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Converting Potential Into Great Production

By IAN FERGUSON

Every workplace has superstars: Employees who far exceed the potential and performance of other staff members. Some researchers indicate that 7-9 per cent of your employees have the natural inclination and aptitude to deliver great value that far exceeds that of the average employee.

These employees are not to be confused with the diligent, hardworking and committed worker, who comes on time and spends extra hours at work completing assignments. Or the fast-talking, enthusiastic employee who masters the language of the organisation and the ‘gift of the gab’.

While the ‘star employee’ to which this article speaks may possess all of these qualities, this individual has much higher level skills that have been honed by advanced qualifications, great learning opportunities, exposure or natural abilities.

The workplace cannot survive without these individuals making a significant contribution. These employees, though, endure much abuse in the working environment, and often deliver far below their output potential. Here are some of the reasons high-potential employees may not be fully engaged in producing at their maximum:

  • De-motivated as a result of few workplace incentives, or work environments that do not challenge their pace.

  • Insecure leaders who victimise these employees because they are threatened by them.

  • Overworked by employers delegating many assignments to them, while giving the less talented supporting and, sometimes, effortless roles.

The main question that must be asked, then answered, is how we convert these high potential employees into high producers. Here are a few suggestions for getting the best out of your most talented employees, in an effort to make your business more viable.

  • Let them know they are special. When leaders affirm high potentials are the future of the company, it does something significant for their morale.

  • Give them meaningful roles and work assignments. They must find great value in what they do so that they remain motivated.

  • Be flexible and give them what they need and want. When high potentials have all the resources, they will perform amazing feats in your company.

  • Assign to them a de-motivated employee or emerging leader, and force them to mentor. Every high potential employee should be charged with the task of passing it on.

  • Create a performance-based incentive programme. You must never provide the same rewards and recognition for every employee.

  • Allow the champion employee to lead the team and delegate assignments to other employees

  • Place the talented employees on a leadership track, and provide additional training where necessary. You always want your top talent to assume leadership roles.

• NB: Ian R. Ferguson is a talent management and organisational development consultant, having completed graduate studies with regional and international universities. He has served organsations, both locally and globally, providing relevant solutions to their business growth and development issues. He may be contacted at tcconsultants@coralwave.com.

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