The following article was originally posted in June of 2015 discussing high performing employees. Since then, it has recently been updated with new stats and information as of January 2017. Want more information on HiPo employees and their performance? Take a look at these related articles:
- What You Can Do to Attract HiPo Candidates
- Quality of Hire: So Much More Than a Metric
- Don't Let Stranger Things Happen to Your Hiring Process
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn’t want a high performer, as long as they were amicable and weren’t too high maintenance. But what defines a HiPo? What makes them work better than everyone else? How can you keep these high performers from leaving and make sure their performance qualities infect the whole company?
Defining High Performers
Brendon Burchard (@BrendonBurchard) is a best-selling author who’s extensively covered the topic of HiPos. He defines high performance as "succeeding above and beyond standard norms over the long-term.” So what makes some people perform better than others? Burchard offers five traits that differentiate HiPos from everyone else:
- Clarity: They know what they want and can work with others to get it.
- Energy: HiPos are constantly motivated to improve themselves, and others feed off their energy.
- Courage: Taking risks is a natural part of their rhythms, and they’re not afraid of facing difficult challenges.
- Productivity: They produce more work in shorter time.
- Influence: HiPos can talk to other people in a way that makes people like them, leading to better networking skills.
All of these factors combine to produce employees who are more focused, find new opportunities, and just work faster.
The Results of a High Performer
HiPos give your organization more bang for its buck. When you happen to find a HiPo, you’re essentially getting a two-for-one deal on employees, since they’re twice as productive as other employees. They’re also 11 times more likely to be promoted to senior positions, filling the higher-up positions that executives desperately need. They’re making your organization a better place to work, and they’re increasing your margins.
2016 Stat: HiPo employees are 91% more valuable than non-HiPos, according to a study by CEB.
Of course, if every employee were a HiPo, none of them would be (since they’d just be average performers). They’re increasingly rare in the working world, with one-fifth of workers at the average company qualifying as high performers, so when you realize you have one of them, you need to make every effort to keep them around. Keep them by challenging them often, praising them when they exceed expectations and not pigeonholing them into management too quickly.
Maximizing Your High Performers
One of the biggest reasons HiPos outperform their lower-performing peers is because they take initiative. If they don’t know how to do something, they seek out ways to learn. They’ll look at online resources, and figure out how to do something. Or, if it would be quicker, they’ll just ask. Like most other employees, HiPos don’t like to be micromanaged, since it makes them seem less competent at their job. Instead, they want to be left to grow into the best version of their working selves on their own time.
That last part can’t be understated. High performers want to learn and grow, so that they can fulfill their own desires at work, which ends up being better for employers as well. Unfortunately, two-thirds of HiPos say their bosses don’t support their initiatives to better themselves through courses and training programs. To the employees that are giving you your highest productivity, learning new things comes hand in hand with being able to open new paths to produce innovation.
Want to know the fastest way to scare off high performing employees?
By not paying for their learning initiatives, you’re denying them (and the company), the ability to grow. This stifles them and prevents them from giving you their all. Eventually, they’ll become frustrated and could leave for a company that’s willing to foster their growth, losing their potential income and forcing you to spend money looking for a replacement.
But once you find which of your workers are HiPos by monitoring their output, know what they can do for your business, and help them be their most productive self, you’ll find that they’re one of the best investments you can make.
As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent thousands of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.