At a time when employers can be especially choosy about hiring, should they now pass on great employees and hold out for those who are truly remarkable?
While great employees may be reliable, dependable, proactive, diligent, and demonstrate the ability to both lead and follow, remarkable employees are all these and can also make a major impact on performance.
In Jeff Haden’s recent Inc. Magazine article “Eight Qualities of Remarkable Employees,” he defines these follows:
1. They ignore job descriptions – Think on your feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, do whatever it takes, regardless of role, to get things done.
2. They are eccentric . . . – Think out of the box, question the status quo, unafraid to stretch existing boundaries.
3. But they know when to dial it back – They know when to play and when to be serious; when to be irreverent and when to conform; when to challenge and when to back off.
4. They publicly praise . . . – A compliment from a peer in group settings can be especially powerful when this is someone others look up to.
5. And they privately complain – They bring up sensitive issues or concerns in a private setting to avoid disrupting the larger group.
6. They speak when others won’t – Remarkable employees have an ability to understand what concerns fellow employees and speak up for those who may be intimidated to speak up publicly or privately.
7. They like to prove others wrong – This is the intrinsic drive to exceed other’s expectations because it’s deeper and personal.
8. They’re always fiddling – These people are rarely satisfied (in a good way) and are constantly tinkering with information and processes.
Haden writes that while great employees follow processes, remarkable employees find ways to make those processes even better because they can’t help it.
I suspect many of these same qualities may actually inhibit employees from getting hired in the first place. When you think of the traits beyond skills and experience necessary for a job in your organization, how do these eight stack up?
Finding a job candidate who appears eccentric, challenges existing processes, and complains about anything may raise red flags during an interview. If the person gives examples of how he or she constantly fiddled with information, wouldn’t this raise the question as to what more important things might not have been getting done?
While all these traits of remarkable employees might fit in some organizations in some positions and at a particular point in time, I suspect they might be ill-suited for many. Perhaps only the start-up company is where they are best suited.
Not only that, but it may ultimately take a remarkable boss and a remarkable company to enable these remarkable employees to get hired and to thrive in the work environment.
Instead, for most organizations, I believe settling for these great employees who demonstrate reliability, dependability, pro-activity, diligence and the ability to both lead and follow is the best course of action. Finding and hiring more great employees would benefit every organization.
If remarkable traits surface from among the great employees you’ve hired, perhaps they could then be encouraged and nurtured. Your organization will be better served in the near term and, over time, it may benefit from greater performance simply due to having so many great employees.