I’ve never worked with an organization that said they didn’t care about performance. Quite the contrary, I’ve always worked with organizations that cared about performance. A lot. Specifically, they wanted high-performance. In individuals and in teams.
But what does it take to identify a high performing (HiPo) employee? And once you’ve identified them, how can managers continue to develop their skills and abilities? HiPo employees have some habits that set them apart.
- They have their own system. Whether it’s a morning routine, a mindfulness ritual, a bullet journal, etc., HiPo employees have their own way of staying grounded and organized. It helps them stay focused on what’s important, so they can perform.
- They listen to others – for feedback, suggestions, and proven strategies. High performing employees take-in information. It could be about their performance. Or a speaker during a conference with a tip or resource. Possibly a co-worker explaining a strategy that worked for them.
- They hold themselves accountable. Always focused on quality, HiPo employees keep their word. If for whatever reason, they cannot deliver, then they renegotiate the deliverable. People who work with high-performers know exactly what to expect.
- They are focused on the positive. This isn’t to say that everything around them is always positive. But when given a choice between celebration or cynicism, they find a way to look on the bright side. This outlook helps HiPo employees stay engaged with their work.
- They will accept a challenge. And often don’t need to be told. High performing employees are willing to take on tough tasks. They are ready to solve problems. Many times, they are the employees bringing you the problem and the solution.
- They set their own goals. Along with stretch goals. HiPo employees have goals. Not only the goals that the company sets for them. They have their own goals. In addition, high-performers set stretch goals. Maybe to finish the project early or under budget. They look for opportunities to exceed expectations.
- They learn from their mistakes. Speaking of accomplishments, HiPo employees don’t always achieve their goals. But they do use those moments to reflect and learn from the situation. They don’t view the moment as failure. It’s an opportunity (see Habit #4.)
- They know how to manage their time. This ties into Habit #1. HiPo employees are able to perform at their level because they understand their personal working style and how to get things done. This includes saying “no” at times so they don’t disappoint. Or negotiating commitments and setting clear expectations.
- They’re committed to their own personal development. High-performers are not complacent when it comes to new skills. HiPo employees learn something every single day. It doesn’t need to be a breakthrough discovery. They understand that learning takes place in small iterations.
- They’re highly engaged and willing to commit to the organization. Several of these habits point to an individual who is happily engaged with their work and the company around them. They perform at a high level because the organization is invested in their success. HiPo employees build a working relationship based on trust and respect.
While it’s important to keep the entire workforce engaged, it’s particularly important to keep high performing employees engaged. High performing employees are often selected for the company’s succession plan. Research from CEB shows that organizations with strong leadership can double their revenue and profits. So those HiPo employees are the key to future business growth.
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Does your management team know how to recognize the habits of a HiPo employee? What should they be looking for?
Image taken by Sharlyn Lauby on the streets of South Florida