Top-Ten Employee Traits

Professor Mike “Q” Quaintance, MBA

Business and Hospitality Chair @ Keiser University, Fort Myers


In a recent survey conducted at Keiser University’s Fort Myers campus, local employers shared their top-ten employee traits.  Below is a list of traits that employers deemed most important for new hire success in their businesses.  This list also provides some suggestions to job candidates regarding topic which they should be prepared to discuss during the interview.

  1. Responsible
  2. Team player
  3. Integrity/Ethical
  4. Good Communicator
  5. Punctual
  6. Problem Focused
  7. Life-long Learner
  8. Loyal
  9. Accountable
  10. Passion

Responsibility is the ability to differentiate between right and wrong while acting the right way.  This is important today as society seeks organizations that behave ethically to engage in commerce with.  Customers expect relationships founded in trust; if trust is lacking, then customers will migrate to new business relationships.  Research has consistently shown that ethical behavior leads to higher levels of organizational citizenship in a company, thus encouraging greater productivity.

A team player is someone who cares about putting team success before their own.  It implies that by taking care of the needs of the team, an individual’s needs will be realized.  Research shows that team players are often more successful because of the law of reciprocity, where behavior garners reciprocal behaviors from peers and managers.

Integrity refers to normatively appropriate behaviors of a team, group, or society, which expects a firm adherence to an acceptable moral or ethical code.  Workers with high levels of integrity often find themselves rising through the ranks of corporate leadership.

A good communicator refers to an employee who speaks with clarity, eliminates bias, and listens with the intent to learn what the sender is communicating.  This is extremely important for customer service, communicating direction and sharing ideas.

Punctuality is important as managers attempt to create an effective and efficient workforce.  The rule of thumb in many workplaces is to be prepared to work five minutes prior to your scheduled time.

Problem focused suggests that the employee be open to visualizing, sharing, and solving problems that occur in their daily work activities.  This helps improve customer service and with employee job satisfaction as they contribute in the success of the company.

In today’s dynamic business environment, and due to globalization, the political environment, and technology, the world is in a constant state of change.  This requires consistent efforts to remain current on knowledge in every industry.  Life-long learners realize this and the importance of remaining relevant in order to create value.

Loyalty refers to a state of being faithful to a cause, idea, custom, product or institution.  This behavior has a similar influence as being a team player where organizational loyalty is often rewarded with promotions and extra compensation.  Most organizations value employees who support the organization.

Accountability refers to an employee’s willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own actions.  Most employers use employee mistakes as teaching moments and embrace the opportunity to show them how to avoid them in the future.  Employers often consider employee who reject accountability as un-trustworthy and are unlikely to be promoted.

Employee passion is often portrayed as an intense and driving feeling or conviction to the organization, leader, or product.  However, some would argue that it runs deeper.  Some suggest that passion for one’s job is reflected by the enthusiasm with which he or she awakes in the morning.  If you spring out of bed looking forward to the day, then you probably have a great deal of passion for your job.

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, it does represent a consensus of thought regarding the traits that employers seem to cherish in our local marketplace.  When preparing for a job interview, it would be appropriate to ponder possible discussion points to these topics as you research the company and industry for which you are applying.  Personally, I believe you can never over-prepare for the job interview and your expressed knowledge may improve your salary and benefit negotiations.  I welcome any feedback at [email protected] or by calling (239) 277-1336 ext. 34128.