How attracting high performers changes the game (2-10X performance increases!)

By now it should be obvious… attracting top performers can make a big difference in your business.

But how we view what they look like is shifting, as well as defining exactly what a high performing organisation is.

My “A-ha” moment for understanding this paradigm change came after having the privilege of spending time with Marc Randolph (founder and former CEO of Netflix) where he shared the Netflix Culture Model and high performance principals.

Traditionally, you may be aware of models that follow the rule of:

  • Top talent or high performers fill out the top 20%
  • The next 70% of staff rate as “OK, competent or pretty good”
  • Bottom 10% of workforce is constantly either trying to move up or out

But if we really want to build high performing teams, then why do we accept that 80% of our organisation may not be high performing? 

What is high performance in your business?

If you really want to have a high performing team, then that means every player needs to be high performing.

If that’s the case, then you need to look at what that means in your particular situation.

What’s the difference between your top performer and your lowest performer? And why? 

Obviously this depends on your particular business or industry, but to help highlight the point…

For sales based roles, you can certainly see the difference between a high performer and low performer in relation to their average transaction value or total number of sales or speed to convert.

So to start with:

  • Identify what high performance looks like in your business areas
  • Then cost, what is the difference between high and low performance and how much is it costing your organisation

What are key differences between and high and low performers? 

Certainly job specific skills and hard skills make a difference to high vs low performance.

However when we ask companies to list reasons why someone is a high performer vs low performer below are some areas that come up…

Notice that a lot of the list are soft skills or behavioural traits:

Examples include:

  • Passionate about the product and helping others
  • Have a high degree of personal motivation
  • High degree of customer empathy and understanding
  • Effective communication skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Task management (ie how they prioritise tasks)
  • Goal setting process
  • Work ethic
  • Teamwork
  • Flexibility

Another major difference is knowing how to manage their time effectively. 

For instance, at one news agency, we found that the lowest performer took three hours to complete a task that everyone else could complete in 30 minutes.

Being able to see the difference in time, three hours vs. 30 minutes, gives you a clear understanding of what the cost difference is between a high and low performer in your company (and also allows you to ask the question why there is a time difference and what processes / set up are different between the two results). 

Top performers also tend to understand best practices and adopt systems quickly that increase their productivity.

Check your company: Who is able to leverage technology tools and systems quickly to help do the work faster?

High performers typically carry these characteristics:

  1. Behavioural traits that help them perform well
  2. Habits and routines that increase performance
  3. Can easily adopt technology tools to improve work flow

How do you recruit this high performer?

Once you know what high performance looks like in your business, then you’ll be able to articulate that clearly in your recruitment process.

Rather than just looking for a ‘salesperson’ for example who’s got industry chops and knows the clients…

You’re looking for someone who achieves their work in the same way as your high performance list, who understands how to use certain platforms or systems and schedules / prioritises their time in a certain way.

Understanding what it is you need a high performer to do helps you write the ad and approach the interview process to attract and distinguish the best candidates.

Typically high performers aren’t just going to be waiting around, but rather you’ll have to go “outside the box” when you look at recruiting these people.

Let us help you help you 

We work with our clients to stay ahead of the game.

How would you like to be in control of your team and recruitment needs?

Nothing’s worse than feeling under pressure and feeling like you need to make recruitment decisions quickly. And, of course, the need always falls during a time when you don’t have the time you’d like to devote to recruitment.

Obviously, when there’s a vacancy that comes up, we’re there to support you too. But we don’t just take a position description and throw an ad up on a job board.

We want to find the best people for their business. We ask questions like:

  • What is high performance for the organisation?
  • What is the culture of the business?
  • Who will work and who won’t for this particular role?
  • What is the important criteria for success for this position?

The answers help inform us as we search for the person and determine the best way to find the people.

We look for ways to be creative in terms of where we might hunt for candidates and the process we take through the different elements of the recruitment.