The traits of the best employees

By Tom O'Neil

Hiring people with a "team-first" attitude will ensure a spirit of collaboration prevails.
Hiring people with a "team-first" attitude will ensure a spirit of collaboration prevails.

Ever since the dawn of time, employers have been trying to find the most effective ways to recruit new team members. I asked a number of business leaders within the human resources and recruitment worlds, "What are the key attributes that make a model employee?" hoping to find common themes they look for.

Self-awareness

Rachael Regan-Paterson, HR director of global operations for Fonterra, believes self-awareness, self-efficacy and learning agility are key. "Those employees who stand out due to their confidence, sense of themselves and their belief in their ability to make a difference, find ways to make things happen, while at the same time go about it in a way that is respectful of others. These people tend to bring a positive energy to any organisation and lift those around them."

Glass half full

Director of Frog Recruitment Jane Kennelly believes a key attribute is a "glass half full" mentality.

"Business is unpredictable and change is constant -- so to have employees who can adapt to changes confidently with a positive outlook are invaluable."

Jane also believes an "action focus" and a "you can count on me" attitude are key in a model employee. "Employees who can be relied on for 'a job well done' create an atmosphere of trust and reliability."

Team-first attitude

Graeme Hansen held a number of CEO roles in the Barclays Banking Group internationally, before becoming chief executive of the NZ Racing Board and now chairman or director of a number of private entrepreneurial companies.

He believes having a "fire in the belly" for the team (not being self-interested) is pivotal. This ensures the team performs at its optimum and a spirit of collaboration prevails. As well as this, they must be ethical, have a high standard of integrity and bring a spirit of fun to proceedings.

Emotional intelligence

Garry Bell, chief executive at Preston Russell Law, rates team fit, work ethic, emotional intelligence and team orientation his key employment competencies.

"I think the big one is emotional intelligence, especially in a big open-plan team as we have -- it can have a huge impact if just one person lacks the ability to have insight into their own behaviours or being able to gauge the space colleagues are in and adjusting an approach accordingly."

Integrity and honesty

For Mike Marr, chief executive of Advanced Security, a high level of integrity is at the top, alongside a "can-do, problem-solving attitude and a high level of energy and stability". "We want to take employees on a journey with us over long term. Therefore the average length of time applicants have stayed at previous employers is very important to us."

Chief executive for the Human Resources Institute of NZ Chris Till also feels integrity is vital. "The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles lies at the heart of all functional human relationships. If you cannot trust the people around you, how can you hope to work effectively together?"

As well as this, being flexible is key, as is a high level of emotional intelligence.

Remember when you are hiring, finding staff with these attributes will go a long way to ensure a positive result for you and your business.

Tom O'Neil is an award-winning business speaker and best-selling international author. TomONeil.com

- NZ Herald

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