The Perfect Employee, Defined

By Hugh Stewart

I’ve blogged about setting the stage for attracting and engaging the best employees — a process that involves understanding your company’s culture and business, better designing the roles for which you hire, and best creating a work flow and process.

Once you’ve figured all that out, it’s time to answer the question: Who is the perfect employee?

First off, let us better define “employee.” When I use that word, I am referring to employees, virtual assistants, independent contractors, strategic vendors, and anyone else you are paying to perform a specific task for your business.

The first step in determining the perfect employee is to best define his or her position. I discussed the job design process and workflow design process in a previous blog. The objective is to better understand the tasks and responsibilities of every role. In addition, include what the employee will be empowered to take action on. Not just a list of tasks for which he or she will hold responsibility, but how and with what authority that employee will be empowered to actually take action on your behalf.

The longer the term and the closer they will work with you, the more thorough a design is needed to scope out every new position. The more time you spend detailing this part of the equation, the less time you will spend being frustrated later when the people you hire fail to meet your objectives. Many times, a potential hire is attracted to one or two words in the job description, without really understanding all the expectations associated with the position. And that is because all that info has not usually been fleshed out and communicated beforehand.

Secondly, to further identify ideal employees, our company uses a conative indexing tool offered through a company called the Kolbe Corp. Conative pertains to any natural tendency, impulse, striving, or directed effort. Kolbe uses a conative based system to produce a profile, identifying how people instinctively solve problems and strive to succeed. Every role in our company is run through Kolbe’s “Right Fit” model, and each applicant is then tested by Kolbe against the model. I highly recommend following the entire Kolbe process. Our business has used it for four years, and it has helped bring our turnover rate in a retail business from over 200 percent to less than 10. With turnover costs of about five to six thousand dollars per employee, this improvement leads directly to big savings.

In my next blog, I will review the next two factors you need to consider when determining the perfect employee.

Hugh Stewart, founder and CEO of Confident Solutions Coach, has both a substantial education background and diverse entrepreneurial background. Stewart was not only a nuclear fuel designer, but he has created and operated more than 17 businesses in the past 10 years in industries such as money services, real estate, advertising, reinsurance consulting, and coaching.

Stewart seeks to help business owners who are struggling or simply wish to move their business to the next level. You can reach him at, or sign up for a free business consultation here.
Originally published: Sep 21, 2011

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