It’s about the pond as well as the fish – How to attract high-performers to your business

Let’s start by dispelling a myth. Attracting high-performers is not about offering a high salary. Certainly, some people work purely for the wage at the end of the month and will be prepared to switch jobs for a small increase in their pay. There is nothing wrong with this; it does not mean they are bad employees or that they are disloyal. It means that their motivation is simply to gather as much income as possible in return for their working hours.

Money is not high on their list.

There are also a group of employees who simply wish to arrive, work at their job and then go home on time. Again, this is often because they have other motivations in their lives than a high-powered career. When we talk about the high-performers though we tend not to think of them as being in these two groups. Rather, we profile the kind of employee we are discussing here as being loyal, driven, career-focused and able to give more than the minimum expectation for the role. Money is not high on their list.

If you want to employ someone who will offer the traits and working practices you need for a role, then your offer must match their motivations. A high performing employee is unlikely to be on a salary that is below market average. In fact, the chances are that they are already well paid for their career level. Offering them enough money to buy their employment would likely mean paying well above their value. That is simply not a sensible option. Clearly, you need to be in the right salary range, but that is simply a ‘nudge’ factor, not a main attractor.

Increased job satisfaction

Increased job satisfaction is probably the most common reason good employees move to a new role. This stands to reason because they are high performing by nature; therefore they want an environment in which they can do their job well. Put yourself in their position, ask what they want from life, and you quickly come up with a list of desirable workplace conditions and benefits. If you want high-performers, then you really need to be able to tick off as many of the items on this list as possible.

•    Pleasant working conditions preferably in a unique environment

•    A challenging job role as part of a project that interests them

•    Trust in senior and line management

•    Benefits and perks of the contract that make life easier, such as flexible working

•    A ‘people first’ employer approach

•    Health care or life enhancements such as lifestyle benefits

•    Progression opportunities

•    Training further learning

•    Investment by management in the continued career development of the employee

•    A solid, fair and equitable system for evaluation performance

Perhaps top of that list though should be ‘recognition of achievement’. I remember a very good manager once telling me that that the best moment of his month was having to authorise a big bonus or commission payment, because not only had someone achieved for the business, but they were probably going to want to beat it the next month. Recognition, in this case, was a bonus payment, but it could be something as simple as a small token of appreciation. Recognition does not need to be money based, but it must meet the needs of the employee receiving it.

Make sure that you show them that the pond

If you want the big high performing fish, then you first of all need to make sure that you show them that the pond you are asking them to swim in matches their motivations. Attracting high performing employees is often about giving them a place to shine because after all, that is what they are good at.

Finally, you need to be able to reach out with the right message and proactively find the people you want in your organisation. Not only do you need to get the message right, you then need to have the resources, experience and time to make things happen. That is where we are high performers. As always, we are happy to help so, please feel free to get in touch with us today for a discussion about finding the right people for your team!

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17May2019