Don’t give High Performers a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ Card

April 19, 2018

Do you let your shining stars get away with murder? Tim looks at how this could be a problem and how to deal with it!

cartoon of a spaceman flying away from a group of people.

By Tim Frear

Don’t you hate it when there is one rule for one and one for another, so in 2018 why are companies still allowing high performers to work outside the rules of the company?

That statement opens a huge can of worms, retention of high performers is crucial for the success of a business especially in SMEs. Having key people in the right places who make a difference to the bottom line, can make or break a company.

There are always going to be the zero tolerance policies that all employees must adhere to, these are there to protect both the company and employee in their working lives. All employees must follow these rules and failure to work in line with them must result in corrective action, usually in the form of an investigation or disciplinary.

Many HR groups say: “failing to address disruptive behaviour by high performers can actually hurt overall productivity” I agree with this statement to a degree, its easy to say all employees must work in a certain way or to a certain standard and people working outside of the scope should be brought inline.

However, in an SME where the high performers can be the make and break of a company, what can we do to harness their skills whilst also ensuring their actions are not negatively affecting others in the organisation?

Understand who your high performers are.

The first area would be to understand who your high performers are and the effect they have on the team, if you have 10 high performers and only one is working outside the scope of the organisation it’s more likely that person should be brought in line with the others. If you are a smaller organisation or only have one or two high performers that make a major impact to the organisation, the way we manage them is likely to be very different.

What motivates them?

It’s important to understand what motivates our high performers? What is it they want from employment? If it’s a sales person who wants the flexibility to work varied hours, sleep in the morning but work late, or wants the flexibility to work from home, the office of a local Starbucks, how difficult is that to put into place and what is the impact on the team around them?

Think about productivity.

We must consider the overall productivity of the high performer versus the others within the organisation, and if making the changes to one person is going to adversely affect the team, maybe it’s not the right decision.

Contract vs Behaviour.

It’s important to differentiate between contracted conditions (like working hours and location) versus behaviours. If the behaviour of a high performing employee is not in line with the company vision and values, it will have a negative impact on the business and the culture. This can do more damage to the company than the productivity of the high performer.

Behaviours should always be managed as they happen, nipping the negative behaviours in the bud as they arise. Behaviours are like a yawn, they are contagious if you let one person get away with something the behaviours will spread through your teams.

It’s important to look past the monetary value of a high performing employee and look holistically at the organisation, and what it is the company wants to achieve.

Are other employees getting the chance to shine?

Are there people in the organisation who are being overshadowed by the high performer? If the high performers are being managed appropriately and works in line with the objectives of the business, you may be surprised that others in the team begin to shine!

In conclusion…

Understanding your employees, and what drives them to achieve, plays a key role in what your high performers can do. Negative behaviours from any employee must be dealt with swiftly and efficiently to ensure the ‘yawn’ doesn’t spread. Consider that measures you could put in place to positively enhance high performers to retain them as a high performing, productive and positive employee.

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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