10 Characteristics of a Good Employee

Traits of Top Employees

The Ideal Employee 

People who are humorous, loyal and smart not only make good friends or lunch partners – they make great employees. In fact, there is not much disagreement regarding the most common traits that make an employee valuable. You can likely come up with these traits by asking, “What kind of person do I want to work with?” or “What traits do I look for in a life partner?”

Common Traits of Top Employees

  1. Intelligent. Whether the job description requires cleaning sinks in the bathroom or solving complex math problems, using your brain is critical to getting any job done correctly and efficiently, regardless of skill level. 
  1. Eager. The best employees are those who are not afraid to take on the new project or the picky client. An eager employee will volunteer to stay late or come in early if that’s what it will take to get the job done correctly. 
  1. Positive. While the quality of work is important, no one in the office wants to work with someone who is never happy. An upbeat personality and a smiling face are definitely valuable in the workplace (and much appreciated). 
  1. Confident. Confidence is the secret ingredient to growth. When an employee is confident, he or she is more willing to take on new challenges and/or goals, increasing personal value to the company and contributing to professional growth. 
  1. Modest. The majority of roles will require at least a little bit of teamwork. No one likes to work with someone who takes all the credit. If an employee can share an idea for the better of the group and not expect a reward in return, he or she is a keeper. 
  1. Passionate. When your job is your passion, it is no longer an obligation. Passionate people are driven to help the cause because they feel it is in the best interest of their well-being. A passionate person is a hard-working person. 
  1. Organized. Regardless of the field or type of work, organizational skills are critical and often not something that can be taught. Meeting deadlines, remembering names and setting reminders are all actions of well-organized employees. 
  1. Flexible. In modern working environments, it is common for employees to have to switch from one project to another quickly, or even work on many projects at once. The flexibility to switch gears is an ideal trait for employees to covet.
  1. Professional. A great employee can set aside personal beliefs and biases in order to get the job done correctly. Proper introductions, appropriate attire and grammatically correct emails are all measures of professionalism.
  1. Reflective. The mark of any great leader (or employee) is the ability to look back on a project and determine what went wrong and what went right so the same mistakes are not made project after project. 

When applying for a new job or reevaluating your current one, take a moment to reflect on whether you are exhibiting these qualities. If you are hiring for a new position, it can be helpful to look out and even test for these qualities to ensure you find a great team member and a productive employee.

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