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Recognizing Traits of Your Top Employees & How to Retain Them

Kristen Ruttgaizer

August 11, 2020 · 3 min read

With more companies adopting remote work as the new norm, performance management is becoming a bigger area of focus. Even with the drastic workplace changes that have occurred over the last few years, many teams and employees are still “showing up” and doing their best.

Why finding & retaining your top performers is important

A company’s most valuable asset is generally its workforce and, as an investment, how you maximize its return can make or break a business. With high turnover of your top employees comes not only monetary costs (for hiring, onboarding, and training new workers), but loss of knowledge and motivation for others.

Additionally, these top performers are the ones that are going to push your business forward as leaders and innovators. Losing them means that your other workers lose that guidance and structure and will struggle to deliver quality work unless they step up. The success of your organization truly relies on these employees, so we need to ensure that they feel valued.

Fostering a culture of gratitude right now can go a long way. Part of that is looking for employees who are doing a great job and telling them why – so they feel valued and connected to their work. Here are some easy ways to spot your high performers.

Traits of great employees

  1. They are team players. Top performers motivate others by exuding positivity and demonstrating company values when working with each other. Great collaboration improves company culture and boosts morale.
  1. They are self-motivated. By going the extra mile on projects, doing their own research, knowing where to find help, and working efficiently, the best employees consistently display initiative and perseverance in the face of challenges.
  2. They see quality as job one. For top performers, quality is everything. Being motivated by quality means producing work that drives innovation within the company and offers value to customers.
  3. They have outstanding skills and knowledge – but want more. High performers are always on the lookout for ways to streamline systems, solve problems, and improve their on-the-job skills to contribute to team productivity and company growth.
  4. They go the extra mile for others. Caring and kindness are contagious. Foster these qualities by recognizing employees who are willing to step up and help their peers be their best too.
  5. They manage up. Celebrate employees who display exceptional organizational, time management, and communication skills – those who are great at their own role, while empowering their managers. Learn more about upward management and how to create a “manage up” culture here.
  6. They take feedback well. Top performers understand that they are all on the same team. They see asking for feedback as a great way to test their ideas to ensure that the final product is the best it can be.
  7. They keep their cool. Even with deadlines bearing down, high-performing employees have the confidence to stay calm, analyze problems, and find solutions – without letting the pressure affect how they interact with others.
  8. They are confident in their decisions. High performers think about problems critically, seek advice and feedback, and then make decisions based on research and facts. They are not afraid to share their ideas and make a mistake or two in their efforts to find innovative solutions. So when they make a decision, they are confident it is the right one.

Once you have identified common traits of high performers, you are more likely to look for these qualities during 1:1 discussions, group meetings, and performance reviews.

Use Your Intranet to Attract, Recruit, and Retain Top Performers. Read: The Employee Lifecycle: How to Use Your Intranet to Make Every Moment Matter

Employee recognition for the digital age

When top performers are recognized, they are less likely to leave according to a report by the Corporate Leadership Council. In addition, by building a culture of high performance, you can attract more rock stars while helping others grow in their roles.

In circumstances where it is not possible to celebrate exceptional efforts in person, a one-stop digital destination for employee recognition is a great tool to fill in the gaps.

Benefits of an online Recognition Center:

  • Centralizes employee recognition in a one-stop digital platform that everyone can access.
  • Showcases the secret ingredient to your organization’s success: your high-performing employees.
  • Provides an easy way to recognize top talent and highlight the traits of a top performer.
  • Allows people to applaud each other’s efforts for going above and beyond.
  • Makes top performers feel appreciated and promotes engagement.

When outstanding employees are recognized by leadership, these high achievers are even more likely to spread their positive attitude throughout the company. And when times are tough, it is especially important to let them know that they are appreciated.

You can put your people first with the help of digital workplace solutions that are built for employee engagement. And if replacing your company intranet is not in the cards, you might want to consider a department-specific solution instead.

Learn more about a Department Solution for HR here.