Any business owner or team manager knows that in addition to attracting the best talent, you must cultivate and maintain the skills of your top performers. While all members of the workforce are essential, those who are engaged and dedicated tend to be the ones most likely to stay with the company in the long run (provided they are treated properly by their employer).
Of course, it’s not always easy to recognize top performers. There are instances during both recruiting and managing when it’s not exactly clear which employees stand out.
Whether you’re hiring new employees or simply striving to ensure your current employees are allowed to realize their full potential, the following tips will help you to determine who brings the most value to your team.
(Side note: It’s also important to understand that employees who aren’t performing above and beyond your expectations may be capable of doing so. It’s not uncommon for potential A players to deliver less than their best due to a lack of engagement.)
Being a Team Player is Key
Obviously, a talented employee will stand out in the crowd. That doesn’t mean they are necessarily the strongest performer at your organization. In order for a business to succeed, it’s important that all team members work together effectively.
Of course, you should recognize when an employee demonstrates skill, expertise, and dedication, but if they are so obsessed with their own abilities that they fail to understand the value of working with others, they won’t deliver as much value to your company as they could.
Strong Employees Want More Opportunities
A top performer will likely finish their assignments on time and strive to do their best work whenever possible. Those who truly shine, though, often seek out more work and opportunities. They are ambitious people who want to continue developing their own skills.
Therefore, not only should you provide these employees with additional responsibilities when they seem willing and able to take them on, but you should also make sure these team members are provided with growth opportunities.
To start, you could offer optional training sessions. Provide them with educational resources. Let them know about upcoming seminars relevant to their work. Quite simply, if an ambitious employee doesn’t get frequent chances to develop and grow, they may eventually seek employment elsewhere. Being stuck in a role where they perform the same tasks day after day for years isn’t going to appeal to them.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that, while such ambitious performers may be proud of their accomplishments, they’re rarely content to rest on their laurels. A minor lack of satisfaction in their own growth and abilities isn’t necessarily a bad sign. It might simply indicate they consider constant growth to be essential.
Top Performers Look for Solutions
It doesn’t matter what type of organization you run—there will be times when your employees face challenges.
This may come in many forms. Maybe a client isn’t satisfied with the quality of the work an employee has delivered. Perhaps another coworker or manager isn’t willing to work with the employee in a productive manner. Maybe, despite being generally skilled and talented, your employee is struggling to develop a particular skill necessary to take on new responsibilities.
This can and will happen. While the pressure and frustration can get in the way of some employees’ productivity, top performers will actively seek out ways to solve the problem.
That’s not to say they’ll always be immediately successful in their efforts to do so. Sometimes navigating these challenges can be more difficult than expected. Despite these difficulties, your strongest employees will look for ways to address these issues.
They understand that allowing these types of challenges to hinder their work is contrary to their personal values.
Your Best Employees Want More Feedback
Strong employees don’t just assume they’re living up to your expectations. They want honest feedback to determine where they need to make improvements. Of course, they also want recognition for their accomplishments, but they aren’t the type to need constant praise. Instead, they actively pursue feedback to continue growing and learning.