Nurturing Your Super Stars

Nurturing your top performers is critical to the long term success of your business. Don’t believe it? Take a look at these statistics.

  • Top performers produce as much as 10 times more than the average worker, while they often require less than two times the pay (Sullivan, 2012)
  • Top performers produce up to 12 times more than the average employee (Corporate Executive Board)
  • The top performer differential is 2.5 to 10 times that of an average employee (Sullivan, 2008)
  • The more top performers you have, the greater the organization’s productivity!

Managers give all of their attention to the weak players – those who need to improve. They draw us in again and again, receiving the regular feedback. But, what about top performers? You may feel that by leaving them alone, you’re paying them the greatest compliment. This is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing and what they are expecting. It’s a fact that organization’s top talent can have the easiest time finding other employment.

So, make a fresh commitment to give them the time, the feedback, and the opportunity to grow in your organization and  nurture them to contribute to the overall growth of your organization.

“The more you know about your employees, the better coach and leader you can be.”

There are many ways to help you understand your employees, motivate them for long-term satisfaction, and to help them overcome weaknesses and making them even better at their jobs.

  • Identify your “A” Players

In an organization, “A” players or “top talent” are typically those with the best performance ratings. Defining top talent should go beyond this single measure. Characteristics and behaviours may also help you to identify these talent among your employees. Some common examples include:

  • Positive energy/attitude
  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Innovation or creativity
  • Commitment to your startup’s culture and mission
  • Effective communication skills
  • Integrity
  • Teamwork
  • Customer focus and empathy
  • Leadership
  • Potential for growth
  • Job expertise and skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Commitment to deliver
  • A strong work ethic
  • Decision-making skills

Once you have identified the key characteristics or behaviours, measure your employees against these expectations and get a 360° feedback from the managers.

  • Focus on Motivational Dynamics

Once you’ve identified your organization’s top talent, it’s important to focus on the motivational dynamics. Motivational dynamics have changed dramatically to reflect new work requirements and changed worker expectations.

One of the biggest changes has been the rise in importance of psychic, or intrinsic rewards, and the decline of material or extrinsic rewards. Extrinsic rewards—usually financial—are the tangible rewards given employees by managers, such as pay raises, bonuses, and benefits. They are called “extrinsic” because they are external to the work itself and other people control their size and whether or not they are granted. In contrast, intrinsic rewards are psychological rewards that employees get from doing meaningful work and performing it well. Because intrinsic rewards are intangible, they usually arise from within the person who is doing the activity or behavior. Some examples of intrinsic reward includes:

  • Provide meaningful work
  • Allow workers to make choices through a high level of autonomy
  • Provide opportunities for employees to show their competence in areas of expertise
  • Facilitate professional development so that employees can expand on their level of knowledge
  • Offer frequent opportunities for employees to reward themselves
  • Allow employees the opportunity to connect with those with whom they serve to obtain valuable feedback
  • Give them a path to monitor their progress with milestones along the way

Before you can take action to nurture your top talent, you need to take time to get to know them as individuals and discover what motivates and engages them. Once you know this, it can be fairly easy to address their needs.

  • Provide Continuous Development

Just like all other employees, your top talent need opportunities for development and career growth. If companies are truly serious about retaining, and developing high-quality talent, they need to view themselves as growth platforms where people can develop themselves faster than they could elsewhere. It’s also important to nurture an individual’s development in areas where they are less strong, in order to allow them to make greater use of their strengths. Growth opportunities should occur on the job where employees can learn from coworkers and associates. This on-the-job model of learning can enable people to continually acquire relevant skills and tacit knowledge in their domain.

  • Make them Feel Truly Valued

Employee recognition isn’t rocket science. One of your most important responsibilities of the management is to make your employees feel truly valued, letting them know that without them, your company, your department—and frankly, you—would be worse off.

To effectively convey this, think about how you approach everyday conversations with your employees. When you assign a new task, for example, go beyond the basic and reiterate why you truly value their work. While it’s important for top performers to know they are valued by their organizations, they also need to know that their contributions are underpinned by many other people. Acknowledging the value and contributions of all employees helps your “A” team understand their place on the team and helps all employees endeavour for better performance.

Attracting & Retaining Tech Talent in India

Building a business in India requires a lot of hard work. Different considerations have to be made ranging from regulations, clients, hiring etc etc. If you are a tech startup, the most important factor that bothers you would be the coders that meet your fast paced business needs.

India’s tech talent pool is plentiful. But the dearth of skilled talent have skyrocketed the wages and has dampened the growth of many companies. Bangalore, for example, which is known for the depth of tech talent and the wider ecosystem looks really impressive from outside. However, it has about 100,000+ jobs available for about 25,000 really skilled tech talent. Does it ring a bell? So, if one of your rockstar employee wants to leave, it’s not too difficult for him to land on a better job.

So, what is really missing and how do you attract & retain top talent in your organization?

  • Be Honest

The first, critical step in attracting and retaining talent is to make sure that you understand what your company really is and whom it’s likely to hire. Some companies are stiffer, more formal, more professional; others are playful and creative. You have to be honest about how your workplace compares to other options that developers have, and think about the kinds of things that they’re thinking about when they choose a career.

  • Build a Greater Vision

As a tech company you will need to build a great vision around the people you hire so that they stay and create a competitive edge. During the interview process, take time to explain your vision statement. Once joined, take input and feedback that can help create a collaborative culture. This will ultimately help employees relate their work towards the organizational goal. Vision statements can also be more task oriented so that their daily chores will help employees feel a part of the larger cause. A company’s greater vision means nothing if the top management don’t live by them. Organizational values and behaviors have to be incorporated within their actions.

  • Go Deep on the Applicant Category

While hiring, understand each category of applicants. For instance, male candidates are shown to be drawn more towards excellent salaries and perks, challenging work and good organizational culture. However, female candidates, on the other hand, prefer a good work-life balance, cordial relationships with peers and flexible work arrangements.

  • Motivate by Recognition

Research shows that the majority of employees are motivated by recognition, not pay hikes or perks. And, employees say genuine recognition is the best motivator for them to deliver spectacular, groundbreaking differences for your customers and your organization. So make it a resolution to commit to recognition. Start by learning the basics, and read up on the difference that meaningful appreciation can make. Make it a priority and a commitment from your executive team to your individual contributors. You’ll be investing in your employees, your teams, and your company’s bottom line. And you’ll be well on your way to solving your talent crisis, one team at a time.

  • Look Beyond the “Top Pool”

There is an ample pool of talent beyond the top 25k+ candidates. India spews a whopping 1.5 million engineers annually, every year and there is an incredible amount of smart talent coming out of our system. If you have the capacity to train people, you can groom and nurture them. Unskilled labour can be an incredible opportunity if you know how to handle it. You may also find potential candidates, regardless of their current employment status, with new solutions. Look into recruitment solutions that harness predictive analytics and machine learning to find the most qualified candidates quickly.

  • Conclusion

Businesses are all about people and India is no different when it comes to the underlying principles of running a good business. The Indian tech market is noticing an epidemic growth and the need of the hour is how you disrupt the finding these talents through proper channels, how you understand the nuances and keep investing in your people and nurture them for the years to come.