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How to Find Your Best Employees and Keep Them Around

It’s so terribly easy to say “He is a bad employee.” It’s a little less likely to hear someone say “She does her job really well.” But both of these sentences are often meaningless, based on personal affection and intuition. How do you really figure out who your best people are?

A good employee has a set of distinctive characteristics in addition to specific work related knowledge. While different jobs require different skill sets you can be pretty sure that all good employees have a recognizable similarity in their mindsets. Keeping these employees around requires a lot of effort.

According to a recent survey done by Globoforce, the No. 1 reason most employees leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. In fact, 65% of people surveyed said they got no recognition for good work last year.

Here are the traits of a model employee:

They want more

They are not happy with achieving the bare minimum. Whether because of ambition or because of personal satisfaction, they are only happy if they can do more than is expected of them.

They ask questions

They want to know things and understand processes. They don’t accept facts at face value, and they are looking for ways to exploit systems to get further.

They’re passionate

They care about their job performance. These are the people whose eyes start to shine when asked “What is it that you do?” And they are the ones who passionately defend their ideas and plans.

They’re weird

They have their personal quarks, which make them different from most employees. That shows, they’re creative, and think outside the box.

They like to prove others wrong

They are driven by a wish to be right. If they have a crazy idea, and everyone is saying it can’t be done, they’ll find a way. They do need some sort of reigning in from their managers but most of the time, it’s better to let them fly.

It’s very hard to evaluate those characteristics with performance review tools or systematic analyses. You can evaluate people with one-on-one meetings, but doing those on a weekly basis can be a huge waste of manager’s time. You need to find these people though. If you don’t hire them or, even worse, if you accidentally let them go, your team loses more value than you realise.

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