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Lori Kleiman
  October 30, 2018

HR’s Role in Identifying Top Performers and Keeping Them

Every manager has a go-to person on their team that can always get “it” done. This person may not be in a critical, client facing role, but they are your go-to person and play a large role in helping you drive the business forward. Today we are going to look at HR’s role in identifying top performers in the company and the employee management steps you can take to keep them.

Identifying top performers is one of the essential elements of the HR role and an area we cover in our HR Essentials 10-week online program (this course is perfect for those with minimal HR experience – registration now open for our next class starting on September 18th!). Employees who fit into the top talent category are not necessarily the people who have been around the longest or have key relationships with your top customers. They are the people who have the work ethic and institutional knowledge that would put your organization at a disadvantage if you lost them.

Top performers are the people you want on your team in twenty years and who you are willing to invest the time and resources in to get them where they need to be to serve the organization for the future.

Check out this quick video for tips on identifying top performers at your company.

All organizations should take steps in identifying top performers to ensure ongoing success. Because they may not necessarily be people in management today, but the team members that you are counting on to drive the business forward 20 years from today they can sometimes be difficult to identify. And while these top performers may never become management, they are still a critical component of your success. Remember, too many chiefs can be a problem – consider top talent across the organization by engaging those that will follow with precise and committed engagement.

6 Competencies Used for Identifying Top Performers

When identifying top performers, there are 6 competencies HR Topics has developed in our toolkit to help you recognize the right team members. Use each of these areas and questions to help you find your top employees.

#HRTip: Use these strategies and tips to help identify and retain the top performers in your #business!

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Talent: Are they skilled in their current function? Do they have the abilities they need to perform day in and day out?

Behavior: Do they demonstrate the ethical and cultural values that support your organizational goals? Are they an example for others and someone you are proud to be seen with your logo on their shirt?

Ambition: Is this employee interested in doing and learning more? Do they see the future you see, and show that they want to help get you where you’re going?

Performance: Is this employee able to perform among the highest members of the team? Do others see them as a co-worker who is always doing their best and exceeding expectations?

Engagement: Does this employee come in every day with a smile, ready to get to work? Do they encourage new hires and assist managers when they can?

Potential: There is a real factor in the potential some employees have. We all have those top performers that just don’t have the potential to lead or drive your organization forward. They are exceedingly critical to long-term success and they may not fit the definition of long-term top talent.

Once you identify your top performers, you need to be deliberate in how you interact with them. Start with a conversation – let them know you’ve identified them as top talent, what that means to you and ensure that they are engaged and ambitious. Ask if they are interested in inclusion in special meetings and responsibilities to grow and develop in the business.


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It is valuable to keep an eye on this group and ensure you are providing effective feedback and opportunities for advancement, connection to the mission of the organization, and support for their personal growth and development. You don’t want a situation where you spend three years grooming top talent, only to find they have gone to your competitor because they offer better health insurance. Understand what motivates your top talent and provide that for them.

One important thing to remember: don’t ignore the employees that are your hard workers you count on day in and day out but may not be a part of your top performer group. These employees need to be appreciated as well. A kind word or simple award goes a long way in telling employees you value their input.

The critical components of employee retention today are simply connecting with your employees, showing how you value their contributions and allowing them to be involved in your business in an authentic way. Create groups of top performers and then show them that you value their input and contributions. It will serve you well as an HR leader.

The post HR’s Role in Identifying Top Performers and Keeping Them appeared first on HR Topics.