Help your employees
develop good traits

Lessonly's powerfully simple training software helps employees learn important knowledge and practice crucial skills.

laptop screen
topic card
sales card

Traits of a Good Employee

Of course, you want good employees. Everyone does and with good reason. Hiring and training cost money. If you’re going to invest in the process, you’re going to hope it works out well. So, one of the great challenges is discerning which employees are the right ones. There are countless strategies out there, but sometimes, the simple approach is best. If you really want to know who to hire, you have to learn to spot the right traits.

Work Ethic

The first of our signs of a good employee is work ethic. A good work ethic sits at the core of every successful person. Someone who is a reliable employee on a bad day, as well as a good day, is invaluable. When that person can also be trusted to make a good decision, even when no one is watching, then you have a truly wonderful employee. In general, you can identify, and even cultivate, a strong work ethic by focusing on the behaviors that indicate and develop strong ethics. Mostly, they’ll manifest as professionalism and consistency, but a deeper look never hurts.


The 21st century has taught the business world a lot, but one of the leading lessons is that culture matters. In fact, culture can be everything. When everyone is on the same page and clicking, a group can do meaningful work and even change the world. So, if you’ve taken the time to develop your workplace culture, then you want to screen new employees. A person who clearly fits into the culture is going to find support everywhere and be empowered to succeed. Someone who doesn’t fit will struggle, no matter how great they might be in another setting.


Most people don’t like micromanaging. We all like having employees who can be given a goal or task and take care of it without oversight. This is born of initiative. Employees who need additional prodding or have to double-check every decision hurt the efficiency of a workplace. People who clearly display the ability to take initiative will always prove invaluable. When you temper that initiative with a good ethic, then you don’t have to worry about your natural leader making poor choices without consulting their superiors. A strong ethic turns what could be among the signs of a bad employee and turns it completely positive.


This is no time for old adages about cats. In a professional environment, people need intellectual curiosity to grow and succeed. Someone who displays this curiosity will consistently ask good questions. They’ll be interested in how the business operates, the mechanics of their own job, and the industry as a whole. It’s a core element of the drive that we all need to improve ourselves in any capacity.


Speaking of drive, it’s the last great trait we’re discussing today. A good work ethic will keep someone working on a tough day. Drive will help them thrive in adversity. Driven professionals are the people who build great companies that stand the test of time. At the risk of paraphrasing a Disney movie, the ability to thrive in adversity is both rare and beautiful.

Product Mockup

Train 62% faster with Lessonly.

See How

Qualities of a Good Employee Candidate

Knowing what are the qualities of a good employee is great, but you need to be able to identify at least some of those traits early. When you’re screening candidates, you need a few guidelines to improve your prospects, and those guidelines can be demonstrated by a few key qualities.

Clear Communication

How many times have you read about soft skills in a resume? Soft skills are better demonstrated than listed. Clear communication isn’t just valuable; it’s enlightening. A person cannot communicate clearly unless they have a base-level understanding of the topic. This comes from intellectual curiosity. Good communication skills are also inseparable from strong professionalism. People who take initiative, face problems head-on, and show up every day learn to communicate well. Someone with this trait is basically spotlighting all of the characteristics of good employee skills.

Bringing Ideas

If you’re still screening a candidate and they have ideas to offer the business, you know you’ve found someone special. The sheer sense of initiative necessary to be this bold speaks volumes, but their idea also shows you how clearly they understand the business and their role in it. Anyone who can bring ideas to the table before working with the company for a long time deserves the extra attention you’re going to give them. This is true even if the ideas aren’t earth shattering. The mere effort gives you a chance to gauge the candidate’s current skill level and potential.

That said, it’s probably unreasonable to expect every candidate for every position to proffer brand new ideas from the first interaction. People who can do this should be valued, but there are other promising qualities that don’t require every prospect to reinvent the wheel.


Enthusiasm is the close cousin of drive. It’s certainly not fair to expect people to be enthusiastic all of the time, but when someone is excited to work with you, it shows. More often than not, that enthusiasm can easily be cultivated into drive.

There’s another positive. An enthusiastic reaction to any exposure to the company culture is an automatic win. There’s no better way to screen people who stand to be a good fit.


Being well-informed is at the top of the list of signs you are good at your job, but more than the rest, it demonstrates a strong work ethic. For a prospect to be well-informed of your company and/or culture shows that they did their homework. They worked hard just to get a chance to work with you. Think about how valuable that display is.

 It is impossible to be well-informed without exhibiting other positive traits. It demonstrates an attention to detail, enthusiasm for the new job, natural curiosity and several traits of the best type of employee.

Asking Good Questions

Once again, we discuss intellectual curiosity. People who ask good questions are inherently curious, and that’s something you can always make work. It also shows a little bit of initiative. Someone asking questions is thinking about how to succeed. It might not be as big a display as bringing new ideas, but it’s enough initiative to get started.

Good Employee Skills for Managers 

We’ve talked a lot about employees, but finding great people is meaningless without proper leadership. Be it management, team leaders or mentors, the difference between employees with great traits and great employees all falls to the cultivation of talent. These are the leadership qualities that will take promising employees down the path to great success.

Good Planning

It’s obvious, but it’s important enough to mention here. Leadership has to have a plan. This isn’t just a business plan. When you’re cultivating talent, there should be a plan for each employee. Obviously, Tim Cook isn’t mapping a talent plan for every sales rep at the Apple Store, but the management hierarchy needs to be able to supply development plans to every employee. Anything less is setting people up for failure.

Personal Investment

This is hard, and it’s often overlooked. Good planning will never meet with proper execution unless this skill is present. Leaders have to be personally invested in the success of their constituents. No leader should ever want to see one of their people remain stagnant. Even though it’s nice to rely on the same person for a long time, managers and leaders have to embrace the goal of helping their employees grow out of their current roles. Personal investment is how you display emotional intelligence, help everyone become a team player and manage the positive and negative traits of an employee to make everone a candidate for becoming the top employee. 


The previous skill leads straight into this one. Finding ways to motivate people is infinitely challenging. The development of workplace culture was mostly founded on solving this problem, but even a good culture isn’t enough. At the end of the day, people respond to genuine treatment. The best way to motivate a team is to genuinely care about their success. From there, it’s easier to reward signs of a good job and inform what to say about a good employee.

Decision Making

What’s the difference between a leader and a follower? The leader can make hard decisions. It’s an irreplaceable skill that every leader needs. Indecision will kill any business in today’s climate. It’s true in every single industry. Things move fast. Challenges are endless. Management has to build the ability to make tough decisions and get the right outcome on a consistent basis.


The last important skill for leaders is the ability to delegate. What’s the point of finding and cultivating great employees if you don’t let them work? Delegation is more than just time and resource management. It’s a means to display trust and confidence in employees. It’s a mechanism to interact meaningfully with people you’re trying to develop. It’s the ultimate bridge between leaders and the people under them.

Develop Good Employee Skills With Lessonly

As you can see, there are clear and deliberate ways to look at employees and discern between teh characteristics of a bad employeeand a great hire. Lessonly doesn’t just identify these important skills and traits. We have an entire path to building and improving the entire skill set. Our training software can help your employees overcome weaknesses, develop strengths, and feed into a workplace that brings the best out of everyone. Get a demo of Lessonly today.