The ideal employee, when applied to any job, does not exist. The reason for this is very simple: superheroes only exist in comic books, while in the real world what we find are real people, not perfect human beings.
However, what we can ask ourselves is who is the ideal employee for a particular job at a particular time in the life cycle of our company.
Ideal employee or “A” player
In the English-speaking world, the ideal employee is known as an “A” player. This term refers to an analogy between the ideal employee and a member of a sports team, in which several players perform different functions to achieve their goal on the field of play: to win.
Back in the professional arena, an “A” player or ideal employee would basically be someone brilliant or, as they say colloquially, someone “very good at what they do”. What does that brilliance translate into? For example, being ambitious, eager to fully get involved in projects that are meaningful to them in order to be able to contribute their high potential and grow professionally. Their way of working is a sample of what would be a methodology and performance worthy of being imitated.
In addition, the ideal employee is able to work well in a team. When a recruiter meets them in a personnel selection process, they clearly feel that they are eager to have them join the team. From this point of view, this is someone who works excellently and who, therefore, is a perfect fit for the company.
The true qualities of the ideal employee
When we ask ourselves what the ideal employee is like, we imagine someone who has all kinds of qualities to the highest degree, someone who is simply perfect. However, as we have already pointed out, this perfect person does not exist.
On the contrary, if we want to find the ideal employee but, more importantly, if we want our current employees to become “ideal” or close to it, we have to look at the question in other terms: what the perfect person for this particular position should be like. Let’s take a closer look.
Qualities of the ideal worker
The very least we need to know about the ideal employee we are looking to integrate into our company is that this person meets two requirements: high personal and technical skills scores (known as hard skills and soft skills) and a good balance between both sets of skills. It is precisely this balance that allows them to produce not to the maximum of their capacity, but in an optimal way for the needs of the company at a given time.
However, this is so general and open-ended that it needs to be specified. This requires taking into account the characteristics of the particular company: its mission, its corporate culture (not everyone is “ideal” for any corporate purpose), as well as the staffing needs that the company has at a given time and that makes what is considered ideal vary as the structure changes.
The ideal worker’s ties
After taking these organizational characteristics into account, in order to describe the ideal employee, we must consider issues related to their attachment to the company (commitment, sense of belonging), to the task (motivation, good fit with their own values), and to their colleagues (ability to work in a team well combined with the ability to perform autonomously).
Although all these characteristics are usually included in lists of traits describing the ideal employee, to do so rigidly is not entirely accurate. Again, we stress that the ideal employee for some employers may be someone who is highly cooperative, while for others it is the ability to outperform and stand out from their peers that makes them ideal.
On the other hand, in a particular company, it may be necessary to have someone who is capable of being committed to the company’s mission in the long term, while on other occasions, what is needed is someone who carries out a particular project and then simply disappears.
This way, dimensions such as proactivity, autonomy, positive attitude, or the ability to cooperate would be examples of qualities that we can easily value as good – in absolute terms – in any employee in a decontextualized way. However, in reality, they are relative if what we want is to determine what characteristics the ideal employee should have for a specific position in a specific company at a given time.
Such an organization may require, for example, an attitude that is more passive than proactive, so that there is no friction with superiors, or more competitive than collaborative if what the company needs is to see which worker produces better results rather than which team achieves them.
Learn how to find and nurture ideal employees
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Moreover, this program offers employees a holistic mental health care service structured at different levels depending on what they need at any given time and includes, if required, online psychological therapy with a psychologist specialized in cases like theirs.
We hope you found this post about the main characteristics of the ideal employee interesting. If you would like more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, all you have to do is request it and we will contact your team as soon as possible. You may also be interested in this post about psychosocial risks at work.