Betsy's Pretty Good Blog

Happy employees

June 13, 2014

“It’s been my experience that if you want happy employees, then hire happy people. I discovered this simple concept as a Little League baseball coach. While all the other coaches were evaluating the kids’ speed, bat, and glove, I simply kept track of which kids smiled the most. As a result, I was able to build enjoyable teams—win or lose.”
J. Carlton Collins, CPA, Journal of Accountancy, June 2014

We’ve all read advice that hiring for personal characteristics should be primary and then you can teach the new employee “the job”. Of course, it’s a little different with hiring a CPA – they need certain CPA skills. But assuming that the CPA skills are there, what personal characteristics make for good employees?

In the world of finance and accounting, ethics and honesty might top the list of “must haves”. Also close to the top would be responsible, good judgment, persistence, self-motivated, diligent, and prudent. Employees also need to “fit in” with your culture and work well with others as a team. So amiability, flexibility and cooperative may be on the list.

That brings me to “happy”. We all want happy employees. It’s the grease that makes even difficult things go more smoothly. So how do you identify “happy” people? Is it really as simple as Mr. Collins claims? Just look for the smiles? Well, actually that’s not a bad idea. I did a search on the characteristics of happy people and one of the things consistently listed is they tend to smile more. (One caution though – don’t confuse happy with extroverted. Lots of introverts are very happy people.)

Pay attention to the smiles when interviewing and look for those happy people.


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