The Importance Of Star Performers In a Workplace

The dilemma is that there are no cast-in-stone approaches to keeping employees, especially the high fliers, consistently engaged. It has been contended over the years that what one employee may find motivating may not be as motivating for another, but the common denominator here is that the secret to fulfillment is excellence. However, considering the high attrition rate characteristic of today’s workplace, it is obvious that businesses need to concentrate more on not just attracting talent but maintaining their talent as well. To achieve that, one school of thought recommends the learning and development approach that many big companies are implementing to develop the leadership competencies of their people and create an internal culture of high performance. Self-motivated and high-performing employees add a more significant value to the bottom line than those that are not, even though you might not be able to retain them. The dynamics of staff retention have changed, and as progressive HR practitioners and business leaders, we have to rethink our strategies.

It was the world-renowned leadership expert John C. Maxwell that asked, “What is worse than training your people and losing them?” His answer was: “Not training them and keeping them.” A star performer is that employee that brings passion to his work and contributes significant value to the business. Such a person is, without a doubt, an outstanding performer in his contribution to business growth. It is often the case that star performers are also self-motivated, and this is because an inner sense of purpose drives them. They are also ambitious, good planners, support company initiatives, and, more importantly, keep their eyes firmly fixed on the goal.

They align with business strategies and go out of their way to make things happen. Their extraordinary attention to details and compelling leadership potential is an indispensable asset to the business. They may be harder to find and even harder to develop, but with painstaking effort, the benefits of developing those that may not have initially been star performers into exceptional ones would be obvious. It has also come to the forefront over the years that even though high fliers are often few in the workplace, the numbers can be increased with a conscious effort to use them as avenues for training young employees in the company to take over from them. In a fast-paced, digitally-driven, and competitive landscape as we are in today, people work beyond their paycheck; they work for a more profound sense of purpose.

HR managers and other line managers in this regard must ensure that each employee’s goal is in sync with the company’s goal. They must customize an engagement strategy for each team member, taking into consideration their long-term dreams and career aspirations. Knowing the exceptional contributions that star employees bring to business growth, it is imperative that managers invest time and energy into building positive relationships with them and reward their enterprising leadership.

The subject of retaining star performers is one that has proven tough to many HR practitioners for a long time. In industries like banking and insurance, where remuneration is quite competitive, you will find a lot of star performers jumping ship at the latest juicy offer. It, therefore, becomes a challenge for HR managers and other corporate executives to create strategies to retain them for the good of the company. The opportunity cost of losing these star performers to other competitors in the industry has a telling effect on the fortunes of the company. In most instances, they leave the company and take all of the business solutions they have in mind on board to their new place. This unfortunate phenomenon pushes a lot of HR practitioners into thinking even more deeply for a solution. Some companies opted for paying for a percentage of business solutions brought on board as a commission in addition to salaries. Giving them a meteoric rise in the company by way of promotions is also one strategy that has helped to retain star performers in most companies. Finally, a few companies have taken far-reaching measures such as allocating a certain percentage of shares to these hardworking employees for them to stay and do more for them. This is by far the farthest that some employers are prepared to go in order to retain their best hands in an organization.

A growing body of research in human resource practice has revealed that it is far more expensive to lose this special category of workers than it is to spend what it costs to maintain them. But it is also important to note that, even as many companies resolve to keep this special category of staff through mouthwatering incentives, there are still a good number of them that will still leave regardless. It’s therefore important for the HR department to have solid succession and business continuity plans that can ensure a seamless transition in the event of such surprise exits. This is where HR departments should also give the subject of coaching and mentoring serious consideration.


Phidelia Johnson is a global Human Resources Practitioner with eighteen years of leadership success. With a focus on streamlining Human Resources administration, she’s well-equipped to find the right solution to a myriad of concerns. Her experience as a commercial business leader gives her a unique ability to advocate for both the employer and the employee.

In her down time, Phidelia is a master of her kitchen, creating wonderful dishes filled with passion and flavor. If she’s not cooking delicious food, she’s stretched out with a good book. She hopes to use her experience to help others, guide company leaders to best practices, and help build better professionals and stronger organizations.

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