What makes a great employee? Is it their ability to reach and exceed their targets? Their unwavering adherence to the rules? Or is the exceptional achieved outside of the bounds of standard KPIs?
Whilst certain employee credentials are relatively easy to measure, the virtues that separate the great from the good are often harder to define, with many businesses incorrectly identifying their superstars based on facts and figures rather than their less quantifiable qualities.
This is largely due to a fairly outdated performance appraisal system, which typically comprises simple, clear-cut, metrics that are overly straight-forward and make little provision for evaluation outside the bounds of the basic job description.
Not only does this type of condensed appraisal leave little scope to appraise the things that really matter, but it can also leave your real superstars despondent when their efforts fail to reap rewards or praise.
So how do you ensure sure that you’re giving your strongest players the recognition that they deserve? Here are a few key things to look out for when separating the great from the good:
1. They’re not limited by their job description
A star employee looks at their job description as a guideline of the minimum expectations placed upon them, rather than a restrictive code outside which they should never venture. The best performers are those constantly willing to step outside the bounds of their role, and push themselves to learn more and expand their skills.
2. They give credit where it’s due
While it’s wonderful to be on the receiving end of praise, stellar employees understand the importance of recognising others for their hard work, refusing to hog all the credit and instead working collaboratively to bolster others and promote across-the-board performance.
3. They aren’t afraid to ask questions
Whilst many employees avoid questions for fear of being seen as weak, a great employee is one that’s all too willing to fire queries at their leaders – even if they already know the answer. Outstanding employees are able to recognise the needs of their peers, and will often wade in where others fear to tread, raising questions and concerns that other team members might not feel comfortable addressing.
4. They work well with others
Great employees are team players, who are at times willing to suffer a personal blow for the sake of the greater good. Whereas many professionals are happy to assign blame to others as a means to protect their own reputation, great employees are willing to present a united front and support their own even when they weren’t at fault.
5. They seek out opportunity
Top performing employees are innovative, creative and never settle for the ordinary. Because they’re naturally driven by their desire to excel, they’re not easily satisfied and will always seek out new or better ways to do things. Whereas good employees abide by a process or system, excellent employees will seek to improve it, constantly searching for new tools, insights or methods to better overall performance.