11 must have traits for third sector employees.

Organisations all over the country, need the most effective and efficient employees they can, but how do you identify those unspoken skills and behaviors in a potential employee when you only have such a short amount of time to get to know them? Maybe you’re looking for a job in the third sector yourself and want to use this as a checklist against yourself to make sure you have what employers want.


1: Those all-important transferable skills.

You’ll hear it all the time, but rarely list them; they could be experiences or hobbies that someone might have. Those who work in the police or armed forces are often overlooked for their crisis-management skills, they deal with and rehearse crisis on a daily basis but too often forget to express this during interviews or on their CV, who else could be hiding talent?

2: Proactive over reactive.

Imagine not having to constantly prompt employees to accomplish routine tasks or new ones as they arise. Pro-active employees can come to you with solutions not problems, it also means they can feel empowered and therefore more motivated. Make sure you as an employer set the conditions to allow freedom of decisions to get more of these valuable result-driven employees.

3: That genuine sense of a deep commitment.

Commitment goes further than to say “I’ll do it because I said I would”; it’s those who put in the extra time and energy into all those implied tasks that come with the job. Those that are committed deeply to their role are likely to also extend that commitment to their employer.

4: Self-discipline.

This is more than just turning up on time and re-filling the coffee machine. It ranges from all the smallest of tasks that you as a manager can’t (and shouldn’t) micro-manage. Employees who have a strong sense of self-discipline can be trusted to not only be relied on, but also will seek the most effective way of undertaking everything they do.

5: An ability to lead.

Leadership is not the same as management, it goes further than the realms of process and policy, you want to have leaders throughout your organisation and at every level, from the smallest of teams to leading in their respective industries and specialisms.

6: Integrity.

Nothing can wreck a workplace atmosphere like distrust and deceit; a hard characteristic to judge; you need to be aware for how the most loyal of employees could turn for whatever reason, do you need to impose certain control measures?

7: The right balance of work and play.

Work-related stress has been on the increase, ‘leavism’ is when you have employees working on job related tasks in their own time even though they have no requirement to.

The occasional leavism is great, but too much of it can cause stress and may identify a weakness in the job role, even if they are happy to get along with it, think what would happen if that person were to suddenly leave and the work expectation left for the next person?

8: A willingness to go beyond the job role.

We all know them, those who refuse to do anything more than is asked of them even if they are the perfectly qualified or a suited person.

No job description can encompass everything, and you won’t be in a position to demand work from employees if they aren’t contractually obliged, but this links into the two-way relationship of helping each other and seeing the bigger picture beyond their own role.

9: Agile learners.

If you’ve got employees who are satisfied to do things the same as they were two years ago, it is likely they are not people who seek continuous improvement. Ensure your employees and managers expect systems and processes to improve and have the willingness to move along with them.

10: Self motivators.

Motivation isn’t always about getting others to do tasks that they’d rather not, it should equally be about your own employees being able to crack on with what needs to be done, you’ll find those that can do this will be much harder and efficient workers for you.

11: Team players.

All these skills individually are great, but together they are stronger, employees that set the conditions for ‘teams’ not ‘groups’ are the ones you want, they can bring others up with them and help out those that have weaker skill sets.

Our findings

The strongest of your employees will have many qualities, the best of them will have ones that complement their teams and fill in the gaps. Imagine you had to write school reports on each of your employees and list their qualities, you may find you expose the stronger employees you have in your organisation.

Not all of these skills can be taught – some only caught, you’ll certainly want to consider these during the recruitment process and getting an expert opinion can really help you out. Empower can help design questions and tasks that will enable you to elicit these skills or deficits through the interview process.

Need help getting the right employees with these qualities?

Visit Empower Recruitment

Looking for a job in the third sector yourself?

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