Developing and Retaining Best Performers

This article by Emphasys CEO Mike Byrne originally appeared on the Emphasys Software corporate website.

Let’s face it- no one wants to be surrounded by people who don’t know what they’re doing. While these situations are clearly unpopular, many people are accustomed to being surrounded by average performers in the workplace, producing just as disappointing results.

In knowledge intensive industries, groups of the Best Performers (defined as the top 10% of the candidates from a specific position and compensation level) often produce a high multiple of the output from a team of Good Performers.

Recruiting, developing and retaining Best Performers are the best things you can aggressively drive in your company.

There are only two ways to ensure an organization is filled with the Best Performers:

  1. Only let the Best Performers hire those with the potential to also be the Best.
  2. Continuously focus on improving your existing people and positioning them to be the Best in the role they are in. The system should allow the Best Performers to progress and others to be placed into positions where they can become the Best soon.

Average performers tend to like below average people around them, good performers accept average people around them, but the Best Performers only want other “Best Performers” around them. When you want to retain Best Performers, you have to make sure that only the Best Performance surrounds them. [bctt tweet=”When you want to retain Best Performers, you have to make sure that only the Best Performance surrounds them. “]

When you apply this to a team concept, the talents of the team compound against each other. Great teams are exponentially better than a collection of average players as every variable within a team is an opportunity for great work.

In order for the Best Performers to want to stay in your company, make sure they work with other great people. To reinforce this concept, at Emphasys, we believe in providing and receiving constant feedback, as well as creating an environment where people have the opportunity for growth. These components are not easy to put and keep in place; while they are critical in raising your own performance bar each year, the challenge of ongoing business demands can quickly pull you off focus.

Even with the organization focused on the development of their people, individual growth is truly up to the person. An organization cannot drive a person to read a book or put him/herself in an uncomfortable learning situation. They can only provide the opportunity and see how that person develops.

The Best Performers are not happy with what they currently know. Instead of being satisfied with the same level of performance, they are constantly hungry for knowledge growth- learning and pushing him/herself on becoming better than they already are.

Companies should in turn provide an attractive development environment for The Best Performers, just as these team members should be able to identify and set a path for their own career development.

What particulars do you use to identify The Best Performers?

– Mike

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