It’s no secret that when you have the best, you get the best results. And while most companies understand this, there are several common mistakes they make when trying to attract high performers to their companies or teams—mistakes that waste their time and money and lower their chances of success. In this article, we’ll look at these mistakes and how to avoid them so you can attract high performers and start getting the results you want immediately.
What is Talent Management?
Talent management is a term thrown around a lot when you talk about high performers. Talent management isn’t just about recruiting top talent; it also encompasses your organization’s ability to retain top performers and keep them engaged in their work. With employee turnover costing U.S. businesses approximately $30 billion per year, no one can afford not to have a strong talent management program in place.
What are High Performers? While there’s no single definition for what constitutes a high performer, there are some common traits among those who consistently achieve success. Here are some key characteristics of high performers:
- They take the initiative and think critically.
- They embrace change.
- They have an entrepreneurial spirit.
- They strive for continuous improvement.
- They think strategically and focus on results.
How to Identify Top Talent in Your Organization: One way to identify top talent is by asking your employees. You can do so by using employee surveys or performance evaluations. Another option is to look at employee retention rates; organizations with higher retention rates may be retaining their best employees. But don’t let low turnover rates fool you—it could mean that your organization isn’t attracting top talent in the first place!
Why Manage Talent?
Managers may not be in control of pay or performance, but they are responsible for a lot. In today’s workplace, managers need to manage soft skills like how employees work together and with customers. Employees who have high levels of emotional intelligence (EQ) and good interpersonal skills perform well at work and are more productive, which means higher profits for you. So it makes sense for business owners to do what they can to attract people with these qualities because talented workers will benefit their organizations in multiple ways—not just by getting more done but also by helping other employees develop.
Managing Talent Programs Effectively
You’re already ahead of most companies if you have an all-stars program in place. But if your organization doesn’t have a formal process for recruiting high performers, here are some basic steps you can take to start one. You might also consider hiring a consultant or executive search firm that specializes in recruiting high performers. These outside resources should be able to help you formulate a plan, create necessary documentation and manage employee talent programs effectively. Below are some tips for setting up an all-stars program in your company.
How do you define a high performer? Defining who will make it into your top talent pool is one of the first steps you need to take when creating an all-stars program. As we mentioned earlier, there are no hard rules for defining high performance—that depends on what makes sense for your organization. But think about what metrics matter most at your company, and then design a system that measures them well. This may mean designing individualized performance plans based on departmental goals or developing standardized metrics based on key areas like sales volume, customer retention rates, or efficiency ratings.
Once you’ve decided which factors matter most, come up with clear definitions for each so everyone is on board with how these will be measured throughout their career at your company. The more specific you get, the better. For example, rather than defining high performers as those who bring in $1 million in revenue per year, decide instead that they must reach $500K in annual revenue by their third year working for your company. Be sure to factor any additional criteria into your definition of a high performer (e.g., whether they meet certain sales quotas by a certain date).
Allocating Budget: When deciding how much money to allocate toward an all-stars program, keep two things in mind: First, don’t skimp on funding just because you’re not paying out big bonuses; second, don’t spend so much money that it’s impossible to justify cutting costs elsewhere (like reducing headcount) if times get tough. A good rule of thumb is to budget 1% to 2% of payroll for your all-stars program. While that may seem like a lot, it’s really only pennies per dollar earned by employees once you account for taxes and benefits. And remember: It’s far cheaper to retain great employees than it is to hire new ones.
Managing Talent Teams
A Talent Team’s #1 Job Is Learning About Candidates: If you’re managing a talent team—HR, training, or recruiting—what is your top priority? Is it hiring new people as quickly as possible? Or ensuring that your team is up to date on talent best practices and recruiting tools? Nope. A talent team’s number one job should be learning about its candidates. We don’t know what makes a candidate perform well for your company. Do they like hands-on coaching? Do they need a lot of structure? Do they thrive in an open office environment or prefer more privacy? Do they want regular feedback from their manager, or are they fine with being left alone until performance reviews roll around every six months? And even if we did know what made someone successful at your company, why would we assume those same qualities would make them successful at another organization? That’s why talent teams must spend time getting to know their candidates.
Building and Managing Talent Networks
A company’s talent network is its most valuable asset. In order to get value from your talent network, you must build it and then nurture it. Of course, these are all easier said than done. You need a plan that clearly defines how you will recruit new people, retain them and continually build on your talent base. Start by assessing where you’re at in terms of your current talent pool and pinpoint what gaps exist between what you have and what you need.
Once you’ve identified those needs, take steps to fill those gaps with high performers who fit into your culture. It’s important to note that not everyone is going to be a good fit for your company, so don’t feel like you have to hire every person who applies. Instead, find candidates who demonstrate an interest in working for your business and can make meaningful contributions right away. This approach will help you attract top talent while also maintaining employee morale and productivity levels.
High performers don’t simply look at job descriptions and decide, this seems fun; I think I’ll apply. Instead, they must first find a perfect match between their personality and values and what your company stands for. The hiring process should be a two-way street where both sides have input.