Identifying and hiring great employees is a key challenge for many organizations. But even when companies are able to do this, they face a more important challenge – ensuring that strong employees reach their full potential. Top performers are the employees that will carry a company for- ward. Training and mentoring efforts – often used as remedial measures for sub- standard performers – must also focus on the best performers.
Strong performers want to do their jobs well. They are motivated to achieve for personal as well as work-related reasons. Helping them to define job goals and providing them with the tools needed to achieve these goals will bring out their best. Generally, the most important factor in this process is competent management. Good managers are results-focused while being guided by overall business strategies. Further, they communicate a comprehensive picture of the required performance, help employees develop tactics for achieving results, and tie these results to achievement of the company’s strategic goals.
Top performers want to be challenged.
The surest way to lose your best performers is to kill their enthusiasm with effortless or seemingly less-than-important jobs. Re- structure jobs to better fit these employees’ skills and aptitudes. Provide a clear career ladder for those interested in making the climb. Top performers may be overlooked simply because they require so little maintenance. Smart companies ensure not only that top performers are well placed, but that they are suitably recognized and compensated for their contributions.
Top performers want to feel connected to the larger enterprise. Regular and focused feedback between managers and strong performers will further the development and execution of actions plans. This will lead to improved processes and greater employee engagement. Top performers are motivated by seeing the link between their contributions and the company’s vision.
To tie all of these efforts together, invest in a performance management system that is well-integrated with the company’s overarching goals. Developing well- specified and measurable job responsibili- ties that are clearly linked to strategic goals provides a natural opportunity for strong performers and their managers to become engaged in development.
An investment in employee development and performance management resources – or merely better use of existing resources – will build an organizational environment capable of attracting, developing, and retaining top performers.
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