6 Steps to Attract and Keep High Performers

findleadersWe hear it all the time at HR functions and from executives.  The number one challenge facing business owners is finding and keeping top talent.

Business owners, often say that they want high performers, but are they ready for them?

Here are 6 things you can do that will allow you to attract and keep these elusive high performers.

  1. Know who you are.  I don’t mean your position or title.  Why does your organization exist?  This is different from the business that you do.  Here’s a little exercise to help you answer the question.  First, describe what you hope makes your organization better than your competition from your customer’s perspective.  Then keep asking why is that important or why should I care until you run out of answers.  Where you end up is your “why”.  This drives #2.
  2. Know what you are looking for.  This sounds easy enough, but have you read most job descriptions?  It’s understandable that the candidate have the appropriate technical acumen, but more important are the attitude and personality characteristics you are seeking.  Seek individuals who already exhibit the behaviors you want enforced in your organization, for example Chick-fil-a hires for “my pleasure”.  You can teach skills.  Attitude usually comes from a world view.  You have enough challenges already.  Don’t buy new ones.
  3. Know what they are looking for.  Seek to understand the “why” of the applicant.  Ask them how they would describe their ideal work environment.  How would they describe their ideal role in an organization?  Why is that important to them?  This needs to align with #2.
  4. Be ready to show them a career path.  Most high achievers want opportunity, not a job.  This is why they are high achievers.  If you simply want a high achiever to do a specific job and don’t have a plan for them to progress vertically in the organization, they will get frustrated and leave.
  5. Make sure you are living your values and have clear objectives for the organization.  High achievers have little tolerance for mediocrity, ambiguity, and hypocrisy.
  6. Invest in your people.  High performers seek opportunities for professional development.  Your organization should have a goal of building a reputation as a resume-building organization.  This will keep the line of high performers at your door.

Finally, be prepared to lose high performers out the top of your organization.  There are only a certain amount of top positions in an organization and that is OK.  We considered it an honor to sow into the lives of these high performers by continued professional and technical development.  We kept the ones we could and helped the others find good opportunities for additional professional growth.  If you do these things well, the high performers will eventually be finding you.

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