How to Identify Great Employees in Your Business

I don’t claim to be an expert, but always enjoy sharing my experiences in operating and growing an energy efficiency startup.

One of my favorite parts of working at Verde is identifying and seeing great potential in employees. I think this has gotten easier for me, as we grew to over 20 employees this year.

Having sacrificed a lot to get things off the ground, owners love the following qualities in people that join their…work family.

Here are a few qualities that I look for:

Dedication

I love people that care about the business as much as I do. It is a rare quality, but definitely can be found. I think it is important that the employee love the product or industry that you work in, for them to have dedication.

We are lucky at Verde to work around reducing energy, and this is a passion of many out there. It definitely helps to find talented people that care immensely about sustainability. It took a few years, but now I specifically look for that passion in interviews, opening up the possibility of a dedicated and great employee.

Curiosity

Great employees are curious — hoping to learn knew subject matter and tasks. They make you want to introduce new products, skills, tasks and challenges to them, because they are curious and interested. This curiosity eventually leads to professional growth, added responsibility, and greater contribution to the company. I love to see curious employees take on new tasks and run with it, even if they fail or are not great at the task right off the bat.

Reducing Stress

Great employees reduce stress from a boss, not increase it. This can be tough to discriminate between challenging a boss, which is different. Good employees will challenge you, but not create conflict or ask more than you can give.

Mark Cuban has a great article about how he values employees that reduce his stress, and I can definitely see the value of that. I see great employees at Verde step up to do tasks that need to get done but often aren’t within their role, reducing work for others around them. This is essential important to a small business owner or startup founder, since they have a tendency to take on more than they can chew.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on other qualities that you find in great employees, so I can continue to grow in my abilities to hire talent.