Wouldn’t it be great if we could identify the one fundamental attribute that practically guarantees that someone will be a great worker? The fact is we can. But when looking for good workers to hire, most companies grope around looking for undefined predictors when there is one principal quality that constitutes a “good-worker gene.” That quality is personal honesty.
Personal honesty transmits workplace traits that extend beyond simply “saying what you mean.” It conveys reliability, trust, conscientiousness, compatibility, and more. Honesty among workers allows management to focus their attention on planning, productivity, and profitability instead of on absenteeism, low morale, and theft.
What exactly is honesty? Let’s use the definition provided by Bill McConnell in his book, Hire Honesty.
“Honesty is a person’s deliberate effort to say, act on, and accept things as they are known or are perceived to be.”
Even with this definition in hand, judgement is still needed to determine if a person is honest, because honesty has fuzzy edges. Dishonesty, however, is often easily recognized and dramatically felt. To defend the workplace from dishonesty, employers must simply recognize it, isolate it, and reject it.
McConnell puts it this way, “The worst that can be said about an honest employee is that he or she did not perform well and needs better training. The best that can be said about a dishonest employee is that he or she has not been caught cheating yet.”
Do your workers have good-worker genes? If they are honest, they do. Great workers are honest workers.