Every company wants to achieve top results, but they may not realize that top talent is the key to this. A Harvard Business Review article published in late 2017 provides some scientific basis for core concepts that management leaders have instinctively known and observed over time: The best performers in a company contribute far more to achieving business objectives than the amount contributed by an average performer in a similar role.

Three key research findings noted in the article make this point quite clearly:

1. Top performers contribute significantly more organizational output than typical performers,

– the top 1% accounts for 10% of organizational output

– the top 5% accounts for 25% of organizational output

– the top 20% accounts for 80% of organizational output

2) The payoff from hiring top talent increases significantly for workers performing complex jobs,

– Less complex roles (factory workers), top talent outperforms average talent by about 50%

– Medium complexity (trainers, sales managers), top talent outperforms by about 85-100%

– Highly complex roles (senior leadership), top talent outperforms average by more than 200%

3) Adding a top performer to a team boosts the effectiveness of other team members by 5-15%.

The article describes internal Talent Management programs and the impact of existing High Potential (HiPo) employees on an organization.  The impact of hiring one HiPo employee is equivalent to the impact of retaining one HiPo, potentially more if we recalibrate expectations for the entire team.

How did the HiPo employees get into these companies in the first place?

That’s the key question and the greatest opportunity for leading firms in today’s highly competitive talent marketplace.

Think about this for a moment.  Since top performers deliver exceptional results while also improving the performance of other team members, we need as many of them as we can get.  We should strive to bring in the best talent every time – in other words, we should hire HiPo employees in all key positions.

That seems obvious, but too often we allow other factors to prevent this from happening:

– We need this position filled yesterday, get someone in here right away.

– We can’t find anyone better, this is just the talent pool available to us in this market.

– We can only pay X for reasons A, B and C.  We just can’t bring her in, no matter how good she is.

– We don’t want to hire anyone who might threaten or challenge Sally, she’s critical to the process.

Based on this research, identifying, recruiting, selecting and hiring the top talent can improve by more than 85% the results delivered by just one moderately complex position.  What if we took that approach to fill all key positions – and this strategy then dramatically improved the results delivered by all new hires, their teams, and the organization?  That’s exactly the outcome suggested by these findings.

The best way to have more High Potential (HiPo) employees on your team is simply to hire more HiPo employees – and that requires Talent Acquisition experts and methods that will deliver those HiPo’s.

Tactics for Improving Business Outcomes

To achieve dramatic improvement in your team’s business outcomes, consider these tactics:

  1. Focus on identifying the top 1%, 5%, 20% candidates and getting them “on the bus”, as described by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Make it a priority, measure it, and reward leaders who achieve it.
  2. Develop top-notch candidate interviewing, screening and assessment processes to ensure that the most talented candidates who align with the role, team and company are selected.
  3. Adopt hiring protocols that make it possible to add the most talented, best aligned individuals to the team. The very best talent is not actively seeking work.  These HiPos are now working for your competitors, and they aren’t interested in taking a pay cut to join your team.  Find them, hire them.

Top-tier executive search firms are exceptionally skilled at identifying, recruiting and screening those HiPo’s who are working for your competitors today.  They can directly contact your competitor’s top performers, sell them on your business and this opportunity, and screen them against your target candidate profile to ensure a good fit – before they are even presented to you.  And, as confirmed by the research findings in the article, the contribution of these HiPo’s far exceeds their acquisition cost.

We can help

That’s what we do at Becker Wright, and we’re great at it – our many accolades speak for themselves. By targeting and recruiting top performers from competitive firms, we can deepen your team’s talent pool and position your team and your company to deliver business results that exceed expectations.

Let’s work together to hire the “top 5%” talent that delivers more than 25% of your team’s results. Contact us today to find out how we can turn your competitor’s HiPo’s into your next new hires.

Harvard Business Review – High Potential Employees   https://hbr.org/2017/10/what-science-says-about-identifying-high-potential-employees