The Traits of a Great Employee
Let’s face it: hiring a new employee isn’t easy. It’s time-consuming and expensive. You want to make sure the right person is joining your team—because if they don’t fit, you’re not going back to square one. You’ll have to play catch-up just to get to square one and then it starts all over again. How do you make sure you’re making the right decision?
First, you’ve determined you need to bring on a new hire and you’ve written the job description. Now take a moment to look at your very best people and what they have in common that makes them such stellar employees and look for those traits during the interview process.
However, this all may be easier said than done. Maybe you’ve been going on instinct and it hasn’t been quite on target. Maybe you’re delegating that responsibility now, and have to rely on your hiring manager to make decisions that used to be under your purview. Or maybe this is the first time you’re hiring someone and you have no idea where to start.
We’ve come up with a list that can help you identify those qualities that add up to a great employee. Tweak it as necessary to meet the needs of the position and your company.
A potential employee must have the skillset to do the job. Entry-level hires or someone transitioning into a new industry may not walk through the door with a whole lot of specific experience. But if they have translatable skills or an appropriate educational background, they just might be the right person for the job. Look beyond the responsibilities and accomplishments listed on their resume—it’s highly likely they’ve tailored that document to meet the needs of the position, so dig a bit and see what’s under the surface.
Are your employees able to respond and react to changes in the workplace and your customers’ needs? There are a lot of moving parts in any company and you want to know that your team is nimble enough to keep them in motion.
Confident people = successful employees. They aren’t afraid to speak up, throw out new ideas or express their opinions. Confidence builds trust among colleagues and clients. Confident employees are ambitious and take initiative, and are more willing to take on challenging projects.
Independent Team Player
Yeah, that. You want someone who can get their work done without you hovering over their shoulder and who plays well with others. BUT. Some people thrive when they collaborate and some can really crank it out when they work autonomously. Neither one is better than the other, but there has to be a balance between the two.
Interestingly, people who’ve played on athletic teams in school (especially at the collegiate level) come to the workplace with a “Go Team” attitude and tend to handle constructive feedback well. They are strong communicators, possess good time management skills and have the discipline necessary to achieve goals.
Your employees need to fit into your company’s culture. Are their core values aligned with your company’s values and mission? Are they passionate about the industry or just looking for a job? Will they become a brand ambassador for your company? A good cultural fit makes for a good employee.
Employees who move past the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” attitude are pure gold. These are the people who wonder how other organizations tick, what they can do differently to accomplish their goals, about their co-workers and who explore interests outside of work. They’re the ones who come up with new ideas and whose questions are prefaced with, “What if…’ You want them on your team.
When it’s all said and done, you want employees who are loyal. And not just because you’re looking for blind obedience or people who’ve been punching the time clock for years and years—these are the employees who want your company to be successful, because it means they’re successful, too. They truly want customers to be satisfied and they have a personal investment that goes way beyond their paycheck and how much vacation time they’ve accrued. That investment extends to their co-workers and the products or services you offer. Employee loyalty is a pillar of your company’s foundation. Remember, this is a quid pro quo trait. You need to be as loyal to your employees as you expect them to be to you and your company.
“There are two pillars that I always lean on when adding someone new to our team.
The first is the common phrase: Hire slow and fire fast. This means, take your time in making sure your hire is the right fit. Bringing someone in that isn’t a positive to your culture, and worse if they’re around for longer than they should, could do serious damage to your company. The rest of your team can be negatively affected, your clients will feel it, you’re playing damage control instead of working on your business, and the fun is diminished. For me, I’ll never jeopardize the fun. Life is too short.
The second thing that I stress in our hires at Journey Employer Services, is hiring heart. You can teach skills. You can adjust roles to create the best synergy. You can’t teach heart.”
– Kevin Welch, CEO of Journey Employer Solutions
Of course, there are many qualities that good great employees embody. Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine which are the most important, and we’ve got you to square one.