Food for Thought: Discovering Excellence

Excellence – in particular, excellent employees – has been a hot topic recently in many online community circles, including both HR and IT. Asking why it’s hard to find excellent employees sparks a lot of debate from both sides of the table.

While the definition of “excellence” may be highly subjective, we do have a general, common perception of what an excellent employee entails: Someone who has dedicated work ethic, who puts more in than the bare minimum, who is inspired to lead and collaborate and participate in the growth of the company.

So where are all these people? Answers vary wildly. Some say the passion it takes to be an excellent employee gets beaten out at a young age. A majority of people has been led to believe that a job exists purely to pay the bills, which is not a belief that typically inspires excellence.

Others believe that mediocrity has simply become an ingrained feature of modern society, promoted through poor leadership, television, and technology in general. Employees and people in general are no longer pushed or motivated to be excellent in any aspect of their lives. Still others believe that many once-excellent employees were not recognized as such by their employers and have since been burned out and lost their passion.

One of the most reoccurring answers of all was that excellence is not often a quality that can be captured by a resume, a cover letter, or sometimes even an interview. In short, an excellent employee cannot be found in the traditional sense. They get lost in the masses, and have to be hunted, networked, referred, and connected with on a personal level instead.

But, when they do finally become your employee, the excellence has to be mutual. If excellence is clearly recognized, valued, and rewarded, it is more likely to be maintained. Excellent employees go hand-in-hand with excellent employers.

As I mentioned, excellence is ultimately subjective, so any kind of definitive answer is highly elusive. But it’s certainly worth a thought.

Clare Webster – Marketing Director at Ashley Ellis

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