Main Content

Back to Blog List

  • 13 August 2015
  • Eric Michaels

5 traits to look for in a small business employee

As a small business owner, you may feel like you can handle everything—but to move your company forward, you will need a great team behind you. Developing, promoting, and managing the operation should be consuming all your time, and you need help doing the rest.

Yet hiring the right people is difficult. It takes time, energy, and some luck to recruit a staff that is worth keeping. And it can be difficult to tell which prospective employees are truly worth keeping around. To build a trustworthy team, start by looking for these five characteristics that every small business employee should have:

You want to feel passion for your company's mission surrounding you every day at work.

1. Flexibility
It is impossible to know what your company's next challenge will be, which makes flexibility a key to successful hires. Look for well-rounded employees who are comfortable with technology, customer service, and big ideas. Working for a small company means checking your ego at the door, so bring up the possibility of the employee handling menial tasks as well as big jobs during the interview.

You might find flexibility in a candidate who is coming from a large company, or is fresh out of college—so try not to write anyone off based on his/her background. Look for a willingness to be valuable in any context.

2. A positive outlook
You could argue people are born positive or negative, but a person's work environment usually determines how he/she acts on the job. Look for the type of positive outlook that will thrive in an exciting space with an entrepreneurial feel. Things do not always go as planned in a young company, so this attitude is crucial when you hope to keep morale high around an office, shop, or work space.

3. Passion
A small business employee might not reveal his/her passion during an interview, so look for ways to detect this essential characteristic. Start by asking about a candidate's professional goals, what makes him/her tick, and how he/she plans to get to that happy place in his/her career. You want to feel passion for your company's mission surrounding you every day at work.

Employees who exude that energy not only inspire anyone else working for you, but also the small business owner who has grown bored of endless pitching, promoting, and managing tasks a company needs. If you ever start to feel like it is Groundhog Day at your company, passionate employees will help reignite that fire in your soul.

4. Ability to learn fast
The ability to learn quickly is essential in a workforce of 10 employees or fewer. Since you cannot imagine what challenges are ahead, you and your team will find yourselves adapting on the fly and trying to master a number of new skill sets. Look for the employee who has demonstrated these self-starting tendencies.

Looking at a candidate's educational background matched against his/her job history should reveal the ability to learn new skills. For this characteristic, talent is everything. Someone may have the passion to master a new subject, but the ideal small business employee also has the ability to execute.

5. Independence
Chances are, you will not always have time to monitor your team—so look for someone who is independent enough to self-motivate and find solutions to problems as they arise. While you deal with clients and handle the logistics of expanding your vision, you will want your team running on all cylinders without supervision.

To find an employee who thrives on independence, look for someone with plans to start a business in the future. A budding entrepreneur wants to take on challenges and conquer them in the course of a day's work. Like it or not, small businesses are often training grounds for people who are about to start another business. You should feel blessed to have that person serving as your apprentice in the meantime.

Finding a great small business employee can be a tall order, but The UPS Store is here to help. Take advantage of this special offer from cloud-based hiring management system, and start putting a winning team together today.

Back to Blog List