You’re a team member down, and either internally or externally, you need to find a suitable replacement ASAP.
The trouble is, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what traits to look out for which in turn makes it nigh-on impossible to know what to ask candidates during the interview process.
Whether you’re carrying out a performance appraisal of your current team or hiring for a vacant role, this guide will fill you in on the qualities that indicate you’ve got a great team member on your hands.
Discover the top qualities of great team members and how employee monitoring solutions can support your efforts to get the best out of your team.
What are employee monitoring tools?
Employee monitoring tools lift the curtain on productivity, showing you exactly where each employee’s time goes, what apps they use most and least, and how they perform compared to their coworkers.
Monitoring softwares can bring insights into each employee beyond what their managers tell you.
While it may not be the easiest trait to identify in others, having a team member that’s internally motivated can make a world of difference. You can have the best productivity policies and strategies in place, but if the individual isn’t intrinsically motivated, it might not make much of a difference.
Consider these two fictional employees, and ask yourself - who would you rather have on your team?
John seems like a hard worker, though seemingly only when it suits him or his superiors are watching. When probed about his aspirations and reasons for showing up to work each day, he often cites extrinsic motivators. It’s about saving up for his dream home, impressing his friends with status, or praise from his boss.
Mary, on the other hand, keeps her head down and shows a willingness to improve day after day. She’s usually one of the first to sign up for work-related conferences, loves taking professional courses in her spare time, and displays incredible passion for her work.
The key difference here is that while John derives his sense of purpose from external factors, Mary looks within for her motivation. He’s driven by money, status, and praise while she has an insatiable desire to strive for better and become a more well-rounded professional.
If you were to use the best employee monitoring software in a scenario like this, here’s what you’d likely notice:
- Internally-motivated employee - Enjoys sustained periods of productivity throughout the day, rarely dipping below the team leader’s expectations. They’re able to draw from an endless source of internal motivation, so it’s likely that they’re a top performer.
- Externally-motivated employee - Has spells of high productivity interspersed with long bouts of idle time. Their motivation is often fleeting, so it comes in waves, which can be easily spotted with an employee timeline visual like that offered by pc usage tracking software Insightful.
With the right monitoring tools, you can keep your finger on the pulse of motivation levels as you watch productivity levels wax and wane throughout the day.
An outstanding team member isn’t content to coast through the day, and as such, they tend to be highly responsive.
If you want to know if you’re about to make an effective hire for your team, see how the candidate communicates.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are they thorough in their responses?
- How long do they take to get back to you?
- Do they understand the importance of workplace professionalism?
If a team member never writes more than a sentence in an email, and it takes them an age to respond with overly casual language, then that should raise a red flag.
Great communicators will help you cut down on unnecessary mistakes due to misunderstandings, and give you confidence that in the worst-case scenario everything would still run smoothly.
The last thing you want is a team member that’s liable to ghost you for the whole afternoon, leaving you wondering whether the work you assigned will get completed on time.
Given that ‘agile’ is a word often bandied about these days regarding companies that can adapt to changing times and expectations, shouldn’t employees also show a similar level of adaptability?
The work landscape is ever-shifting, and this has never been more true than it is now with the recent move to remote and hybrid models.
In unpredictable circumstances, you need flexible team members.
Say you track employees with an activity monitor and discover that the project management tool you pay a significant subscription fee for isn’t being used much at all. In this case, the best decision is likely to switch to an alternative - one that your team members will actually use.
The last thing you want in such a scenario is to think that there are members of your team who will struggle with the sudden change. Instead, you want a no-questions-asked mentality from your team members and a demonstration that they are able to quickly adapt to new software or tools.
A self-sufficient team member is someone who will take ownership for their actions and handle their workload competently and professionally. With a team member that can exercise their autonomy when necessary, your job as team leader is made easier.
When you delegate a task to them, you don’t have to worry whether or not it will get done on time.
Self-sufficient team members are diligent workers, and highly capable when given authority. These are people you can place a lot of trust in, and even if complications arise during a project, you know they’ll be able to find a solution even if you’re not available.
It may sound obvious that hard-working team members are effective team members, but this trait goes beyond being able to put in a shift when it matters.
They say you should work smarter, not harder, and we wholeheartedly agree.
While an ability to grind out work close to a deadline is important at times, it’s more being able to direct this energy in the right place which is a useful trait for a team member.
For example, you can have one team member who works hard on responding to emails for several hours while another spends the same time writing up reports. They’re both hard-working, but the latter team member knows how to prioritize too.
Help Your Team With Prioritization
Here are some ways you can help your team members harness their work ethic and prioritize effectively:
Make Data-Backed Decisions
The best productivity monitors on the market will give you clear indications of how effectively each team member spends their time.
If they appear to be a top performer with very little idle time yet your team is falling short of certain KPIs, it could be that they’re not using their time effectively. Share this data with the team member in question, and they’ll be able to redirect their energy in a way that supports the team’s objectives.
Eat that Frog
It may be an old-school concept, but it’s worth going over with your team to help them better prioritize their work. Based on a book with the same name, the concept is simple: tackle your most important task first and the rest will fall like dominos.
This approach to tackling a workload makes meaningful progress easier to come by as team members build momentum quickly by knocking off their most pressing tasks first.
Use the Eisenhower Matrix
With the Eisenhower Matrix, you can show team members how to manage their time effectively by categorizing their workload.
There are four categories in the Eisenhower Matrix:
- Not Important
- Not Urgent
If team members split up their tasks into these four categories, they can systematically tackle them according to their urgency and importance. That way, they’re not squandering their most productive hours on trivial tasks.
What Makes a Great Remote Team Member?
"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." – Henry Ford
Every successful team is made up of outstanding individuals, so when you add team members with the qualities outlined in this guide, you’re all but guaranteeing future success.
Yet in a remote work environment, you might need to find additional qualities that prove your team members can thrive from afar.
Here are some traits of great remote team members:
To thrive in a remote work environment, you need a team of self-starters.
These are the kind of team members who can wake up and start work promptly even when there’s no accountability. They can organize their time while working from home and prioritize effectively without the need for hand-holding.
Being able to organize both time and workload is an important skill for remote team members. They need to understand how much time to allocate for each task, when to take breaks, and when their most productive hours are.
Again, this is a time when internet use monitoring can be useful as you can provide team members with relevant data.
Sometimes things happen quickly in a remote work environment. A project comes in, and you need a rapid turnaround time.
In cases like these, you need to be confident that you can rely on your team members to make split-second judgment calls about their capacity and relay that information to you effectively.