The better a job you do at work, the greater your chances of getting rewarded financially. And if you play your cards right, the upside could be huge. Case in point: This year, employees who got the highest ratings at work saw their earnings go up 4.6% on average, according to data from Willis Towers Watson. That's 70% higher than the 2.7% workers with average ratings received.

If your goal is to be recognized as a top performer at your company, you'll need to know where to focus your efforts. Here are just a few steps you can take to snag a top rating and reap the monetary rewards that could very well come with it.

Man in suit giving thumbs up above a row of five stars


1. Volunteer

In any given work situation, you're likely to encounter your fair share of tasks that nobody in particular wants ownership of. So if you step up and agree to take on those challenging endeavors, it's a sure way to grab your boss's attention and prove what a rock star you're capable of being. Volunteering strategically at work shows that you're not afraid to step outside your comfort zone, all the while having the business's best interests in mind. And that's the sort of message you want to convey.

2. Have a positive attitude

It's hard to stay positive in the face of looming deadlines and nonstop pressure. But if you become that person who manages to slap on a smile even in the face of bad news, it'll affect the way your manager regards you as an employee. The next time a challenge rocks your team, rally your colleagues and figure out how you'll tackle it together rather than join in the chorus of "what are we going to do now?" Chances are, when your coworkers see your reaction, they'll perk up and get it together to tackle the task at hand.

3. Go bold

Presenting new ideas takes guts, especially if you're relatively low on the company org chart and the higher-ups that be seem satisfied with keeping things status quo. But if you're able to introduce revolutionary processes that change the way your company does business for the better, it's a great way to solidify your spot as a top performer. So think about the ways you improve things on the business front, even if nothing is technically broken at present. The more innovative you are, the more you stand to be rewarded.

4. Pay attention to details

Many of us get so caught up in meeting goals and running with ideas that we forget to pay attention to small but significant details along the way. So if you're that person who picks up on those oft-overlooked nuances, your manager will come to not only appreciate you, but rely on your seal of approval when major projects need to get done.

5. Show up when you're needed

There's no reason to force yourself to be the first person to arrive at the office on a daily basis or be the last one to leave as a matter of course. But if you put in that extra face time when it's needed the most, it'll go a long way toward earning your boss' appreciation. The next time a work-related emergency arises, offer to stay late until it's resolved, or jump in over a weekend when everyone else is conveniently unavailable. Being the hero on a regular basis could spell the difference between scoring the highest possible ranking on your performance review and falling in the middle of the pack.

The more highly you're regarded at work, the greater your chances of scoring the best possible salary increase. Focus on these items, and you just might come to see a nice earnings boost that changes your financial picture for the better.