7 Common Qualities of High Performing Employees

As a business leader, it’s essential that you hire individuals onto your team who will thrive, which in turn allows your business to grow.

The ‘right’ hire can make all the difference, just as hiring someone who isn’t exactly what you’re looking for can be harmful to your team and ultimately your success.

The U.S. Department of Labor claims a bad hire can cost your business 30% of your employee’s first-year earnings. No business wants to spend any more time, resources or revenue than is necessary on their recruitment process. In an ideal world, you would make the best hire the first time around – every time. Unfortunately, in real life, it’s not as simple as that.

As a leader, there are ways that you can mitigate hiring problems and challenges in your organization. High on the list is only hiring individuals with certain high-performing skills.

Today, we share the 7 top qualities to look out for in your recruitment process – hire employees with these attributes to attract the success you want for your business.

1. A Great Communicator

Communication is the number one attribute all great employees have. In any organization, no matter how small, the way employees interact with each other is the key to a successful team, and this has only been increased in our new physically distanced world.

Since the rise in remote working, possessing excellent communication skills has never been more critical. Sending an unclear email, miscommunicating a message over messenger bots or on the phone can cause all kinds of problems for the entire team.

The most successful teams are full of great communicators – so look for this attribute as something essential in your recruitment process.

2. Autonomy

In a busy organization, you need people who can work independently outside of the initial onboarding period. Your employees need to be able to manage time effectively, balance their workload and ensure that deadlines are met.

Additionally, autonomy is a contributing factor to high engagement, productivity and work satisfaction – so when you employ and encourage autonomy in your teams, both you and your employees will benefit.

To find out if candidates have high levels of autonomy during the recruitment process, ask them how they feel working independently and if they have experience working on their own – particularly from home – and look out for how confidently they talk about being self-driven.

3. Leadership Skills

Another key trait to look out for is their leadership potential.

In our ever-changing world, you must know that your team can step up when needed. Additionally, when you recruit people with leadership potential, this is a long-sighted growth strategy which can save you time and money in the future.

Leadership qualities involve a variety of soft skills including communication, confidence, delegation and being able to give and receive feedback.

4. A Positive Mindset

A positive mindset is essential, and unfortunately, it’s not something that can be taught easily.

Some individuals approach challenges with a ‘can-do’ attitude, are always able to look at the positive in a situation and can consistently bolster others – and these are the type of people you need in your organization.

Individuals with a negative mindset will find it harder to thrive and move forward, as they find it challenging to see past obstacles. Unfortunately, their negativity can quickly spread and bring other members of the team down too.

Additionally, positive individuals have an ability to adapt to change with ease – which is going to be essential in companies moving forward.

5. A Team Player

As with a positive mindset, being a team player is a crucial trait for employees to have in our post-Covid world.

Be on the lookout for people who have plenty of experience working as part of diverse teams. Working with lots of different people and personalities is a great way to develop the skills needed to be an excellent team player.

Team players contribute by listening to their colleagues and offering different perspective. They help to strengthen bonds and trust within the team, and they are essential when things get tough.

6. Emotional Intelligence

Emotionally intelligent individuals possess the interpersonal skills needed to help your organization thrive, and they do this in a few ways.

Building on the great soft skills we have already mentioned in this article, emotional intelligence allows employees to exhibit the following:

  • Self-awareness – the ability to prioritize, manage time and resilience to stress and anxiety during busy times.

  • Self-regulatory behaviors – they are always in control of their emotions, and they are good at resolving conflict.

  • Empathy – they can understand perspectives of other team members, which allows them to work well with everyone.

  • They can take feedback constructively – they don’t let it affect them personally, and they learn and grow from the experience.

An ideal team is full of people with high emotional intelligence. It is such a necessary trait it ranked sixth in the World Economic Forum’s list of the top 10 skills that employees will need to thrive in workplaces of the future.

7. Agility

And finally, with the enormous changes that have happened to our world due to the pandemic, flexibility is essential.

Never before has the skill of being able to work outside of our comfort zones been so necessary. It is now essential for all employers to be sure that their teams are able to pivot to the ever-changing needs of a post-pandemic world.

Some people are great at adapting to change, others find it more challenging, and some are unwilling to try.

How have employees coped with the recent changes to our world? Have they been happy to embrace new ways of working and living? Agility comes with a growth mindset, one where employees are always looking to develop and to grow. This is the only way continued future success is possible.


If you are looking to employ new talent into your organization, these are the skills that you should be on the lookout for.

If you need help finding great talent for your business, we can help.

For more information on how we can help you recruit the high-performing individuals you need, get in touch with us at Info@TheBlackDiamondAgency.com.


Written by

Lileah Akiode


Lileah Akiode is the Managing Director of The Black Diamond Agency, a recruitment firm dedicated to connecting talented people with rewarding career opportunities. With a strong background in Talent Acquisition across different corporate retailers, Lileah brings a wealth of experience to ensure a seamless and positive candidate experience. In addition to corporate retail, Lileah also experience supporting the Financial Services and IT industries.


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