As the country’s top employers, small businesses are in the perfect position to not only hire, but aspire when it comes to taking on new employees.

According to the Small Business Administration, SMBs have consistently provided 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s. Being so small in size and at the same time so packed with hiring potential makes small business owners uniquely able to identify and promote raw talent and superior work ethic.

Lendistry is in the business of helping small businesses grow, but it’s also a small business itself. When a friend of Lendistry’s CEO, Everett K. Sands, advised Jazmin Luna to apply for an analyst position at Lendistry, she wasn’t confident the job was right for her. Luna was working at a golf course in Fullerton at the time: “I turned it down multiple times since I didn’t have any industry experience.” But when she found out Lendistry provides training and helps its team members evolve, she decided to apply, even though she never saw herself in the finance industry.

“I decided this was the great opportunity that I had been waiting for,” says Luna who has been thriving as a Lendistry analyst since 2015.

“Having people around you who are willing to train you and mentor you is everything. Everett has been a great role model. He saw something in me that I didn’t, and he knew I’d strive to learn and be successful.”

While skills can be taught and talent can be acquired, some of the most valuable qualities are innate. Character. Integrity. Positivity. Coachability. Each of these qualities, paired with a solid work ethic, adds up to a rare diamond.

Executive leadership coach and founder of Coachwell, Inc., Greg Salciccioli, says that while experience is overrated, work ethic is timeless, defining that work ethic “…isn’t just about putting in the hours, but seeing the full picture of what hard work really means: being on time, prepared, coachable, positive and passionate for the valuable work you do.”

A person with stellar work ethic isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty or go beyond their job description, and jumps at an opportunity to better themselves. They also raise the bar for the whole team with their can-do attitudes.

The next great asset to your team may be working at a local restaurant, bookstore, or grocery store right now. Because they have less experience and formal education, they never realized they could do more or climb the ladder faster.

Enter: you.

How do you identify employees with work ethic?

  • In the hiring process, don’t just ask references if potential hires have “a good work ethic”. Instead, break it down into more refined questions. Ask if they are on-time consistently, if they arrive ready to work, are positive, learn new things quickly, and have a proactive attitude. Ask for specific examples.
  • Pay attention to the people at work in the world around you. When you go out to eat, shop, or use any service, you may discover someone whose potential is being wasted. Give them your card and tell them to call you about a job. If they truly have work ethic, they’ll call.
  • Give people who are already on your team the opportunity to better themselves and gain new skills. Those who leap at the chance, do well and are ready for more should be given more responsibilities and be next in line for promotion.

Lendistry analyst, Jazmin Luna, takes work ethic and integrity seriously, “They play a big role in the workplace because you learn to value your peers and work together to achieve goals. Integrity for me is everything when it comes to both my coworkers and my clients. I am able to have trusting relationships, and my clients know I am here to help them and walk them through the process.”

Some small businesses make things you can hold in your hand, but all of them have the ability to manufacture something that, though it’s intangible, makes an impact on present and future generations: opportunity.