Attracting and retaining top talent is one of the main issues that leaders face nowadays. It is also the most exponential factor in companies' increased performance and revenue growth.
This article will discuss high-level strategies to effectively recruit, keep, and engage high-performing employees to align your company's mission with their professional growth.
What are the benefits of a high-performing team?
Beyond the obvious, according to studies from Personnel, Psychology Star Performers in 21st Century Organizations investing in the top talent and potential will significantly increase an organization's return and performance. Let's get a sense of the performance levels of top talent compared to average employees in different industries:
In manufacturing jobs, top employees outperform average employees by 50%.
In sales management, high-performing employees exceed 85-100%.
For complex leadership positions, top talent has more than double performance levels.
But that's not all. Top talent employees are known to be powerful "force multipliers" inside their teams. When you incorporate these individuals into a group, you are 5-15% closer to creating a high-performing team.
How to identify high-performing employees
What are the critical indicators of employees with great potential? Or better yet, why don't we first take the time to answer the question: "potential for what"? Once you answer these two questions, you’ll get a closer look at the characteristics that will help top performers and future leaders thrive in your company.
Instead of opting for superlatives or positive adjectives to paint the picture of your ideal candidate, look for indicators of great potential. According to human resource specialists, these are ability, social skills, and drive. Here’s how to identify these complex characteristics in potential candidates and current employees:
1. They can take on current and future challenges
High-performing individuals don't just do their job. They own the problem from start to finish to get the proper resolution, even if this means changing current processes that don't work and learning new skills and knowledge on their way there.
To get a feel of their ability, you can ask them to do a work sample test that pertains to the tasks that make up the job. To predict the leadership potential of your current employee, motivate them to participate in more complex strategies to detect cognitive ability and imagination to solve unprecedented issues.
2. They have excellent social skills
Potential leaders count on excellent self-management skills and the potential to build and maintain cooperative working relationships with their team. These two factors are indicators of high emotional intelligence.
Engagement and social skills can be assessed through psychometric tests and strengthened with training and development.
3. Top performers are driven and aspire to progress
What would talent, ability, and social key be without will? Driven individuals root on their team members to get the job done and work hard to exceed their individual goals. When companies identify these leaders, they should work on a strategy to encourage them to take on more projects, challenging problems, and broader exposure to their business.
How to Attract Top Talent Employees?
These are some practical steps you can include in your human resource strategy to attract top talent and high-performing employees into your company:
1. Include high performers in the interview process
Suppose you already count on high-performing employees that constantly demonstrate their drive, ability, and social skills in their area. Why not include them in the interview if this is their area of expertise? These employees have enough emotional intelligence to catch subtle cues on best-suited candidates and notice the unseen potential.
2. Offer an incentive and a referral program to current employees.
Instead of simply relying on social media and job searching sites, why not use your company's built-in chain of connections?
Encourage your employees to refer new talent. Invest in a solid referral program that rewards employees with extra cash, vacation days, or other perks. You can also give out recruitment cards with your company's information. Then, whenever employees spot a suitable candidate in their free time, they'll have your information handy and give away your card.
3. Highlight employee perks in the interview process
Don’t just test your candidate’s potential to fit in your company. Tell them how your company can supply to suit their needs too. According to a recent Career Builder Survey, 75% of employees stated that beyond salary, perks are the most important factors to consider when applying for a job.
Highlight your conventional benefits such as health insurance, PTO (paid days off), or an excellent salary- but most importantly, incorporate additional meaningful perks. These can be:
Mental health days off.
Discounts at a gym.
These benefits will not only help in the recruitment process. They'll also help keep employees happy and motivated, retaining top talent long-term.
Retaining High-Performing Employees
You’ve already convinced great talent to join the adventure of growing and collaborating within your company. Now, how do you manage to retain and create a solid strategy to make sure they stay with you? Here is some valuable advice you can start applying in your own means:
1. Align your company culture with your employee's values
The Baby Boomer generation prioritized job security and decent compensation in the past. But times change. The millennial generation now prioritizes how work brings meaning into their life. As a result, top-performing employees often ask themselves: Is my employer invested in the same things I value and believe in? To retain top talent, you should align your company values with Employee Value Propositions (EVPs). EVPs are the compensations that employees receive in return for their performance.
Here's how to retain top talent:
Conduct an internal survey to detect your employees' current aspirations and motivations and EVPs.
Based on the results, update your talent strategy to connect with the employee experience and evaluate the role your employees have in helping your company achieve a greater good.
2. Provide opportunities
According to recent findings by the Society for Human Resource Management 58% of employees think their company doesn't provide enough opportunities to incorporate new skills to help them move up in their careers. Not only that, if offered, 73% of employees would agree to take classes or workshops outside work hours.
When top-performing employees can't quench their thirst for new skills and knowledge, they leave. Here are some steps you can do to prevent that from happening:
Organize regular meetings to review work, offer feedback and talk about goals.
Support them in their search for a new career path and offer them promotions within your company.
Offer online courses, conferences, and networking events.
3. Show your employees you value them
When top performers feel like their work is taken for granted or not valued, their performance levels decrease or sometimes decide to give up.
Reward your top-performing employees for giving it their all. It doesn't have to leave your budget at cero. It can be a special "congratulations" dinner or a gift card. It could also be public recognition where you show their work to the executive team.
Ask them if you're unsure what kind of reward will be most meaningful for your employees. Make positive feedback and celebrating accomplishments part of your routine.
4.Take care of their mental health to avoid burnout
A lot of top performers are prone to burnout. Why? There's not a one-fits-all answer. Some genuinely feel passionate about their work and don't take time to rest, others have trouble delegating, and some are not so great at setting boundaries.
Burnout is the main culprit for decreased performance levels, anxiety, and even depression. Take care of your top performers by creating a conscience about work and life balance, motivating them to participate in activities outside of work, and promoting excellent mental health practices.
For other great initiatives to take care of your employees read: How to take care of your employee's mental health.