Great people drive successful companies. It’s a simple statement, yet we’ve found it to be an irrefutable truth. The best performers define vision, create strategy, implement systems, build teams, design culture, and constantly self-assess.
Yet, nearly all business owners and executives say it’s difficult to find great employees.
Even when a potential great employee has been identified, it’s also hard to really know if indeed they are one. A simple exercise comparing great, good, and low performing employees can help drive the evaluative process.
Good: Good team members understand team protocols and follow them – they communicate timely and a reasonable level of detail to get the job done well.
Low Performer: Lackluster employees forget to pass key pieces of information along; this leads to confusion, redundancy, and missed deadlines/opportunity.
Great: Great people find ways to link other team members in a way that collectively elevates the connectedness of most average and sometimes even poor performers. They’ll seek ways to increase collaborative efficiency.
Good: The solid performer understands their place, role and function, and performs it at a consistent level.
Low Performer: Despite repeated efforts to improve performance, employees on the wrong side of the bell curve rarely understand what they need to improve upon, let alone connecting to the why or how.
Great: With a thirst for knowledge, the top performer pushes the bounds of what’s expected in their role, constantly striving to learn more, find ways to add value, and be at the cutting edge of their profession.
Good: Steady performers take well to mentors and can improve their performance through diligence and hard work; they also seek to leverage their strengths to mentor less experienced team members.
Low Performer: Poor employees sap the time of mentors, who, although well intentioned, don’t understand they’re chasing a bad bet.
Great: Great team members find ways to mentor, train, and lead even when they don’t have direct reports. They cross functions, lines, departments, and ranks to find ways to convey knowledge to others and generate learning opportunities for themselves.
Good: Good employees generally get it – they know when things have gone well, and conversely, when they haven’t. They look at themselves and find ways to improve upon shortcomings to drive better future outcomes.
Low Performer: Below standard performers will sprain a finger playing the blame game and pointing fingers when things go wrong. They rarely self-assess, externalizing failures quickly and habitually internalizing success around them as personal victories.
Great: The curve busters are their own harshest critic. Yet at the same time they don’t hesitate to hold others to a high standard of accountability. They quickly self-assess, don’t dwell or linger, and rarely make the same mistake twice. They improve the performance of those around them by driving a culture of accountability.
When faced with the challenge of expanding a team, replacing someone who has been promoted or left the group, or figuring out who to promote, it’s important to understand the juxtaposition between what’s bad, good, and great relative to the core competencies of the role. Great people don’t just do the job well; they elevate those around them, make processes better, and find ways to add value beyond simply what’s expected or articulated.
So, then what is the difference in ROI between a low performer, good, and great person at your company?
What is this disparity in performance worth to you, your clients and customers, supply chain, vendors, employees, entire business? Poor employees have a negative ROI. Any marginal benefit they generate is crushed by inefficiency, fractured communication, divisive culture, and misplaced attention. Average or solid employees, and most fall into this bulk of the bell curve, generate a strong return.
But great people generate an incredible ROI, often times driving value in ways not even conceived of by those that hired them. We’ve found our top performers generate an unquantifiable ROI.
Because they have and will take us places we don’t even know about, build relationships yet to be cultivated, and drive and execute strategy yet to be conceived. Their direct current value is clear, but the future and indirect value is far more compelling. Hire great people, and empower them to shine – they’ll drive value far beyond their hired role!