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Recognising Your Most Exceptional Employees

We all know what a great employee looks like. They’ve got the skillset that’s easy to define but hard to find in a single person. These employees stand out from the crowd with their hardworking, proactive approaches to their work and dependable natures.

There are employees who go one step even further. This rare breed of person is not often recognised as the gift to a company that they are. These exceptional workers are propelled past their colleagues by the unique skills and qualities, but unfortunately are frequently overlooked during performance reviews despite having a huge impact on the performance of the team and the broader company.

What makes an employee truly exceptional?

At Roubler, we’ve helped enough companies recruit that we can recognise the signs of an exceptional employee. Here are eight signs to look for in your next round of recruiting; or if you’re truly lucky, your lunch room.

  1. Thinking outside the box

An exceptional employee is likely to be one who’s always looking for places to push the envelope on their position description. They’ll have the ability to think quickly and to rapidly adapt to shifting priorities and circumstances. These workers will have a willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team succeed and get the job done, working to improve the efficiency and growth of the business.

  1. Zigging when others zag

Some call them quirky, but the very best managers will recognise unconventional thinking as a blessing and a benefit to the company. Sometimes the very best employees are also the most eccentric, or even a bit irreverent, but are delighted to be given the freedom to express this. Introducing them to an established team can be a daunting prospect, but don’t rule it out. The unusual mix that results can turn your run-of-the-mill, adequate, vanilla workforce into a delicious and surprising rocky road, flecked with chunks of productivity and creativity. Those individuals who are unafraid of being different are going to naturally push the boundaries and open up opportunities for the development of innovative new business ideas.

  1. Team players when the team needs them

While a bit of unconventional thinking is great, sometimes a single eccentric creative steering the team is not always the best structure. The true mark of an exceptional employee is knowing when and being able to switch between a dynamic, creative team member and a logical, measured leader. They’ll know when to turn down or even turn off that dynamism and respond to a scenario in an appropriate manner. They’ll know when they can play and when to be serious, when to follow orders and when to challenge direction, and when to toe the company line and when to be a bit erratic. That balancing act is a hard one to manage and it’s one only a few workers ever nail.

  1. Giving credit where it’s due

The greatest employees recognise hard work and great craftsmanship regardless of who was responsible. They support the team and help the business achieve its goals, while supporting their peers and publicly acknowledging achievements.

  1. A finely tuned antenna

We all want employees to bring issues to management, but only a few have the sensitivity and social graces to recognise a problem and then approach it in a constructive manner. Some things are simply better handled one-on-one. While some great employees will table issues at team meetings and involve everyone in the decision making process to reach a fair compromise, some exceptional workers recognise that there are certain issues that require private discussion, and know that bringing it up in a group situation could negatively impact themselves, management and the team.

  1. Asking the questions everyone’s thinking about

Sometimes all it takes is one person to say what’s on everyone’s mind. Not every employee will come forward when it would be best to, which is simply part of the package of building a diverse and well-rounded workforce. One employee can unite the team by being the person to say ‘Hey, has anyone noticed how…’ when yes, absolutely everyone has noticed. That feel for the issues and concerns of the people around them – that fundamental empathy – definitely sets people apart.

  1. Doing it for more than a pay-cheque

When you’ve got a worker who’s driven by more than just the money – whether it be the pursuit of knowledge, the furthering of a craft, the development of their education, or even just the drive to prove that something can be done when others said it couldn’t – they’re likely to be a boon for the team. Working for something greater or higher than the organisation, they’ll have the drive needed to accomplish the job and more.

  1. The work is never done

Finally, they’re never satisfied. Those with a true passion for their work are their own harshest critics and are constantly working to reach an unattainable level of perfection. Good employees follow processes without looking beyond the completion of the task. Great employees tweak processes to increase efficiency and enhance productivity. The truly exceptional employee reinvents processes, not because they were told to but because they simply cannot stand to work under and old or inefficient system.



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