Issue: July/August 2013
Smooth out your company’s ups and downs by committing to a workplace that admits only top performers.
I am inviting you on a journey.
It’s a trip many organizations talk about, yet sadly too many are still not interested in undertaking.
Here is what you need to pack: unwavering commitment, an open mind and courage. Please leave traditional management thinking, policies and practices behind. They will weigh you down and prevent you from reaching the destination.
Whether you can make a successful trip depends upon your answer to the following question: Is your organization committed to attracting and retaining only top performers?
Think of the answer to this question as your organizational Sherpa — your guide to business success. There is no right or wrong answer to the question. The key is to answer the question and communicate it to your entire staff.
So if you are truly committed to only hiring and keeping good people, make sure everyone knows it. Likewise, if you are not, make sure all your employees know it — at least it will confirm what they see around your company.
So, for the sake of making a few points, I’ll assume you are truly committed to top performers populating your company. If you are, here are some items that will support a successful journey to establishing and maintaining a great workplace for great people.
Define them. Start with defining what characterizes top performers at your organization and in your various business units and support teams. You cannot begin to attract and hire these people unless you know what you are seeking. This is a great management exercise. At your next team meeting, ask your leadership to define top performer characteristics in your business. I think the answers will be interesting and may even surprise you.
Trust. This is critical to ensuring a successful journey. In order to thrive, your employees need to trust those at their workplace. It’s easy to do with workplace
Compensation and benefits. Top performers expect great pay and benefits. These are the free agents in business. They know it and expect to be well compensated for what they bring to the table. If you are not committed to paying great people great pay, your trip is over.
Skinny handbook. The general rule is that top performers dislike traditional employment practices and policies, especially archaic programs such as “use it or lose it” vacation, bereavement leave, probationary periods and sick-time policies.
Family first. Ironically, top performers at work prioritize their family over their jobs. That is a big part of what makes them terrific.
Performance vs. time. When you let top performers know what you expect relative to their job production, get out of the way and let them do their thing. It’s all about measuring job performance — not time — for top performers. If your organization believes that hours worked measure employee loyalty or work performance, you are wasting your time on this trip.
Recruitment and selection. Organize your recruitment and selection strategy around attracting top people and increasing the probability they will come to work at your business.
This approach goes way beyond traditional hiring approaches and encourages creative ways to get top performers’ attention. From social media to employee referrals to targeted networking, today’s savvy workplaces are designing recruiting and selection plans that bypass average performers and raise the collective eyebrow of those people who can come into the business and make a big difference. It’s all about a positive workplace brand that creates a following among the best in the
Just like me. Top performers want to work with other top performers. The greater your top performer population, the greater the chance you can attract and keep other top performers.
If you believe that most of your organization’s success and growth can be attributed to your best people, then this trip is for you. Make the journey to develop and enhance your workplace for top performers. It’s worth the time and extra effort, and your employees and business will benefit in production and in workplace culture.
Great workplaces also recognize that the journey to a great workplace for top people never ends. Top performers strive for continuous process improvement and are not content with the status quo. That is a good thing, if you have a business and leadership that feel the same way.
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