The Quality You Need Most in an Employee

Most employers think they know the kinds of employees they need. They can describe that employee: intelligent, self-starting, possessing the necessary skill set, high achieving – just add your descriptors to the list.

Employers used to describe the ideal employee as dependable and hard working. That evolved into an employee who gets things done, even if it doesn’t look the way it used to when they are finished (think Google). But in today’s ever changing workplace, many of the old descriptors don’t fit anymore.

So if the descriptors are rapidly changing and the ideal qualities are rapidly changing and even the job tasks and goals are rapidly changing, what do you need in your employees? That’s right – the quality you need in your employees is the ability to manage the rapid pace of change in today’s workplace. Or to put it another way, you need to find employees who can produce certain results even in the midst of uncertainty.

Today’s work environment is chaotic. The targets are not static – they are fluid.  The old measures of ability don’t measure the qualities needed to succeed in today’s world. Typically employers at GPA or assessment scores (GRE, SAT, etc). The problem with those measurements is that for the most part they are stationary targets.

How do you measure the ability to lead, not when things are normal or static, but when things fall apart?  How do you measure the ability not only to solve a problem they have seen in the past but also the ability to solve a new and unique problem while still moving forward?  That’s the new challenge in today’s hires.

One way is to look for qualities that are more intuitive and less black and white. Things like empathy and adaptability and problem solving skills. To do this you have to become more creative in your interviewing process. Don’t ask the same old questions; throw them a curve or two.  Utilize video interviews so you can see how comfortable they are with the unexpected, and you can compare each candidate’s reactions to the curve balls. You have to become a more creative interviewer if you want to find employees who bring what you need for today’s changing workplace.