How to Convert High-Performing Potentials into Top Performing Employees

Aug 08, 2018

High-Performing Potentials: “We have the potential to become top performing employees, but we need a little push from our employers to become top performers.”

You can identify an employee with the potential to contribute to the company’s success and meet their objectives by dividing your employees into two categories, low performance with low-potential and low performance with high potential.

An employee with low performance and low potential has little to no aptitude and exhibits unsatisfactory performance whereas an employee with low performance and high potential has an above-average aptitude and exhibits inconsistent performance.

You want to develop high-performing potentials, converting them into top performing employees, but how? A development strategy you can implement to turn them into top performers is to pair them with a top performing employee, offer them skills and training they can utilise to improve their new role, and give them more responsibilities to test their performance. In addition to this, you can hire an executive search agency to recruit high-performing potentials.

Let’s go into a little detail on why these three development strategies have the potential to work:

  • Top performing employees will serve as mentors for high-performing potentials, allowing them to get first-hand experience on how they take on challenging assignments and assume complete ownership of projects.
  • Provide high-performing potentials with on-the-job training to hone their skills and reach their full potential to become top performers.
  • Gradually, high-performing potentials will develop an improved understanding of the company and their role and responsibilities in it. You need to test their capabilities by giving them even more responsibilities such as training new employees, managing complex projects, and placing them in-charge of interns.

If high-performing potentials succeed in their new role, promote them into a job position with more responsibilities, but one in which they will perform better.

When you hire a headhunter, you receive the expertise and knowledge of a person with experience recruiting top candidate for your company.

Your managers have the vital role of identifying high-performing potentials and converting them into top performing employees. You need to train your managers to identify an employee with the potential to become one of the top performers of the company.

Once you have zeroed in on them, you need to implement the development strategies to strength their existing skills and learn new skills needed to achieve the goals and objectives of the company.

To find high-performing potentials, you need to provide your managers with guidance on how to sift through the pool of employees and narrow in on the high potentials of the group. Here are the characteristics that define high-performing potentials:

1.Desire to Take on a Leadership Role

An employee who desires to have a leadership role in the company will either directly state it to you or hint at the suggestion of one day stepping into the shoes of a leader. If they have the desire to move up in the company, they have the potential to become a top performer.

2.Entrepreneurial Outlook

Are they recognizing possible opportunities that the company can take advantage of to progress in the market? If they are, they possess an entrepreneurial mindset.

3.Autonomy and Resourcefulness

An employee has the potential to become a top performer in the company if they don’t come to you throughout the day, asking for guidance on every little thing. An employee who takes initiative to find answers and start new projects without needing a lot of guidance is someone you need to train to become a top performer.

4.Ability to Lead and Manage Teams

Put employees into leadership positions to lead and manage teams. If they stand out in those positions by successfully leading and managing teams and yielding results, they have the potential to take the company to new heights in the future.

5.Display an Interest in the Company

Don’t assume that just because an employee has stayed part of the company for several years, their interest in the company is genuine. There is no correlation between a long-term employee and genuine interest in the company.

A high potential employee will take an active interest in the company, the direction its headed, its core values and objectives, and its strategy. They want to see the company succeed and take steps to further its success.

6.Consistently Meet Objectives and Goals

High potential employees will consistently meet objectives and goals the company establishes for them. They will also establish objectives and goals for themselves and works towards achieving those as well.

7.Can Work in a Fast-Paced Work Environment While Being Flexible

If an employee is on his/her toes every day, going here and there, but can still stay flexible, they have the potential to go places in the company. When an unexpected challenge occurs, it will not faze them.

8.Can Make Decisions and Act on Them

High-performing potentials are decision makers. They can make decisions and act on them when needed. When they need to make a decision, they look at all options and scenarios before them, and then make the decision that will lead the company in the right direction.

Once you have a high-performing potential employee in your midst, you need to keep them around.

Here are four strategies to help you engage and retain high-performing potential employees:

  • Surface Critical Engagement Risks— Train and instruct your managers on the significance of maintaining an ongoing dialogue with all employees of the company, especially high-performing potentials. In doing so, your managers can proactively recognise and address risks affecting employee turnover.
  • Require High-Performing Potentials to Commit to the Organization — Provide high-performing potentials a reason to stick around with the company. Apart from making them realise they have the potential to become top performers, offer them a diverse number of opportunities, commitments, and benefits, but with the expectation of them to deliver you results.
  • Align High-Performing Potentials and Top Performing Employees’ Expectations for Compelling Career Paths — Develop fair, structured, and diverse career paths for both high-performing potentials and top performing employees to promote development and growth in their role in the company.
  • Offer High-Risk Opportunities in a Supportive Work Setting — Provide high-performing potentials several challenging development opportunities that enable them to progress in the company. However, you need to manage each opportunity closely and carefully. You also need to provide them a supportive work setting to alleviate risks and achieve success.

But the real question that brought you here is “How to Convert High-Performing Potentials into Top Performing Employees.”

1.Instigating Positive Stress

There’s a difference between positive and negative stress. You need to instigate positive stress. Positive stress releases adrenaline, increases blood flow, and prompts action. Athletes experience the same stress when they compete. It makes them feel able, excited, and completely engaged in the field. To activate positive stress, hold employees to higher standards, demanding more from them, and giving them the help to get there.

However, there’s a very thin line between positive stress and negative stress. Therefore, you need to be careful in the level of stress you give them. If it becomes burdensome, meaning it has gone beyond their capabilities and turned into negative stress.

If you give them positive stress, you will find high-performing potentials meeting and exceeding expectations with increased efficiency and determination and a renewed sense of purpose to perform well in the company.

2.Use Positive Framing

Positive framing is how you change the perception of employees regarding challenges you set before them. Don’t frame a challenge as one that is impossible to perform, but as an exciting opportunity for employees. Positive framing requires you to be genuine, not manipulative and untruthful.

3.Establish Mutual Goals

Don’t establish unrealistic goals for your employees to achieve. Instead, establish clear and challenging goals. Make your employees commit to completing those goals and implement a process that offers them feedback on their performance. You should also provide them with a series of different tasks that vary in difficultly. Establish goals for employees that promote higher performance. Don’t provide them with instant gratification, affirmation, and rewards on job well done, but make them realise what it means to accomplish a significant milestone.

4.Promote Self-Evaluation

Allow your employees to recognise their shortcomings through self-evaluation. Employees who don’t show any interest in growing in the company don’t think they need it. This leads them to overestimate their own talent, skills, and capabilities.

If one is self-critical of their own performance, they are more motivated to work towards making their weakness into strengths. You need to promote self-evaluation in your company by helping employees find new ways to learn, improve, and grow. Develop a system of feedback and analysis. The system will enable them to assess the areas they need to strengthen.

5.Introduce Mentors

You can develop a mentor system in the company where you ask the top performing employees to mentor other employees, including the high-performing potentials in the company. Since the mentors have more experience, they can work closely with other employees, helping them learn new skills or take on new responsibilities. Additionally, it will promote job satisfaction, company loyalty, higher retention, positive socialization, and most importantly, top performers.

6.Promote the Development of New Skills

Provide your employees with several resources to help them develop new skills. Employees will be eager to learn new skills, as it will help them build their resume. By allowing them to develop a new set of skills, it will not only benefit you, but will also prevent the stagnation that comes with it.

7.Accept Failures

Even though you want your employee to succeed in the task, you do not want them to feel bad if they fail. There may be no reward, but there should not be a punishment as well. Convey the message that it is okay to fail and use it as a learning experience.

Make it easier on yourself and hire a headhunter to recruit an “A” player top candidate in 20 days!

Once you have converted your high-performing potentials into top performers, you need to reinforce a few habits perfected by those very top performers.

  • Top Performers capture all tasks, commitments, projects, and ideas instead of keeping them trapped in their head. To capture it all, they create lists, download an app, and through e-mail.
  • Top Performers decide the importance of each item they capture by dividing them into two categories — do they require action or no action. If an item requires an action, they also come up with the next action they need to take after it.
  • Top Performers use the two-minute rule, which states if they can complete a task within two minutes or less, they will do it immediately. By doing them last, you allow them to take up space in their mind. They will keep on nagging at you.
  • Top Performers review their tasks before they start doing them at random. This allows them to make correct decisions and use their time wisely.
  • Top Performers review what they need to accomplish during the week by allotting one day of the week where they update themselves on things and align their work, tasks, and projects with other priorities.




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