There’s only one reason your business thrives and grows – your people. Some might have unique knowledge or experiences that sets them apart from their peers, while others might have a particular set of skills that makes them irreplaceable. They will look a little different from one organization to the next, but all high performers will have these three things in common.
This is perhaps the most obvious of the three; high performers will do their job really well. They’re ambitious and will regularly meet or exceed their numbers, whether it’s new sales, cutting costs out of a process, or adding new people to the team. Strong performance doesn’t necessarily mean someone is well-suited to lead others in your organization, but it does help them establish credibility if they understand what it takes to be successful in a given role or function. Knowing how to identify and recruit these people will help you spread the values and initiatives of your organization in a really authentic way.
A true high performer will take their development very seriously. During your development planning process, your best people will be intentional about creating focused goals, and seek the training or coaching they need to achieve them. You can identify them as the people who seek feedback and advice about their strengths and opportunities from their peers and mentors within your organization. Knowing who these people are will help you gauge a team member’s true commitment to the mission and values of your organization.
High performers have earned the trust of their colleagues. This can be the most difficult of the three to spot in your people, but don’t underestimate its power. While performance and development can be measured with metrics and plans, it’s hard to measure trustworthiness without first-hand knowledge. It takes getting out with your people – spending time with them and talking to them – to know who their friends at work are, and who they go to for help or with questions. If you do this, odds are you’ll come up with a solid list of trusted resources within your team.
After you identify your top high performers, how do you make sure they don’t leave?
The answer is simple. Give them personalized recognition for their hard work and achievements. Take note of the recognition the respond best to and do that (we do this by checking their uMap™)! This could be as simple as a thank you note, an extra vacation day, or even a raise or bonus. If you don’t know, ask!
Invest in bringing their goals to life. Connect them with a coach, or send them to a conference or training they’re interested in. If there’s a growth opportunity with a different team or function in your organization, help them get there. Better to lose your best people to another group in your organization than to the competition.
Finally, recognize your trusted resources with gratitude. These people help create a safe and innovative work environment that keep their other team members happy and engaged. Maybe you promote them, or give them additional responsibilities (or take some old ones away), or maybe they’re content in the role they’re in. But you need to honor them for who they are as individuals and the tremendous contribution they make to your organization.
If you focus on nurturing your high performers – those who are exceptional in their role, develop themselves, and are trusted by others – you’ll find that they will in turn help create a culture full of high-performers that will continue to spread throughout your organization.