As a manager, there are some qualities of a hard worker you just can’t teach. A new hire can learn your product and master your systems, but you can’t teach a strong work ethic. Recruit effectively by identifying hard workers during the hiring process. This will help set your team up for success.

All hiring managers have experienced firsthand the cost of a bad hire. Employee turnover, especially soon after hire, can negatively impact team morale. In addition, it can cost unnecessary time and money. Learn how to identify hard workers early in the hiring process in order to build a pool of highly qualified, hard working individuals to choose from.

What Does it Mean to Work Hard?

A hard worker typically exemplifies that behavior in all areas of their life. While it’s difficult to pinpoint the definition of hard work, hardworking people are reliable, consistent, and can be trusted with a wide range of tasks. But what does hard work look like in the workplace?

Hard work and its perception can vary based on company culture or the role someone is in. For example, a hard working Sales Development Representative may have great call metrics and be receptive to feedback and correction. A hard working Director of Sales may be a great communicator and establish challenging, but achievable goals. Company culture also dictates what hard work is— whether it be established metrics or more general signs of a hard worker.

Why Do People Work Hard?

Working hard is a learned skill, but it requires years of practice and intention. People often begin developing this skill during childhood. While the ability to work hard may come more naturally to some people, it is not an established characteristic or personality trait. Therefore, it cannot be identified by a personality test. So, you shouldn’t be asking, “Is hardworking a character trait?” or “Is hardworking a personality trait?” Rather, the question should be, “What makes a hard worker and how can I hire them?”

Benefits of Hard Work

Hard workers reap rewards beyond a good reputation. For a hardworking employee, the benefits of hard work are a strong sense of self and the knowledge that they are doing their best. In turn, they understand that they are making a positive impact on their professional and personal lives.

As a company, hiring hard workers can increase efficiency, ease management challenges, and create a pipeline of future hardworking leaders within your sales organization. Can you envision a future where you as a leader don’t have to worry about the little things? You can focus on your biggest goals and be confident that your team of hardworking employees has the skills to succeed.

Top 5 Characteristics of Hardworking People

While the description of a hardworking person varies based on context, the characteristics of a hard worker do not. As a manager, if you can identify the qualities of a hard worker in current employees and potential new hires, you’ll give your sales organization a strong foundation for success.

In all contexts, hard workers exemplify:

Hard Workers are Dependable

One of the key characteristics of hard work is dependability. A dependable employee sticks to their word, regardless of the perceived importance of a task. Your most dependable employees often become hardworking examples and leaders at every level of your organization.

  • Punctuality & Reliability: A dependable team member will be on time, or early, and prepared. The value of punctuality cannot be understated. A late or unprepared employee will make a bad impression and can damage your team’s reputation.
  • Quality: A dependable, hardworking employee will produce high-quality work. Not only do these individuals hold themselves to high standards, they value the standards you set and will work to meet or exceed them.
  • Leadership: As colleagues learn they can depend on a hardworking employee, that employee will become valued, trusted, and respected by their peers. Those are the exact characteristics you want in a leader at any level.

How to Identify Dependability

As a leader, it can be difficult to recognize dependability in action. To start, focus on the small ways your team is dependable and voice the good qualities you are seeing. The more you notice dependability and hard work, the easier it will be to identify hard workers in the hiring process.

Hard Workers Are Skilled at Prioritizing

Prioritization is the ability to manage multiple projects or tasks, and identify which are most important and time-sensitive. This often means choosing which projects get attention now and which, if any, are delayed or reorganized. Hard workers can provide even more value because of their ability to prioritize.

  • Large Workload: By understanding prioritization and their own responsibilities, hard workers can typically take on a larger workload.
  • Strategic Mindset: Because hard workers are constantly evaluating their priorities, they are equipped to support leadership and become leaders in strategy. They think critically and constantly about priorities. Therefore, they have a strong understanding of the ins and outs of a team’s workload and competing demands.

How to Identify a Person Skilled at Prioritizing

Prioritization is a learned skill and it can be difficult to identify in potential employees. Try to look for:

  • Adaptability: An employee who can adapt their workload to accommodate a new project, or adjust their focus based on new information, is extremely adaptable. This is likely a sign that they are skilled at prioritizing.
  • Quality Questions: The better a team member’s questions, the better information they have to make prioritization decisions. Pay close attention to employees and candidates who ask good questions. Then, identify how they put that new information into practice.

Hard Workers Are Motivated

Motivation is a characteristic of hard work that is easy to identify, but difficult to learn. Employees who are intrinsically motivated will require little from you in terms of incentive or pushing. Motivation is critical in many workplace situations, like:

  • Busy seasons: Many industries are cyclical, and motivation is key during your organization’s busy season. With a team of motivated hard workers, you won’t have to pull focus from mission-critical tasks. Instead, you can rely on your team to remain motivated toward their goals.
  • Organizational shifts: As organizational or company-wide priorities change, morale can dip. Motivated employees will continue working hard through challenging times to produce quality work.

How to Identify Highly Motivated Candidates

Highly motivated candidates tend to stick out from the crowd. Think about your team. Ask yourself the following questions to identify your most motivated team members:

  • Who keeps sight of the bigger picture?
  • Who comes to you with new ideas?
  • Who sticks out as the definition of hard work?

A workplace assessment can help identify motivated candidates when hiring. You can utilize one when evaluating or hiring team members, and optimize your leadership from the start.

Hard Workers Persevere

When compiling words to describe a hardworking person, perseverance comes up consistently. Persistence is continued, extended effort toward a goal or outcome, regardless of challenges or obstacles. Hard workers persevere in large and small ways to the benefit of their personal and professional communities.

  • Evolving Constraints: In client-facing work like sales, clients or prospects will often come to the table with ever-changing constraints. Your persistent team members will identify creative and viable solutions for clients, regardless of the circumstances.
  • Shifting Priorities: As priorities shift due to personal or organizational reprioritization, a hard worker will redirect their efforts. They will persist in achieving quality outcomes across the board, even as things change.

How to Identify Perseverance

Persistence can be difficult to practice and identify because it requires extended, long-term effort. Your hardest workers will persist through challenges, and won’t be discouraged in the face of obstacles. A well-timed assessment and keen observation will go a long way as you work to identify, hire, and nurture hard workers in your sales organization.

Hardworking People Practice Self-Care

When asked, “What does it mean to work hard?,” few people would identify self-care as an important attribute. Instead, they would talk about long-term, sustained excellence and quality contributions. However, such hard work is not possible without self-care.

Self-care is anything an employee does to rest, recharge, and recenter. It allows them to stay well-equipped to continue to work at peak performance for their entire careers. Identifying hardworking people is not possible without finding a way to assess self-care. Self-care may look like:

  • Turning off email notifications on weekends: Taking mental space in the evenings or on weekends allows hard workers to return to the office each day with a clear mind.
  • Taking one long vacation each year: Taking 1-2 weeks to unplug can allow a hard worker to come back to the office refreshed and ready to continue their excellent work.
  • Going on a walk during lunch: Briefly stepping away during the work day has numerous physical and mental health benefits.

How to Cultivate Workplace Self-Care

You can cultivate a culture of self-care in the workplace. Doing so will empower your employees and give them the tools to step into their own space as hard workers and leaders. Consider:

  • Modeling Firm Work-Life Boundaries: It can be tempting to be available at all hours. But, by modeling a firm end time whenever possible, and waiting until standard working hours to send non-urgent requests, you’ll empower employees to care for themselves in the same way.
  • Flexible Scheduling & PTO: As much as possible, allow your team to adjust their schedules to account for appointments, family needs, or other responsibilities. This has the added benefit of building strong affinity and loyalty within your team.

Spot the Signs of a Hard Worker In Candidates With Chally

You aren’t alone in your search to identify and nurture hard workers. Chally has integrated years of experience and expertise into workplace assessments that give you the data you need to make informed, high-quality hiring decisions. Invest in your hiring process and avoid the cost of employee turnover by finding and choosing hard workers.