Hiring employees might be a business leader’s most important responsibility. Here, Mark Kelly, Founder and President of Safety Marking Inc. in Bridgeport, CT explains seven important traits to look for in potential hires, detailing why each quality is essential for business success.
In many ways, a company is but the total sum of its employees. This adage is especially true for labor-intensive fields like construction or pavement marking. Employees largely determine the attitudes and opinions of customers, clients, and the public. Perceptions matter, and people’s perceptions of a business are formed by their experiences interacting with the company’s employees.
“At Safety Marking, Inc., we believe that our Core Values of Safety, Accountability, Communication, Teamwork, Integrity, Commitment, and Exceeding Expectations provide focus and direction for every person in the organization,” stated Mark Kelly.
Commitment to Safety
Some may wonder why anyone would include a commitment to safety at the top of the list of desirable traits for employees, but it is the most critical trait a prospective employee can bring to your company. While all the qualities listed are essential, commitment to safety stands alone as the one trait that can significantly impact a business’s success.
Douglas Dolinar, Director-At-Large of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), shared: “Worker safety starts with the employee. Each worker bears the ultimate responsibility to work safely and protect themselves.”
A safe workplace not only protects workers from harm, but it will also lower injury costs, reduce absenteeism and turnover, increase productivity and quality, and raise employee morale. At Safety Marking, employees are aware how crucial safety is for the company’s overall success.
Employees who are willing to be accountable for their actions will not provide excuses when things go sideways. Although it may seem like giving an excuse to a customer for why their expectations were not met is a good idea, often that is counterproductive. Customers, teammates, and managers will be more satisfied when faced with accountability rather than excuses.
Part of being accountable is recognizing the difference between an excuse and a reason. An excuse exists solely to defend a fault with the intent to absolve oneself of accountability. A reason accepts responsibility but explains why the event occurred as it did. Explaining is helpful and does not excuse fault.
All tasks that need to be completed in business requires clear and concise communication. Incorrect communication or miscommunication can lead to disaster. Lengthy and confusing communication is not much better. The best employees will exemplify accurate and concise communication, both verbally and written. The difference between twenty five-dollar bills and twenty five dollar bills is significant, so look for employees that know how to communicate effectively.
Pavement marking, like many construction jobs, is a team sport. One important trait that sets a prospective employee apart from the rest is their ability to be part of a team. Even the most highly skilled employees pale compared to competent workers that can help the entire team function more efficiently and effectively.
Employees that can’t be trusted to tell the truth and do the right thing will never make a meaningful contribution to the company’s success. Furthermore, they are likely to drive away customers and foster disruptive behavior with other employees.
Kelly Lavoie, Human Resources Manager at Safety Marking explains, “We rely on these core values to not only guide our hiring, performance and recognition processes, but also to guide our daily interactions with colleagues, clients, partners, and vendors. With our core values in mind, it is our practice to conduct all business in an honest, professional, and ethical manner, taking a zero-tolerance approach to violations of our workplace harassment, violence, diversity and ethics policies.”
Loyalty from employees is critical and commitment to your employees will promote a lasting work relationship. A person that feels unappreciated and taken advantage of will likely move to a competitor, taking valuable experience with them. An employee for whom management has demonstrated a sense of loyalty cannot be tempted away as easily under most circumstances.
Commitment to excellence
When vetting prospective employees, ask the candidate questions designed to uncover a commitment to excellence in their past experiences. It could be a commitment to learning to play an instrument or learning another language. The “what” is not nearly as important as finding someone that knows how to commit to excellence in what they do. If the business is committed to excellence, such an employee will readily adopt the company’s values and adapt to the work environment.