Myth of the Perfect Employee

Shawnee Love   •  
May 14, 2013

Based on some of the criteria I have heard over the years, I have been building a model for the perfect employee.

The Perfect Employee:

  • never complains
  • does a great job
  • needs no training, feedback, recognition or wage increases
  • always takes initiative
  • doesn’t need downtime
  • is team player
  • never gets sick
  • has no friends or family to distract them

Sounds great in theory, but I think you have as much chance of finding a real live person to be this employee as discovering a unicorn in your kitchen.  Saying that, a few of these qualities hit my top 10 list for what to look for when hiring so don’t throw out the baby with the bath.

I mean that quite literally since for many owners, your business is your baby.  You gave it life and if you are one of the 73% of businesses in Canada owned solely by a male it is likely the only baby you will ever give birth to.  You nurture it, bandaid it when it bleeds, show up for every competition, and coach, cheer, yell, and sweat over every goal, win, loss and report card.  You love it.  Why don’t your employees?

Much like our children, no one is ever going to love our business like we do (except perhaps another family member, but this is not a blog about family business).  It is hard not to take it personal, but when it comes to hiring, managing and motivating employees, the sooner you are okay that they don’t love your baby like you do, the sooner you will move on to the next best thing which is your employees care enough to give you what you pay for.

Wow, that is a loaded statement, but it is true nonetheless. You have to be the judge of whether or not you are getting good value for what you pay, but that is the right definition for a Perfect Employee.