Africa today has become a highly diverse continent where cultural and global expectations are increasingly challenging employees to perform, not just in terms of business performance but also in terms of social interaction. It has become imperative for employees to not just have substance to their persona, but also the ability to project and present themselves in the best possible way.

Today’s visionary organisations and educational institutions are fast realising that an employee’s ability to manage themselves and their interpersonal ability to relate to others in the workplace arena internally and externally is just important as an in-depth educational background. Studies have found that factors such as self-awareness/ emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, commitment, responsibility and integrity create successful individuals, companies and Nations!

Employers are quickly realising that hiring the wrong employee can be a very expensive mistake, and understand that rather than hiring candidates/ employees with narrow skills sets which appear impressive on paper- they must search for the “well rounded” candidate who can adapt to the demands of the workplace. The following are some qualities and traits you need to have or acquire to help you as a current employee, or if you are on the job market.

The characteristics that employers look for in employees are the same traits that make successful workers. Good employees obviously are important in any business, but small businesses often feel the impact of employee behaviour both good and bad more acutely than larger companies. One bad apple can have a much greater impact on morale in a small organization than in a large one and conversely, a good employee’s attitude and work ethic can be infectious.

Reliability is a trait that is or should be instilled at an early age, and employees often can overcome deficiencies such as lack of experience simply by showing up on time and performing their assigned duties.

Good communication skills

Whether writing, speaking or using computers, communication skills are essential in virtually any job. These skills often are the result of upbringing and education but are fundamental to most businesses. Improving these skills is vital to becoming a successful employee. It is especially important when trying to communicate ideas to improve your company’s performance. Your good ideas will not help anyone, or your career, if you cannot deliver them effectively. Think before you speak and take a few minutes to read and proofread your emails before sending them.

Being disciplined and Dependable.

Reliability is a trait that is or should be instilled at an early age, and employees often can overcome deficiencies such as lack of experience simply by showing up on time and performing their assigned duties. Being able to work without a supervisor hovering over your shoulder is a sign of discipline. So is not having to be told not to make personal phone calls, surf the internet, or constantly text and tweet. Closely related traits are work ethic, honesty, and integrity. It boils down to an employer being able to count on you to show up, do your job, stay focused, be prepared and not steal- either physically or by stealing company time.

Taking Initiative and Responsibility

Offering solutions to problems in a constructive manner, as well as standing up and taking responsibility for mistakes you have made, goes a long way in catching an employer’s attention. Supervisors cannot be everywhere at all times, so it is up to you to pay attention and speak up when you identify a problem or a way that a process can be improved. You should also be willing to pitch in when your company is faced with a serious deadline or a co-worker has to take an unexpected break. Bosses take notice when you are willing to do more than just your own job as a way of looking out for the company’s interests.

A good Attitude

Even dependable and responsible employees may not have the most cheerful dispositions. A smile alone will not get the job done, but a positive outlook and pleasant disposition combined with fundamentals such as work ethic and discipline make for a well-rounded employee. Flexibility and enthusiasm also are components of possessing a good attitude. Being a team player, which is another attribute of a successful employee, is difficult if you are not approachable and if you do not play well with others. This does not mean that you need to be a pushover, but you can learn to be assertive while not demoralizing your co-workers.

Are you a “well-rounded” employee of candidate?