I often write about all cool things we do for our employees (and why we do them). I rarely get an opportunity to write about our employees and why they are so deserving. Everyday, I am blown away by how talented, passionate, caring, and smart our employees are. Some “A” players will have a few of these characteristics, but our people all have these attributes. If you can’t command these basic principles from your employees, then you’ve got bigger problems than you care to admit.
1. Evangelize. Employees who are constantly promoting the company because they genuinely believe in the product/ service. They are like a walking-talking-breathing billboard who advertise on the company’s behalf with little interest – other than being employed by the company. Sure, most employees will say a few nice things about their company. However, to truly convey your company’s mission/product/service and get the listener to convert (visit your site, buy or test your product) is incredible. We have an employee who never stops talking about the company. His wife once joking, asked if we fired him the best outcome would be that she would not have to hear about ties and scarves.
2. Fix problems before your customers notice. These are employees who think about your process no matter how perfect or who it was designed by. I know you’re perfect and there is no way you could have designed something or a website with any flaws but still you should be happy if you have employees who notice mistakes, flaws, drawbacks, etc. Another employee comes in on a weekly bases to tell us about a UI issue that we have not addressed (or sometimes not noticed).
3. Will voice their concerns. It takes a certain kind of an employee to question the status quo, especially those set by a manager or co-founder. We grant all of our employees a great deal of earned autonomy so that they feel empowered and (sometimes required) to tell us when something does not make sense to them. The employee that is amazing, will do that rather than just punch in and punch out. One of our employees never stops turning in emails full of concerns about her department. But I love it because I know she cares and just wants things to be improved.
4. Have a sense of ownership. For me, this is a biggie. It really should have been number one. A great employee will take a sense of ownership and by taking on project, going the extra mile, doing things outside of their realm of comfort. Almost all employees here take it a sign of pride when their work is published, launched, gone live etc. Because everyone here takes ownership. We get personally offended when something goes wrong. Thank heavens it doesn’t happen often.
5. Learn a new skill. In a society where mediocrity is not only celebrated but promoted, there are too many people who rely on their current arsenal of tools and expect to get raises, promotions, tip of the had, etc. Great employees will be on a constant self improvement. And not just for self-promotion or to use it as a tool to hit you up for more money but rather because they want to be better as a person. One of our most talented employees learns nothing about his profession but rather about life in general. He is always talking about new things he’s learning.
6. Keeps calm. Not loosing your Sh*t under pressure in very important. I’m not going to say all of our employees are monks, but for the most part everyone here has an even-keeled during stressful situations. We have a team member specifically, that I can always count on never panic’ing, always staying calm and helping other reach the same mental status.
7. Getting their hands dirty. This doesn’t happen everyday but would you be able to ask a director level at your company to do menial labor because you needed it. I’m not talking about scrubbing toilets but you have an unexpected delivery, there are two containers in the back that need to be unloaded and your short staffed today in warehouse because there is a wicked flu going around. I can attest that everyone here has done that and would do it because that’s what we do.
8. Being respectful. No matter what you accomplish, how much you make, how pissed off you may be, being respectful is a large component of how people treat you and how you are treated. our office is small, we are a little less than 50 employees, respect is huge appoint. In fact, respect, is one of a core characteristic we look for now when going through the interview process.
9. Talented and hard-working. So one of the challenges employers face is finding and then attracting (and more importantly retaining) talent. Secondly finding talent that is hard working and have follow through is the perfect paradigm. I like to think that all of our employees have these two components locked. Again, another must-have criteria to work at Wild Attire.
10. Admitting it’s their fault. Being able to fess up to your mistakes and then knowing how to fix them is a talent that is under rated. I don’t care if our employee mess up. I mess up all the time. But being able to own up to it and then having a plant to fix it is an incredible feat. Some time ago, we had an employee who had approved a deal with a partner but had not communicated this to any other department – even though it affected almost every other department. The employee never owned up to the mistake and passed on the responsibility. Furthermore, instead of offering solutions, the employee managed campaign determinedly and quarrel with the team. The employee has not been with us since.
11. Want to learn the business. I always find it amazing when I’m traveling with a new employee or having a meeting with someone who just joined us and the person doesn’t ask any questions. I’m an innately curious person so I may not be the best example but I ask tons and tons of questions everyday. I think I drive my employees crazy. I hunger to learn. I love when employees ask questions and show curiosity. Most of our employees want to learn everything we do here. It’s quite impressive.
12. Will help indoctrinate new employees. I read this on a blog a while back and it’s stuck with me ever since. Since then, I’ve made it a point to watch our existing team members how they help bring-in new employees into the fold. Especially because we are an meritocracy and we have a very tight net sense of community. To be frank, our team does this often better than my partners or I could have ever hoped for.
13. Have a passion for their trade and a passion for the company. In reality. This two things are what I demand of every employee. Anyone ever hired by me knows this very well. It is my personal believe that if you have a passion for your trade and a passion for your company, you’ll never work a day in your life. Because if you are fueled by these two passion for work and trade, everyday would be pursuing your passion. Everyone here (without any exaggeration) has those two components.
14. Asks not what the company can do for them, but asks what they can do for the company. Like person running their own company or employing people of course this is one of my most favorite things about our employees. It’s important that employees also have a sense of civic duty in the office as they would at home, in their personal relationships, in their community etc. If there someone in the lobby someone doesn’t recognize, our employees will introduce themselves and ask if they need any help or if they have been helped. You should stop by and test this out.