By Kyle Moore | Harkcon's President
You need the right employees to be a successful virtual company; not everyone can work independently or with minimal supervision. It is important to find well-balanced, highly-motivated, self-starters who you can count on to get the job done.
Balancing Technical and Soft Skills:
As a virtual company doing business across the United States, we rely on each of our employees to best represent Harkcon on a daily basis. They create our reputation not only by how they perform their job, but also by how they conduct themselves in the workplace with our customers, clients and other employees.
We hired each and every one of our employees because we think they are the best at what they do. But in a virtual company, being a technical expert isn’t enough. For an employee to be truly successful at a virtual company like Harkcon, they also need to develop and perfect their “soft skills.” Soft skills are those personal qualities, characteristics and attributes that make an individual a great teammate; someone with whom everyone – inside and outside the company – can relate to and work with. In terms of overall job performance, we believe these soft skills are just as important as a person’s technical skills.
In addition to being a technical expert, a great virtual company employee needs to be able to:
The Big 10:
The soft skills Harkcon values – listed here in terms of employee “success factors” – are based upon our Guiding Principles and are further explained in our Employee Handbook. We provide this information to our employees to help guide them in their personal development and their day-to-day interactions with our current and future customers, clients and associates. Our employees know that perfecting these soft skills helps support and sustain the company’s values and culture, as well as our future in the marketplace.
At Harkcon, we expect our employees to:
1. Lead by example:
Be professional. Act and dress appropriately. Know your job. Be a self-starter; don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. Maintain a strong work ethic. Do things right the first time. Accept criticism constructively. Be flexible and open to new ideas and change.
Be personable. Maintain eye contact. Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues. Listen more than you speak. Don’t interrupt. When you do speak, add value to the conversation. Ask open, engaging questions. Seek to understand the customer’s needs and focus on how we can find solutions to their problems.
Be respectful. Be courteous and treat everyone fairly, with dignity and respect. Display good manners. Be humble. Say “please” and “thank you.” Appreciate different perspectives. If you disagree with someone or something, do so politely. Be gracious in victory and defeat.
Be honest. Tell the truth. Be tactful. Never compromise your integrity, no matter how difficult the situation. Say what you mean; mean what you say. Comply with the company’s Code of Ethical Conduct in all your business endeavors.
2. Inspire those working around and with you:
Be passionate. Believe in yourself. Be positive. Have a good attitude. Make work fun. Be committed to the customer, the effort, the opportunity, the team. Always put forth your best effort. Promise big…and deliver big.
Be creative. Harness the power of your imagination. Begin with the end in mind. Be resourceful. Be innovative. Focus on making things better…stronger…faster. Identify ways to continually make the company more relevant to our current and future customers.
Be helpful. Be a team player. Focus on teamwork vice individual achievement. Communicate, collaborate and cooperate. Share ideas and information. Be humble. Be supportive. Look out for others. Do more than your share.
3. Deliver results:
Be responsible. Hold yourself accountable. When you accept a job, finish it. Do more than what’s expected. Leave everything better than you found it. Own up to your mistakes and then fix them. Always keep your supervisor informed.
Be reliable. Be dependable. Be trustworthy. Maintain customer and teammate confidentiality. Don’t reveal or repeat sensitive information. Keep your promises. Follow through on all commitments. If you say you can or will do something, do it.
Be proactive. Think ahead. Anticipate what needs to be done next. Prioritize your work. Meet all deadlines. Respect other’s time. Be on time to meetings and conference calls. Return calls and correspondence promptly.
“You can't buy a good reputation; you must earn it.” Harvey Mackay
In our business, where we rely on repeat customers, or on our customer’s opinions and recommendations to win new work, our reputation means everything. Having employees who are not only technical experts, but also soft skill experts, makes a positive difference in Harkcon’s reputation…and consequently our overall success.
Up Next: Getting Employees to buy into their own professional development
If you would like to contact the author of this blog, send an email to email@example.com and reference the title, "10 Soft Skills Every Virtual Company Employee Needs to be Successful."