Top 10 Characteristics of a Solid Employee

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Many factors contribute to the growth and sustainability of an organisation, but there’s one to put at the top of your list this year: a solid workforce. Wasp is here today to tell you the secret to cracking open a solid workforce to benefit your small-to-medium sized business.

Great people make great companies. Simple enough, right? Before we understand the importance of keeping solid employees around, let’s take a look at the effect of employee retention for benefits in a small business. Studies calculate each time a business replaces an employee it costs approximately six to nine months’ salary. If you’re a small business manager, making approximately €35,682 annual income, that adds up to around €17,841 to €26,761 in recruiting and training expenses. When you have great employees, keeping them around is worth it.

It’s quite simple to find applicants who meet the required skills, education and experience for a position, but finding solid employees that will grow your business take looking beyond the baseline. What you need to be looking for are skills and traits not printed on a resume.


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 So how exactly do you measure those traits? How do you know what makes a solid employee? 

1. WILLINGNESS TO LEARN

One of the most valuable characteristics of an employee is their willingness to learn. According to Bright Hub, “teachable employees approach every day, every situation and every criticism as an opportunity to learn and grow.” Bright Hub provided a great summary of how the lessons teachable employees learn help their abilities and the overall organisation:

  • Build their knowledge base
  • Improve decision-making
  • Expand emotional intelligence
  • Serve as a resource and collaborator for those around them

If you have the opportunity to have someone in your workforce who listens to your feedback, adjusts, constantly strives to do better and takes criticism in account, why would you turn that down?

2. PASSIONATE

If an employee is passionate about their work and company, they’re less likely to leave. Anyone being interviewed for a position is more than likely going to seem passionate, however, you need to be able to separate fake passion from real passion. The separation won’t be as clear as oil in water, but considering these questions from Wasp the next time you are trying to determine a person’s passion can aid your guidance:

  • What are two things you’ve done in the past year that demonstrate your willingness to work hard?
  • Give an example of a time you defended your organization or a group you belong to. How did you feel about doing it? How did you go about doing it? What was the response of the other party/parties?

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3. TRANSPARANCY

Sadly, most employees today realize they should look out for themselves and not count on their co-workers to be reliable. According to an article by Forbes, being transparent in the workforce is a powerful thing. Trusting yourself and being trusted by others is the stepping-stone of a successful business. Sometimes seeing is believing, and it comforts employees to know when a co-worker is being genuine. How exactly does someone who attains a transparent quality benefit a workforce?

  • Problems are solved faster
  • Teams are built easier
  • Relationships grow authentically
  • People begin to promote trust
  • Higher-levels of performance emerge

4. GOOD COMMUNICATOR

Communication, personal or business, is unavoidably used every day. For businesses, good communication matters for the daily operations, but also has the ability to sway sales and profitability. According to an article by Chron, “without good business communication, the internal and external structure of a business can face numerous challenges that can ultimately lead to its demise.” Finding employees with good communication skills matter when you are in the process of growing a business. Each form of communication, primarily verbal, written and expressed (body language), provide benefits for the success of small businesses. Voice Power points out benefits that include:


“Without good business communication, the internal and external structure of a business can face numerous challenges that can ultimately lead to its demise.”


  • Powerful partnerships and collaborations
  • Enhancement of employee trust and loyalty
  • Promoted productivity
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Boost in business sales when internal communication is commuted to vendors and customers

5. DRIVEN

Employees who don’t set personal or work goals are essentially driving a car with no directions, wasting time and energy. What organisation has time and energy to waste? In order to reach your organisation’s goals, you need to hire goal-oriented people. How can you really tell if someone is goal-oriented outside of an interview? Success Orientations has provided a list of phrases you might hear a goal-oriented person say, it includes:

  • “What’s the fastest way there?”
  • “I can’t go for lunch with you today. I am meeting with Jim for lunch. We are going over our plan for meeting our sales target.”
  • “I will have the project done by noon tomorrow.”
  • “I plan to be able to run 10km in 11 minutes by July 1st. And then place in the top 10 runners in the marathon in August.”

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6. WORK ETHIC

Investopedia has provided helpful information regarding good ethics in business activity. Specifically for employees, decisions are made in less time with business ethics as a guiding principle. This is important because it increases overall productivity and employee moral. Employees who complete work honestly and ethically allow the entire organisation to benefit. The benefits of hiring employees with good work ethic include:

  • A wholesome atmosphere
  • Improved personal responsibility
  • Quality teamwork
  • Increased morale
  • Avoidance of scandal

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7. ORGANISED AND DETAIL FOCUSED

Small businesses that are trying to increase employees need to deliver on many fronts that bosses can’t micromanage. It is easy to overlook employees who are organised and detail focused in the hiring process, but these individuals are the true MVPs of the organisation and here’s why:

  • their keenness to discovering issues at hand
  • their proactive attitude that emphases designing concepts and plans for correcting issues or handling tasks
  • their patience and determination to explore issues and all elements of an issue until they discover the reason and solve it accurately

Keep in mind organised and detail oriented employees are fantastic for research and developing resolution to issues within your small business.

8. ADJUSTABLE

The business word is erratic and situations are constantly evolving. Your small business environment should be growing and maturing as well. Solid employees who can adapt to new situations will allow you to grow your business without breaking a sweat. If you’re wondering how exactly that’s possibly, wonder no more because employees who adjust well to changes:

  • are worthy of retention
  • venture into new domains
  • have the opportunity to learn
  • encourage innovative thinking
  • overcome fear
  • prompt initiative

9. CREATIVE

Small businesses need employees with creative minds in order to find solutions and come up with ideas to benefit the organisation. It can be difficult to determine the amount of creativity a prospect attains, until you discover:

  • if they’ve made any suggestions to supervisors in previous jobs
  • how they come up with ideas
  • their willingness to express ideas and suggestions
  • how their ideas are received by others
  • what they’ve done with ideas they’ve had
  • the amount of success their ideas have had

If you are able to find creative employees that entail the traits listed above, you’re on the right track. While those are very generic aspects, be mindful of your specific organisational atmosphere and make sure the prospective employee is a good fit.

10. TEAM PLAYER

Last, but certainly not least, a solid employee needs to be a team player. Total HR Management says, “By having a workplace characterized by team players and coachable people, a manager will ensure the future productivity and profitability of their company.”

The previous nine characteristics are equally important, but to summarize a solid workforce includes knowing if you have solid team players. Look around at your current “team”, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Are my employees willing to change and take on new tasks?
  • Are my employees coachable? Can they learn from their mistakes?
  • Do my employees actually listen when they’re giving constructive criticism?
  • Are my employees open about issues they are having with the organization and situations that might make them feel uncomfortable?
  • Do my employees make ethical decisions and put the organisation’s needs above their own?

When you’re able to answer “yes” to all of these questions, you know your small business workforce is solid. Most importantly, you know your employees are only benefiting your business. The growth and stability of your organisation has many contributing factors, and we encourage you to use the list above in guiding your qualifications for new hires. Great employees make great companies, and they’re worth it.

Jason Sentell

Jason Sentell

Product Marketing Manager at Wasp Barcode
Jason Sentell is a Product Marketing Manager, responsible for development and execution of Wasp's product marketing strategy.
Jason Sentell
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