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(File pix) The biggest quality that an employer is looking for is problem-solving skills.

Over the past few weeks, I have had to deal with two members of my team leaving their positions. Even as a business owner with over twenty years of experience dealing with numerous staffing challenges, I still get surprised when someone decides to leave one of my businesses.

I understand that aspirations change, relationships mature, and needs grow. But, I also know that at core, if someone chooses to leave my organisation, it is because they have decided that being under my leadership is no longer a viable option for them.

To be frank, with these two employees who left recently, I am glad that they opted to move on. I had been trying to figure out ways to inspire and engage them better. However, I also felt that leading them was no longer a viable option for me.

As always, when someone resigns from their job in my team, I spend quite a bit of time reflecting on what my role was, and also what I need to learn from their departure.

This week, I have spent some time reflecting on what is important to keep the symbiotic relationship between an employer and employee moving along effectively.

The biggest quality that your employer is looking for is problem-solving skills.

The 2018 Job Outlook Survey, done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) in the United States, scored this as the skill that an employer needs most. They gave it 82.9% importance.

This means that if you want to be valuable to your employer, make this a priority. It is, without doubt, the most significant attribute your line leaders are looking for in you.

Your employer doesn’t only need you to identify problems. They actually prefer, if you pitch up with options to resolve them as well. For this to happen, become solution oriented. Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.

Next, you have to be a team player.

I repeat in all my training programmes that a company needs orchestral musicians, not solo artists. No matter how skilled you are, you need be apt at being part of a team that creates beautiful collaborative music.

For this, you have to understand how to develop functional relationships with others. Being a well-rounded team player for your organisation requires that you are purpose driven.

Understand that the people around you need to function well, in order for you to deliver on your key performance indicators. When you cognize this, you will see your colleagues are partners, rather than adversaries.

This leads to harmonious teams at the workplace. Third in the list of what employers want, is good written communication skills.

This skill is valued at 80.3% in the Job Outlook Survey 2018.

In modern businesses, you will spend time writing emails, reports, and all manner of communiqués. Hone your writing skills because your employer really needs this.

Often, your writing represents the company’s brand proposition. Therefore, if you write like an imbecile, you are messing around with your employer’s branding.

Leadership comes in at fourth place.

Do not panic. It’s just an over-used term. You just have to increase your proficiency of guiding yourself, your department or unit, and the entire organisation, towards meeting agreed goals. Work on increasing your personal leadership capacity.

And finally, the fifth most important attribute that an employer wants is a strong work ethic.

A work ethic is a set of moral principles that you use in executing your job. Have a solid code, and be grounded on this. Aside from the non-negotiable requirement for honesty and integrity, you must concentrate on what needs to be done at work.

Don’t get waylaid, and use your paid-time to constantly deal with your personal issues and emotional dramas. We all have them. But the best employees are the ones who learn to manage their personal problems well enough, to not let it impact their efficacy at work.

Good employers must pay what their team members are worth, based on market-rates. Take the money nervousness off the table. And, make sure that any wage disparity between employees is clearly justifiable.

Offer your team a decent environment for work-life balance. More and more companies have figured out that unless someone is doing an essential service, clocking in for a fixed amount of time at work should not be a primary indicator of an employee’s worth to them.

Be result oriented, not clock-bound.

Next is opportunity for advancement. Your employees need to know where they are heading. If you do not offer a clear growth pathway, they will not stay. The millennial generation is especially keen on this.

And finally, infuse your employees with a sense of purpose. While they will see their salary as being vital, you need to understand this reality. Being purpose driven produces tremendous results. I find that my team performs best when they understand the impact of their work.

Employers and employees need to add value to each other. This is what we all really want.

Shankar R. Santhiram is managing consultant and executive leadership coach at EQTD Consulting. He is also the author of the national bestseller “So, You Want To Get Promoted?”

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