What Makes a Good Employee

The success of your business depends, in large part, on the quality of your employees. But, discovering and hiring the right talent is a perennial challenge facing all organizations. It can be frustratingly difficult to find candidates with the necessary skills and experience for open positions in the first place. And, when you do find them, it’s hard to know whether they possess the other requisite qualities that will allow them to thrive in your organization.

Here are some of the key ‘soft’ qualities to look for in job candidates that suggest they will make stellar employees:

Good Communication Skills

Being able to communicate well, at all levels, is of paramount importance in any organization. Not only should employees be articulate, they should also be able to write well. Good presentation skills are useful too, especially in any client-facing or leadership position.

Another key, often overlooked, communication skill is listening. Good listeners learn more effectively and work more efficiently by following directions and paying attention to details. They speak up and ask questions when instructions aren’t clear. Good listeners are more likely to have satisfied clients and strong bonds with teammates. Company leaders who practice effective listening—whereby they actively acknowledge what others are saying to them—better motivate their employees which, ultimately, results in a more stable workforce.

Strong Work Ethic

Employees who have a strong work ethic get things done. They are motivated to produce top quality work and meet deadlines, regardless of outside pressures or influence. They go out of their way to provide excellent customer service and treat their co-workers with respect. They are disciplined, diligent workers who have a sense of responsibility toward the company and its customers.

Positive Attitude

A positive workplace attitude is important for many reasons. For starters, it’s contagious: employees are more likely to have a positive outlook on their work if others around them do as well. Also, a good attitude is normally accompanied by an enthusiasm for learning which can be enormously valuable to your organization. Employees with a positive attitude are more likely to have the confidence and tenacity to attack challenges head on. And, a positive work environment is likely to be less stressful than one where employees are complaining and unhappy.


Not only do employees need to show up on time every day for work, they must be able to follow instructions, prioritize tasks, and buckle down to produce deliverables in a timely fashion. Dependable employees follow through on their work commitments even if there are some roadblocks along the way.

Good Team Player

Employees must be able to work well with others, cooperating and collaborating for the greater company good. A certain amount of humility, compassion, and good will is required in order to do this successfully. Rather than competing with teammates, employees should be willing to support them in the interest of achieving broader business goals.

Honesty and Integrity

It should go without saying that all employees must be honest; unfortunately, as we read daily in the news, that isn’t always the case. Honest employees don’t steal, cheat, or otherwise cut corners in their work. They also don’t lie to their co-workers, boss, and clients, or intentionally undermine their team members. Honesty begets trust and confidence in the workplace, key factors in successful organizations.

Integrity is closely related to honesty and is just as important to your organization. Employees with integrity have a moral commitment to doing the right thing. They work hard, follow company rules, and treat fellow employees with compassion and respect.

Independent and Resourceful

It’s important to hire employees who can work independently since most managers don’t have the time or wherewithal to micromanage their direct-reports. A key aspect of being an independent worker is pinpointing the tools, training, and resources needed to get the job done, without close direction.

Critical Thinking

Employee critical thinking skills—the ability to observe facts objectively to make a logical decision—are essential to a company’s mission. Critical thinkers make effective decisions and avoid costly mistakes. They figure out how to do/make things better. Often also known as outside-the-box thinkers, these employees are more likely to accomplish tasks more efficiently and improve results, using an innovative approach.

Adaptable and Open to Feedback

Given the competitive and constantly-changing business marketplace, it’s necessary to employ people who are adaptable to change. Employees must be willing to pivot in their roles as the business dictates and learn new skills as necessary. Along the way, they must be open to feedback and able to make course corrections on demand.

The good news is that all of these traits of a good employee are related in one way or another. That means if you recruit the right candidates who manifest some of the more obvious of these attributes, chances are they’ll have at least a few of the others. For example, a candidate with a positive attitude is likely also to be a good team player. Similarly, a candidate who has proven to be dependable probably has a strong work ethic.

The key to finding a good employee is recruiting strong candidates in the first place. Contact the experts at LINK Staffing.