Ideal traits for employees

Published 8:45 pm Saturday, July 23, 2016

Employers report that skilled employees with experience are difficult to find. There are more longer term open positions in many companies now and it is often due to the lack of skilled talent to fill those positions. It has become a threat to businesses’ ability to meet goals and performance targets.

It is not so much a lack of quantity of applicants but instead the quality of applicants. Matching applicants with the necessary skills, culture of the business and good work ethic has become the top areas where candidates are falling short. Other important traits often missing are soft skills and knowledge of the industry.

Randstad USA, a workforce staffing company, completed a Workforce Trends survey which reports the following.

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• Inadequate supply of qualified and skilled talent is 2nd biggest threat to companies’ ability to meet revenue targets

• The inadequate talent supply is 2nd only to “increased competitive pressures”

• Increases in turnover rates

• Increase in open positions and longer “time to fill”

• Lack of good work ethic in applicants

• Shortage of applicants with relevant work experience

All of the above is cited by many local employers who experience difficulty in their recruiting efforts. Debbie Brown, owner of Precious Moments Learning Center and Deb’s All Tangled Up in Wesson stated that she looks for a good work ethic and personality in new hires. She further states, “ Having trustworthy people who will do it like you want it done”, is a priority.  Anna Day Douchard, owner of Beyond the Rainbow in Brookhaven, looks for employees who “understand customer needs, has focus on serving the customer, is a quick learner and honest.”

In addition to the “hard skills” necessary for success in a job are the intangibles in desired traits that are needed. Some of those soft skills are listed below.

1. Passionate — Discovering passion in an interview is not easy. Finding an employee who will be passionate about their job and willing to work hard is very important for long term success.

2. Communication — Verbal and written communication skills are scarce in applicants these days. Companies today are built by great employees who can work well together and communication is a vital key.

3. Goal Oriented — For a business to meet their goals they need employees who are goal oriented people. This includes people who don’t get bogged down in the day-to-day office politics or are overly concerned about taking credit instead of being a team player.

4. Organization Skills — A prevalent need is for people who can stay focused, not get lost in the details, understand the work that needs to be done and how to organize tasks for effective and efficient completion.

5. Adaptable and flexible — Business can be unpredictable and having staff members who can “roll with the punches” and adapt to change on the fly is crucial. Employees who are stuck in their ways, in the past, not open to change can be the downfall of a business.

6. Creativity — Creative team members are critical to finding new solutions. New hires can bring fresh ideas and be some of the more creative thinkers in your organization. Being open to suggestions and ideas of how to do things differently will keep your company on the edge of competitiveness.

Finding employees with these traits will help to build a strong team and a strong organization. Always keep in mind the company culture and ensure that new applicants are a good fit. Finding good talent is a challenging task but retaining that talent is an ongoing responsibility of managers.

Treating employees great will result in a great team with outstanding results. You can train employees on products and service but you can’t train integrity, resiliency, personality, confidence and ethics. Each hire is crucial to building a team for success.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing