are completed, the better the work ethic you’ll have.


People who show up to work on time, complete the work they’re given in a timely manner, and follow through on the things they have committed to are considered to have a strong work ethic. If you’re going to be late to work, let your supervisor know. If you aren’t going to be able to complete a project on time, let your team know. If you need help, ask for it, and if you say you’ll do something, make sure you do it no matter how much you may not want to. Being reliable shows your employer that you value your position and will follow through on projects and tasks you’re assigned.


People who have solid work ethics demonstrate integrity in everything they do, from how they handle client complaints to how they treat their colleagues. Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is watching and not cutting corners to finish a task more quickly or to come out on top. People with integrity easily gain the trust of others and are more likely to be looked at favorably by employers.


Discipline is an important component of a strong work ethic and is a skill that is highly valued in the workplace. Discipline refers to your ability to follow rules, regulations, and procedures, and to stay committed to the code of ethics in the workplace. It also refers to your dedication and determination to uphold your part in a project or task and to ensure it’s done in an efficient and effective manner.


Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone will take responsibility for them. A person with a good work ethic exudes responsibility and is willing to be held accountable for their role in a situation. They accept blame when it’s necessary and work proactively to solve issues.


People with a strong work ethic are self-motivated and require little supervision to get their tasks done on time and in a successful manner. Employers highly value self-motivated employees, as they require less time and effort on behalf of managers, which frees of time for managers to focus on other tasks and projects in the workplace. Once a self-motivated employee understands the task at hand, they’re able to perform it without constant encouragement or help from others.


Another important of a strong work ethic is adaptability. Being able to change and roll with the punches is an important quality for employees and makes workplace adjustments more smooth and successful. Rather than complaining about a particular change, employees with a good work ethic quickly adapt and learn how to work with the change instead of letting it hold them back.


Employees with a good work ethic exhibit professionalism in all of their affairs in the workplace. Professionalism refers to a person’s commitment to act in a professional manner in relation to how they look, talk, and present themselves. It also refers to someone’s commitment to learning every aspect of their position and performing to the best of their ability when at work.

How to improve your work ethic skills

The following are steps for improving your work ethic skills:

  1. Value your organization. It’s hard to exhibit a strong work ethic if you don’t value the company you work for. Take time to get to your company, its values and ethics, and the people who work for it. The more you care about your organization, the better of an employee you’ll be, and the better of a work ethic you’ll have.
  2. Practice time management. Good time management will ensure you get to work on time, meet deadlines, maintain a solid attendance record, and successfully complete projects and tasks without supervision.
  3. Ensure your work is of high quality. Ensuring your work is of high quality and is the best you can do shows your employers that you’re dedicated to your job and are willing to put the necessary effort.

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