What makes a GREAT employee?

What makes a GREAT employee?

I have great employees. I find myself talking about them often. There are many times when I speak to other business owners and listen patiently as they express their concerns/gripes/issues regarding their employees. I hear it all:

"They just don't care"
"I can't get them to show up"
"They are always miserable and complaining"
"They refuse to learn new things"
"Flaky"
"No concerns for customers"
"They only care about themselves and not the company"

When I respond and say that we are very lucky and have a great team, I get asked often, "What makes them great?" I list many attributes of what I think make a great employee, but often times, I can't put my finger on it exactly.

Well, I came across this article yesterday and I think it is about as dead on as any quick read on the topic of great employees. Take a look and let me know what you think. Are you a great employee?

10 Things Really Amazing Employees Do Inc.com


As a longtime employer of dozens, I was always grateful to have good employees. It takes a lot to recruit and maintain top plumbing talent. Every once in a while special employees come along that just really seem to get it. They drive the entire company forward in ways that were unimaginable. Advancement and reward is never an issue for these rock stars because they understand the power of cause and effect, and only a worthy company can retain them and afford them. Here are 10 things amazing employees seem to do effortlessly. Here's how to help your great employees be even more amazing.
  1. Enthusiastically Learn All Aspects of Business They understand they're part of something bigger and more worthwhile than just their job. They look to learn other areas of the business and be fluent in finance and management so they'll positively impact multiple areas of the company. What you can do: Invest in material and seminars on business basics like accounting, marketing, and management so all employees have easy access to learn and grow.
  2. Steward the Company They treat the company as if it were theirs. They look to make prudent decisions about expenses and opportunities with the long-term future of the company in mind. They easily assess risk vs. reward, selflessly when making decisions. What you can do: Be transparent in your business. The more you share your financials and philosophy, the easier it is for employees to make the right decisions.
  3. Generate Viable Opportunities You don't have to be in sales or marketing to help a company grow. Strong networkers from all divisions see company growth as a collective effort and constantly keep their eyes open for ways to more than pay for themselves. What you can do: Make sure all your employees understand your value proposition and can easily identify opportunities. Then reward them openly for their efforts.
  4. Resolve Issues Before They Are Issues My favorite days running companies are when I notice positive change in procedure when I was totally unaware of the need for change. Amazing employees are always looking to improve systems proactively, and they do. What you can do: Communicate a clear written vision of where the company is going and encourage initiative so people feel safe and empowered to make change.
  5. Tell It Like It Is Amazing employees understand that hiding bad news helps no one. They find kind ways to bring uncomfortable information to the surface, but they DO bring it to the surface. They tell people what's necessary before major damage is done. What you can do: Foster an open communication environment where people are not only given permission to tell the truth, but also absolutely required.
  6. Demonstrate High Standards, With Low Maintenance I always feel relaxed when I can trust an employee to perform a task to the same high standards I would expect from myself. Not all can do this without constant attention or difficulty. Amazing employees quietly drive their own high standards. What you can do: Set the example and the tone for high performance with minimal drama. Publicly reward those who can execute in the same manner.
  7. Grow Themselves, and Others They not only drive their own career but they inspire others to do the same. These employees lead by example in how to advance without creating animosity or resentment. They see and create their perfect future, and also bring others along. What you can do: Encourage personal development and peer growth through dedicated group time and learning for career advancement.
  8. Research, Apply, and Refine No employer expects people to know everything. In this fast changing world, I choose employees who will learnover those who know. The best employee proactively explores options, takes action and then improves without direction from the top. What you can do: Invest time in exploration and expansive thinking. Encourage people to explore deep visionary projects with time and reward for the findings.
  9. Stimulate Happiness Amazing employees aren't always sunshine and roses. They do know how to keep it real. But they understand the dynamics of people, stress, and the blend of work, life and friendship. They are self-aware and able to direct their own path that brings out their best with family, friends and career. They exude positive energy even in stressful times and share it around, making for a happier office. What you can do: Create an environment where people can openly express themselves. Encourage them to work hard in fulfilling ways and achieve their dreams.
  10. Facilitate Amazing Bosses Amazing employees make me grow as an employer. They self-confidently get their value and help me get mine. They make me want to be worthy of working with somebody of such high caliber, without ever saying it directly of course. What you can do: Make effort to genuinely show appreciation for any of the behaviors above so people feel their value and will grow to full potential. Then they will do the same for you.
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