Every human being has the potential to be a high performer if they are in the right position. It takes the right behaviors, values, and attributes to be a high performer in a particular job. Unfortunately, too few people do not become high performers because they do not have the either the behaviors, values, attributes, or a combination of the three for their current position.
High performers are critical to an organization in terms of profit and productivity. The "War for Talent" study highlights how much impact a high performer can have on an organization's profits and productivity:
According to the study, high performers in operations roles are able to increase productivity by 40 percent, high performers in management roles increase profits by 49 percent, and in sales positions high performers are responsible for 67 percent greater revenue. (Oracle, 2012)
Identifying and hiring a candidate who is a potential high performer is just the first step to increasing profits and productivity. You must also keep high performers engaged and challenged. Unfortunately, we often see the work environment reduce or destroy the potential of high performers and sometimes cause high performers to leave for greener pastures.
Following are five ways to maximize high performers:Birds of a feather should flock together.
High performers naturally want to perform well. High performers have high standards and will naturally push fellow high performers to perform at an even higher level. If there are low performers “sprinkled in” the team, high performers may potentially become “ruined” by having the bar set lower than their potential.Have high performers work with a high performing manager who "gets it".
A high performing manager who “gets it” knows how to inspire and motivate as needed to get the job done well. A high performing manager who “gets it” hires the best possible talent, sets expectations, and holds the high performing employee team member accountable.Never play favorites or politics.
A high performance team does not play favorites nor engage in politics because to do so “muddies the water” in terms of performance. Avoid the "golden child" syndrome by not putting high performers on a pedestal. They should be given proper credit, but they should not receive special entitlement.Set clear expectations.
High performers want to know what is expected of them. High performing managers set expectations and hold the high performing employee team members accountable. The Rainmaker 331 is an effective tool to help hold employees accountable. You can read more about it in this post.Provide consistent and specific praise.
Everyone wants to know they are doing a good job. It is especially critical to praise high performers for their good work. Being specific shows that you actually do pay attention to the task, not just the numbers. High performing managers know that praise and candor are the keys to providing the precise kind of feedback that is "fuel to the soul."
Pay for performance.
Probably the most important important way to maximize high performers is to match their performance to their pay. A recently-published CareerBuilder survey suggests employees stay primarily for pay. 70% of workers stay with a company due to increasing salaries. 88% felt that salary matters more than title. If you are not paying a higher performer adequately for their performance, someone else will. High performers know this too. They know that their time and effort will be valued elsewhere for more pay.
As the CEO / manager / leader in your company, the choice is yours. Intent counts. Doing something matters. It takes time, energy, and commitment to improve how you engage, inspire, and motivate your team members, especially high performers.