What Are the Qualities of a Good Employee?

Qualities of a good employee

As an HR manager, you know a company is only as strong as its employees.

Your employees are the backbone of your company. They are the ones who interact with customers, produce products, and provide services.

In many ways, they are the ambassadors of your brand, and their interactions with customers can either reinforce or undermine your brand identity. 

That’s why knowing what qualities to look for in new hires is essential.

By finding candidates who align with your company’s values and providing them with comprehensive training, employees will be able to represent your brand effectively. So, what should you look for? 

Identifying the qualities of a good employee

What are the qualities of a good employee

It can be tricky trying to identify the qualities of a good employee, but it is crucial to take the time to do it right. 

While some qualities may be specific to the industry or type of work, others are essential for any good employee.

In order to help you, we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask yourself before hiring a new employee: 

Would I be happy working for this person? 

Prior to hiring a new employee, Mark Zuckerberg always asks himself this question.

“I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person,”

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta Platforms

If the answer is no, then it’s likely that they are not a good fit for your company.

Is this person going to help shape our company culture? 

One of the most essential qualities in a new hire is whether or not they will help shape and maintain your company culture.

A good employee will be someone who is aligned with your company values and will help create a positive and productive work environment.

If you are not sure, you can ask yourself these additional questions:

  • Do they seem like someone who will be a good team player?
  • Do they have the ability to take feedback constructively?
  • Do they have the right attitude and personality to mesh well with our team?
  • Will they be a positive influence on our company culture?

Company culture is not just about the work environment but also the way that employees interact with each other.

Do they seem enthusiastic about this particular job?

A good employee takes the initiative and isn’t afraid to ask questions. They want to know how things work and are always looking for ways to improve.

It is important to hire someone who is excited about the job and who is eager to learn and grow in their role.

These additional questions are worth asking yourself:

  • Is the person asking you questions?
  • Do they seem engaged and interested in the role that they would be playing in your company?
  • Do they have ideas about how they could improve things?

A good employee is curious and always looking to learn more. They want to be a part of making your company better.

Are you feeling uneasy in your gut?

What is your gut feeling about this possible hire?

You can usually tell when something feels “off” if you feel that way.

Of course, you can’t base your decision on a hunch alone – as this could actually be a bias you have. 

The following questions can help if you aren’t sure:

  • Do they have the necessary qualifications?
  • What is the person’s body language telling you?
  • Do their stories add up?
  • What do your co-workers think of this person?

In many cases, it might be better to be short-staffed for a little while than to have someone on board who doesn’t fit.

Now, let’s take a look at the seven qualities of a good employee. Here are some of the traits you should be watching out for when hiring:

The 7 qualities of a good employee

#1 Having confidence in their abilities

Qualities of a good employee how to identify confidence

As any employer knows, confidence is an essential quality for good employees. In a study conducted by Indeed, 98% of workers said that feeling confident leads to better performance.

Not only does it show that they believe in their own abilities, but it also demonstrates that they are comfortable taking risks and making decisions

If an employee does not believe in themself, it will be difficult for them to succeed. A lack of confidence can also lead to problems with authority figures, as the employee may not feel comfortable taking direction from someone they don’t respect.

What makes an employee confident? 

  • They’re comfortable taking the initiative and working independently
  • They can handle criticism and constructive feedback
  • They’re always willing to learn new things and improve their skills
  • They’re punctual, reliable, and take their work seriously

Confidence is not only necessary in how an employee perceives themself but also in how others see them. If your staff member seems unsure of themself, it can be off-putting to customers or clients. 

A confident employee, on the other hand, comes across as competent, which can inspire trust.

#2 An optimistic approach to problem-solving

A good employee is someone who can see the silver lining in every situation. They are always looking for ways to improve things and find solutions to problems.

The optimistic employee sees obstacles as opportunities for growth.

An optimistic employee positively influences the rest of the team and can help create a positive work environment. 

In fact, according to a study done by Forbes, optimistic employees are 103% more inspired to give their best at work.

An optimistic employee: 

  • Believes that there is always a way to improve
  • Seeks out solutions to problems
  • Is proactive rather than reactive
  • Is always looking for ways to learn and grow

An optimistic employee is a problem-solver and they don’t give up quickly. This can be an invaluable asset in any workplace.

On the other hand, the pessimistic employee sees problems as impossible and is often resistant to change. This type of employee can drag a team, as they are often negative and unwilling to try new things.

An optimistic approach to problem-solving is not only about finding solutions; it’s also about seeing the potential in every situation.

#3 Possesses a trustworthiness

The quality of trustworthiness is essential for any good employee. A trustworthy employee can be relied on to show up on time, do their job well, and take direction without complaint.

A trustworthy employee is someone you can count on to do their job well and without supervision.

What makes an employee trustworthy?

  • They’re honest in their work
  • They follow through on their commitments
  • They can be counted on to do their job well
  • They are reliable & show up on time

On the other hand, an untrustworthy employee may cut corners or not do their job to the best of their ability. This can cost your company time and money in the long run.

While there are other important qualities to look for in an employee, trustworthiness is sure to be one of the key ingredients in any successful workplace.

After all, it’s the foundation of a strong working relationship.

#4 Listening is one of his strongest traits

A good employee is a good listener. They understand the importance of communication and know that sometimes the best action is to listen.

It shows that they’re interested in what you have to say, allows them to understand instructions and tasks more clearly. It also demonstrates that they’re respectful of others.

A good listener:

  • Makes eye contact
  • Is patient & does not interrupt
  • Asks clarifying questions
  • Paraphrases what you’ve said to show they understand

Pay attention to how they interact with others and whether they seem to understand what’s being said.

“Dealing with colleagues who don’t listen is both hard and frustrating” 

Sabina Nawaz, Global CEO and Executive Coach  

If your potential staff member does not seem to be a good listener, it may be difficult for them to succeed in their role. Be sure to assess it during the hiring process.

#5 A healthy approach to resolving conflicts

A good employee is someone who knows how to resolve conflicts healthily. They can communicate effectively, listen to others, and find common ground.

When conflicts arise, a good employee will work to resolve them in a way that benefits everyone involved. This can be a difficult task, but it’s an important one.

A healthy approach to conflict resolution:

  • Respects others’ points of view
  • Willing to compromise
  • Seeks win-win solutions

An unhealthy approach to conflict resolution:

  • Withdraws from the situation or shuts down
  • Gets defensive and refuses to listen to the other person’s perspective
  • Tries to “win” the argument rather than working towards a resolution

Do they seem to be able to resolve conflict in a way that benefits all parties? Or do they tend to make the situation worse?

A healthy approach to resolving conflict is an important quality in any employee. Be sure to keep an eye out for it during the hiring process.

#6 Capable of leading

Having the ability to lead is a good sign when hiring. This quality is important because it shows that they’re able to take charge when necessary and get the job done.

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

John C Maxwell, Author of The Five Levels of Leadership

Leadership skills are also beneficial in the long run. When employees progress in their careers, they may be given leadership roles, so it’s vital that they are capable of handling them. 

A capable leader is:

  • Able to motivate and inspire others
  • Able to delegate tasks effectively
  • Able to make tough decisions
  • Able to stay calm under pressure
  • Able to think creatively
  • Able to solve problems quickly and effectively

A good leader is someone who can take charge and get the job done without having to second guess themselves. They are willing to put in the extra work to get the job done.

Being a good leader is an important quality to have in the workplace. It is an asset for any company to have potential leaders.

#7 Having a positive outlook on life outside of work

People’s attitudes toward work often reflect their overall outlook on life. A WEF study found that happy employees achieve 13% higher sales and are more productive at work.

Those who view work as a necessary evil are often the same people who see life as a series of drudgeries to be endured.

On the other hand, those who see work as an opportunity to pursue their passions and make a difference in the world often have a more positive outlook on life.

When we enjoy our lives outside of work, we bring that positivity into our professional lives. 

We become more engaged and enthusiastic about what we’re doing.

We’re also more likely to build strong relationships with our colleagues. And when we feel good about ourselves, we’re more likely to be productive and successful.

A positive person: 

  • Makes the workplace a more positive place to work
  • Is more likely to be engaged in their work
  • Is more likely to see opportunities rather than problems
  • Collaborates more effectively with others

They may not love every minute of their job, but they approach each day with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose.

Qualities of a good employee vs a bad employee

The right employees will help grow your business and achieve success.

“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.”

Marc Benioff, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce

Once you’ve found the right employees, be sure to treat them well. Offer competitive salaries and benefits, and create a positive work environment. When your employees are happy and supported, they will be more likely to go above and beyond for your business.

A happy workforce comes up with new innovative ideas and better ways to serve customers.

As a result, the company does better overall.

Your employees will either make or break your business

When hiring new employees, keep an eye out for these qualities.

The right employees will help to grow your business and achieve success. Look for individuals who are not only skilled and knowledgeable but who also have the right attitude and work ethic.

With the right team in place, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your business goals.

What qualities do you look for in a potential employee? Let us know in the comments below!

Elmeri Palokangas is the founder of elmerpal.com, where he teaches on topics like content creation, advertising, and making money online. With a rich experience in the advertising space, Elmeri wants to share his knowledge bombs with other entrepreneurs, to help them maximize their sales.

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Grace Donaldson

Grace is a content writer with a thirst for knowledge and coffee. You'll find her reading in a small cafè or singing at a rundown jazz bar when she's not overconsuming coffee or compartmentalizing her thoughts into a blog post.


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