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Characteristics of the Right Employee 

Employees are the muscle of every company and technology as a tool is the backbone, the key is finding employees who can grow with the company's structure. Like a muscle personal can be developed to utilize the company's systems they key is finding the employees who are already able to make the right movements. 

Knowledge workers are these employees. A knowledge worker is one who may not be developed yet but has the capacity to build their skills. 

In identifying a knowledge worker it is important to recognize several key characteristics:

1. Honesty is the first qualification of any employee and in business this not only physical property but intellectual property as well. Theft of intellectual property is as simple as sharing a new method or even the office talk of the company's acquisition or expansion plans, its easy and takes no planning and there is little apparent risk.

2. The individual must have a desire and ability to understand the business and the products or services you provide. This individual would come to an interview having done their homework on the company. An employee of this caliber will start work focused, not waiting for a project to come their way but adding value to the company when others are waiting for direction.

3. Critical thinking, a knowledge worker has an ability to problem solve. They should be able analyze, research and present solutions to problems. Throughout this process the employee should demonstrate the characteristics from characteristic one by approaching and solving the problem within the mission and scope of the organization.

4. Teamwork is only valuable if it improves the total performance of the group. Often teamwork is promoted to the point that efficiency is sacrificed. Knowledge workers will be able to adapt and complement each other within a team situation because they share a common drive. In a team environment there are roles and if you already have a leader find contributors.

5. Innovation differentiates, beyond problem solving and thinking critically there is innovation this is acting before there is a problem, understanding the objectives and limitations of the company and improving the process. Employees that do this have the ability to make good companies industry leaders and put your picture on the cover of a Forbes magazine. It is important that if an employee does not possess the desire and ability to innovate it cannot be trained. 

These are rough guidelines defining the knowledge worker. For your business you need to identify the characteristics beyond these that make that individual the right muscle for the job. Most importantly hire the individual for who they are not what they might or could become, specific technology skills can be developed and grown but personalities are eternal and unchanging.  

By: Caleb Clark 

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