HR Forum

10 qualities of rockstar employees

We often wonder why some people are considered far more valuable to the organisation than others. These people are popular, they seem to get a lot done, and everyone likes them. Often times, they are sought out for their expertise.

In my years as a HR practitioner, one of the organisations I was affiliated with conducted a study of more than 500 managers over two years, in which they were asked about the qualities of their best employees.

The following 10 qualities of rockstar employees received the highest scores:

1. They are positive

They choose optimism over negativity. They focus on the good, the possibilities, they see the bright side and they encourage strengths in others.

2. They are proactive

They don't wait to be told what to do. They report and update statuses without being asked. They do things without being reminded. When there is a delay, they make sure they set the expectations in advance.

3. They are focused on solutions and not problems

They follow the golden rule: when you bring a problem, also bring a solution. They do not pass the buck. Their thinking is solution seeking. They do not get lost or overwhelmed with problems.

4. They look at issues from a customer's point of view

They have an outside-in point of view. They look at issues how the customer would. This helps them stay objective.

5. They consider feedback as gift

They use feedback as a means to improve. They seek feedback often. They ask probing questions. They listen. They express gratitude. They act on the feedback.

6. They understand the company and offerings well

Their effectiveness comes from understanding the company and its offerings. They immerse themselves to understand the little details, nuances and technicalities. This helps them to connect the dots and serve customers better.

7. They are collaborative

Rockstar employees naturally work with others. They genuinely appreciate others. They are empathetic. They seek others with strengths they don't possess. They communicate frequently.

8. They have a good sense of humour

They laugh and make others laugh. They have fun. They know the link between having fun and being productive.

9. They are genuine and naturally helpful

A research conducted by Adam Grant, Professor of Wharton Business School, described in his book Give and Take that people who are genuinely helpful to others are liked and get ahead at work. Stars take the time to share their knowledge, provide pointers and helpful hints.

10. They are easy to work with and likeable

Rockstar employees are easy to approach, to connect with and they are likeable.

Sharad Verma is the global head of human resources for a financial technology organisation based in India. With over 20 years of human resource experience, his expertise lies within talent retention and development specifically geared toward middle management, and he blogs regularly on these topics. To contact him, email


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