Start by thinking about the colleagues you’ve most enjoyed working with–the most successful and likable people. I’m confident the list below starts to describe these people, the most respected employees have a lot in common and

  • It’s this person we want to develop our incumbent staff into and
  • Its these people we want to find and bring on board.
  1. Buy into the vision.

Let’s start with this because truly great employees have a lot of options. They could probably work just about anywhere. So when they choose an employer, they make sure that the organization stands for something they can stand behind. Otherwise they go somewhere else.

  1. They look out for their peers.

A workplace isn’t a family, but it is a group of people who should be committed to each other’s success. Great employees know this. Great employees help out where and when they can. Lone wolves usually can’t succeed and need not apply.

  1. They take initiative.

As a boss, and as a colleague, there’s nothing more annoying than an employee who sits on his or her hands, rather than tackling jobs that need to be done–regardless of whether the job is technically within that person’s job description.

3b. They loathe negativity

An after-thought for point 3 there is something more annoying and it’s the employee that sits there and complains about others not doing what they are supposed to be doing or doing things poorly or things that are wrong with everyone in the company without ever self-reflecting.

  1. They follow through.

Reliability is a requirement. There’s not much more to say on this one

4b. Another after thought – Reliability is a habit. One good run, spurts of reliability followed by lulls or dips isn’t the behaviour of the best employees. The best employee is consistently on the ball with people, process, help, feedback and performance.

  1. They offer good suggestions.

They realise that buying into the vision doesn’t mean that strategy or day-to-day tasks don’t need to be done or can’t be done a little better. Great employees are always looking for ways to improve.

  1. They use positive language

Quick to highlight potential change the idea is delivered as positive and constructive feedback to make things better for all

  1. They accept that they can’t always win.

While they’re working for someone else, they don’t have to agree with every detail to give their all for the team.

  1. They don’t sulk

They don’t sulk – Not much more to say on this one.

  1. They support the leaders.

They champion the great leaders and endure the not-so-great ones. If they can’t do that, keeping in mind there might be very valid reasons for it, they probably should be trying to find another place to work.

  1. They take responsibility for their careers.

Modern employment changes are inevitable; technology, process, qualifications, systems, client requirements amongst others, however, not all are going to be constant especially in this industry. No matter how great they are, great employees nurture their networks and look for ways to develop their skills.

  1. They Share.

When something works they share with the team, when something doesn’t work they share with the team but mindful of point 6.

  1. They take care of themselves and their families.

Great employees recognise that if they don’t take care of the other parts of their lives–their health, their happiness, their families–they’re unlikely to be truly successful at their job.

  1. They act ethically.

This should go without saying, but of course it doesn’t. Great employees strive to get stuff done, but they also have a bias toward morality and fair dealing.

  1. They have a sense of humour.

You know what’s funny? Most things, if seen in the right light. Almost all jobs are sometimes stressful, and great employees are those who are able to laugh – and help everyone else laugh – especially in difficult times. The difficulty will most often pass but the memory of how you conducted yourself during that period remains.

  1. They look for chances to help people.

The core of a company should be problem solving. So whether it’s a chance to help a colleague complete a task, or to help a potential customer find an answer, great employees always want to be part of the solution.

15b. One more after-thought – they understand that they work for a business and businesses don’t always provide the customers with the solution for free.

  1. They evangelise.

Everyone’s job involves sales, to some degree. Great employees know this, and are happy to spread the news about their company’s great products, services, and culture not just when they are happy.

  1. They say thanks.

Gratitude improves relationships and simply makes people happier and more productive. So great employees express their appreciation.

17b. They have good manners, we are not saying that they are all “Miss Marple” or governess from the “King and I” but good language, mannerisms and appreciation of the team are at the core of the employee.

  1. They count to 10.

We all have moments of frustration. Rather than reacting immediately, great employees count to 10–sometimes figuratively, sometimes even literally.

  1. They quit.

Well, sometimes. What they don’t do is decide that a job isn’t for them–but stay on forever anyway while complaining about all the things that are negative about the place and how they should have or are going to leave.

  1. They recruit.

Finding and retaining great employees is an ongoing challenge in any organization. Great employees–as part of their evangelising for the organisation–are always on the lookout for other great employees to bring in.