Complex Made Simple

5 key ways to identify your Star Employee

(Words by Medy Navani, CEO & Founder, Design Haus Medy)

While you and/or your HR team have likely implemented the necessary pre-employment tests and ticked all the boxes, so to speak, not all members of your team are created equal. The beauty of an individual is they bring with them different strengths and unique talents, but often, there may be one (or two) very special employees that go above and beyond to achieve. While the idea of a “star employee” may conjure images of an individual who receives plenty of attention around the office, often times this person is actually a silent achiever, not commanding credit for the ways in which they bring a great deal of value to your organisation. In my experience, there are five key observations which indicate you have a star employee in your midst.

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-They frequently stay back later than required

Employees deserve a work life balance, yet those who stay back later than their formal contract hours is a sign of their work ethic. Regardless of whether they are going above and beyond the required tasks, or catching up work, they are demonstrating their commitment to delivering on their role and the company.  

-Their level of attention to echos that of the business owner

When you have an employee who labours over the details and seeks our perfection no matter how idle the task, you are on to a winner. Plenty of employees are happy to get documents or projects over the line without overthinking things or creating more work for themselves, but a special few take great pride in their work, they critically evaluate logic and ideas, and cross every “t” and dotting every “i”. The star employee does not take shortcuts, and will fuss over the details to the same extent as the boss, even when they don’t expect to receive benefits as a result.  

-They consistently bring proactive ideas and solutions to the table

Among the various key traits of the star employee, this individual can be identified by their willingness to offer alternative ideas, constructive “devil’s advocate” contributions,  and solutions. They may not shout it from the rooftop, but their passion for work is palabale through their team conduct and meaningful engagement with management for the ongoing improvement of the business.

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-Their quality of work is for the most part, faultless

The star employee produces brilliant work, consistently. It is the features writer who delivers compelling, well researched and beautifully written stories, time and time again. It is the architect who pitches in creative, solution-oriented designs in response to challenging briefs. It is the salesman who is accountable, prompt, knowledgeable, professional and responsive to his clients and prospects. We all have different working paces and styles, but at the end of the day, brilliant work speaks for itself, and does not go unnoticed.  

-They are not deterred by setbacks

Star employees aren’t immune to failure, despite all of their redeeming quality. Setbacks are a part of life and in the workplace, they can happen daily, weekly and / or monthly. What is important is not the infrequency of setbacks, but how they deal with the setbacks they are dealt. Often, it is unforeseen extrinsic factors which are out of our control that throw a spanner in the works, and star employees will be quick to breathe deep and look for solutions, rather than dwell on the problem.

Some star employees are easy to spot, but others can be silent achievers who do not seek out credit or a pat on the back for their contribution to the business. Be sure to keep your radar active to identify those who stand out from the pack by virtue of their attitude, productivity, quality of work, attention to detail and solution-oriented mindset, and of course, understand what factors will continue to support and motivate them to become the best professional version of themselves. 

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