3 Questions to Ask Your Top Performers

What would your top performers say about your workplace? What would they say about its strengths, its weaknesses, what makes them stay, and what makes them think about leaving? How would they describe the ways in which your organization has handled the challenges of the past year?  Perhaps the greatest test of our workplaces and organizations is the perceptions of our top people. So consider asking your top performers three important questions:

  • How did we respond (or how are we responding)?
  • What will make you stay?
  • What would cause you to leave?

This past year, ERC did just that. We asked top performers in Northeast Ohio what they perceived to be the main reasons that they continue to stay at their organizations, the aspects of their organizations that cause them to consider leaving, and their perceptions of how their organizations handled the economic challenges of the past year. The results yielded some important insights into what local top performers at NorthCoast 99 winning organizations have to say about their workplaces.

How did we respond?

Top performers at this year’s NorthCoast 99 winning organizations overwhelmingly felt that their organizations were proactive in addressing challenges of the past year, implemented creative cost reduction, constantly communicated with them about the state of the organizations, cut unnecessary expenditures to preserve jobs, maintained customer/client focus, continued to innovate and focus on growth, and focused on teamwork and collaboration. In addition, they felt that their organizations made difficult decisions with great sensitivity to employees, did all they could do to preserve and protect employees and their jobs, had strong and supportive leadership, remained positive about the future of their organizations, and continued to give their staff the resources they needed. All in all, top performers at winning organizations were impressed and comforted by their organization’s approach during challenging times.

What makes you stay?

In addition, top performers cited numerous reasons why they stay at their respective organizations with many of these reasons fall into a few buckets: the job itself, the people, and the workplace. In terms of the job itself, top performers report staying at their organizations mainly because they enjoy the work they do, are passionate about their jobs, are challenged, and constantly learning new things. Top performers also report staying at their organizations because of the people – their coworkers, managers, and leaders. They have strong, supportive, and understanding relationships with their coworkers and managers and feel that leaders have the best interest of their employees in mind as they make decisions impacting the organization and lead the organization successfully. Finally, top performers stay at their organizations because of the workplace and its many rewards including, but not limited to, work/life and flexibility, developmental and advancement opportunities, pay and benefits, and rewards.

What would cause you to leave?

While many top performers at winners cited no aspects of the organization which cause them to consider leaving, even our NorthCoast 99 winners constantly have the task of improving upon the aspects of their workplaces to better retain top talent.  Based on the data we collected, among the greatest opportunities for our winners and other organizations are providing top performers greater ability to deal with stress and workload issues, continuing to expand development and advancement opportunities, maintaining compensation competitiveness, and helping top performers deal with other unique demands or concerns relating to their job or the organization (autonomy, communication, job stability etc.). By far, however, the most common theme among top performers is stress and workload concerns, suggesting that many top people in our region feel overstretched.

Would your top performers respond similarly to those at our winning organizations? If you’re not sure, ask these questions, get the answers, and mobilize the rest of your efforts for the remainder of the year around the feedback of your top people. 

Congratulations to our 2010 NorthCoast 99 winners who have “passed the test” in the eyes of their top people.

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This entry was posted in Benefits & Leave, Communication, Compensation, General HR, Performance Management, Recruitment & Selection, Social Responsibility, Training & Development and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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