The 5 Most Important Qualities of a Good Employee


qualities of a good employee

Whether you’re a hiring manager, new to the workforce, starting a new job, or an established employee, you’re likely someone that wants to be a good employee.

And throughout my career, I’ve noticed that there are some common qualities that make up the best employees across the different companies I’ve worked for, people I’ve managed, and people that I’ve worked with.

To that end, this article is going to unpack the 5 most important qualities of a good employee.

Let’s dive in.

1. They Deliver

employee working

At the most basic level, employees are hired to do a specific job. And so, if you’re going to be a good employee, then you need to be able to deliver on the responsibilities of that job.

Basically, this first quality means is that you consistently perform what is expected from you in your job duties.

If you’re a sales professional, you hit your number. If you’re a project manager, you hit your deadline and are on budget. If you work as a software engineer, your code is clean and to spec.

To be a good employee, you need to perform your job well, and this first quality encapsulates that requirement.

2. They’re Enjoyable to Work With

employee smiling

For most of a us, normal work day hours are about eight hours per day, five days per week. That means that we’re spending a lot of time with our co-workers.

To that end, being enjoyable to work with is one of the essential qualities of a good employee. 

Simply by being nice to work with, you lift the spirits of everyone around you. Work is hard enough as it is, and it’s only harder when you have to achieve aggressive goals while managing difficult people.

So being someone that is good to work with goes a long way to being a good employee and making the experience of showing up to work enjoyable for everyone.

3. They’re Reliable

business presentation

Being someone that folks can count on is another one of the key qualities of a good employee.

To me, being reliable means that you’re someone that people can trust to do what they said that they would do. A person that is reliable is somebody that hits their commitments without needing a follow up. And they show up up where they need to be consistently and on time.

Not being able to trust that somebody is going to do what they need to do and burns mental energy for other people that makes it harder for everyone to do their job. Thus, being reliable is a key aspect of being a good employee.

4. They’re Proactive

work call

Outside of delivering on results and being reliable, good employees are also proactive. 

In fact, being proactive is the #1 habit of highly effective people, per Stephen Covey. And that definitely applies in the workplace as well.

Being proactive means that you take complete ownership of your role and work to influence your environment to the highest extent possible to ensure that you’re able to achieve what you need to achieve.

You’re someone that builds relationships with others because you know they may be valuable in the future. You anticipate problems and get ahead of them. And you communicate with your boss to address issues before they become real issues.

The best employees are consistently the one that are the most proactive.

5. They Have Integrity


The last, but certainly not least, quality of a good employee on this list is that they have integrity. And integrity means that they do the right thing, even when nobody is looking.

Good employees have a strong moral compass, and can be trusted to make the ethical decision at all times, even without being supervised. 

Even if you exude all five other qualities of a good employee, a miss in the integrity department can trump all of the rest of them.


For most people, they generally want to be a good, contributing employee that does their job well.

And over the course of my more than ten year professional career, I’ve found that the qualities above consistently show up in the best colleagues and managers that I’ve had.

So work to exude the qualities of a good employee above, and you’re likely to find yourself living out a great career.

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and is a business professional with over 10 years of experience. He has been a hiring and people manager on multiple occasions, and has also gone through the hiring process himself at a variety of different companies. Dan writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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