How top leaders can identify the best in the business

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How top leaders can identify the best in the business (image credit: iStock/StockRocket)

Making sure your business operates at peak efficiency and performance is always a goal for the savvy business leader, but in order to achieve this you need to employ the best and brightest.

It is not always that easy to identify those individuals that are likely to excel within your business though, but there are some steps that can be taken to make this process more straightforward.

Former Red Arrows pilot and managing director of business performance management consultancy Mission Excellence Justin Hughes told Smallbusiness.co.uk that high-performing individuals can make the difference in taking a company to the next level. It is therefore essential to understand how these staff can be identified, attracting and retained.

Be clear in your requirements

It is essential for businesses to understand what it is that makes their best-performing staff stand out from their peers. This could be an ability to think outside the box or to excel in their particular field of expertise. Whatever it is, time needs to be spent by the management team to identify the key traits of high-performers in their industry.

The ability to work as part of a team is also something that should never be overlooked, as even the highest of flyers is of little use to an organisation if they are a maverick and cannot work well with others. Assess the ability for people to think independently and always have one eye on the potential progression prospects of people you think will go far.

Make complementary recruitment a priority

From here, it is a matter of ensuring all business recruitment policies are in line with these findings.

Mr Hughes suggests that interviews be tailored to determine that candidates have not only the right skills and aptitude to excel in their role, but also paying attention to personalities - making sure those that are brought into the business will fit well alongside existing staff.

Examine their cultural fit from day one and try to gain an understanding of a potential employee's own core values. It can then be far easier to incorporate new starters into a business (at any level) when they hold a similar philosophy about what it takes to succeed.

Offer an enticing package

However, once a business employs an effective team of high-performing individuals, how do they keep hold of them? Well, this can be achieved in a number of fashions, but ultimately it boils down to providing these key workers with something they cannot find elsewhere.

This could be as simple as offering a higher wage than competitors, but in today's unstable economic climate this may not be the easiest thing for many companies to achieve. Instead, perhaps focus on factors other than the financial, with measures like flexible working, the ability to accrue holidays for overtime or simply the challenge that comes with working in a cutting edge department. Truly, the attraction of working alongside the best and brightest can itself be an enticement that is hard to turn down.

Mr Hughes concluded: "If you focus primarily on skills, execution and short-term outcomes, you will get managers and competence. These factors will always be essential building blocks.

"If you want high-performing though, you need the people who can build the breeding grounds and to put an additional and equal, if not greater, focus on values, behaviour and 'cultural fit', from day one of the career management journey.

"Leadership development might be a leap of faith, but the returns can be exponential."