5 Attributes of a World-Class Workforce

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by Meghan M. Biro

There’s a technology-driven revolution happening in HR these days. It’s called self-service and it gives employees more power over their careers. In a nutshell, self-service gives people control over many functions that used to be handled by HR. With a private log-in, employees can now manage their own payroll and retirement plans, request time-off and other schedule adjustments, book on-line courses and other learning and development tools, engage and be social with colleagues on intranets, and just generally manage their own work lives to an extent that was previously impossible. This leads to more engaged, empowered and productive teams.

Self-service is a key development in building and retaining a work-class workforce. It is a key leadership and learning tool. It is what the future looks like. And it’s here today.

But, wait! Before you walk away from your computer and start doing cartwheels down the hallways, there is a major caveat!

Self-service is no substitute for savvy hiring. It can take smart hiring to a new level, but never ever forget that hiring is the bottom line in HR and leadership. Hire wrong and all the self-service in the world will be worthless.

So, let’s do a quick refresher on the five most important attributes to look to for when building a world-class team of talent:

1) Talent. There is simply no substitute for talent. Talented people bring ideas, spontaneity, innovation, spark, and inspiration to your organization. Talent is invaluable, it is the heart and soul of a great company. Learn how to recognize talent. Hint: talent in one field is a predictor, if not a guarantee, of talent in another. Look for amazing accomplishments even if they’re not directly related to what your company produces.

2) Passion. Passion drives greatness. Passion is contagious. A passionate employee will go the extra mile – and then some. When hiring, look for people who have interesting quirks in their resumes, who are passionate about mountain climbing, Russian literature, recycling, whatever. A passionate person brings fire, heart and inspiration to your organization and culture.

3) Attitude. There is nothing as refreshing and uplifting as someone with an upbeat, kind, generous personality. They are one of the foundations of a world-class workforce. People with a positive attitude are teachable, eager to grow, develop, expand their skill set and deliver stellar performance. Plus, a can-do attitude, sense of fun and generous spirit are contagious, and lift morale and workplace happiness.

4) Aptitude. For some jobs, skills are the bottom line. IT and other complex systems demand up-to-the-nanosecond expertise. Yes, talent can be trained, but to stay ahead of the game you need a workforce infused with hands-on know-how, filled with people who are plugged into what is happening now and have their pulse on tomorrow. They must have the ability to quickly master the newest innovations. This requires aptitude and the confidence it spreads. A confidence that permeates an organization and leadership, that signals to everyone – employees in other departments, customers, social communities, and stakeholders – that you know what you’re doing.

Read about #5 here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghanbiro/2013/04/14/5-attributes-of-a-world-class-workforce/

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