Four Characteristics of Star Employees

May 25, 2017
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star-1183330_1280The identification of star employees is essential to every organization’s success.  Managers must know who their top performers are for succession planning and mentorship purposes, otherwise they risk losing top talent.  If you’re curious to know if you yourself are a top employee, check out these four indicators.

  1. Speak-up confidently. Sometimes, employees refrain from offering feedback or ideas because they fear criticism or sounding like a fool.  Star employees, on the other hand, practice Dale Carnegie’s 19th Human Relations principle, ‘Appeal to the nobler motives.’  They aren’t afraid to speak up because their genuine desire for their organization’s ultimate success is greater than any feelings they may have of self-doubt.  Star employees share their feedback and improvement ideas openly and frequently, without ever disrespecting what their managers or colleagues have to say.
  2. Talk less and listen more. Whereas average employees perceive meetings as an opportunity to potentially impress their boss and co-workers by talking at length about their amazing ideas, star employees do the opposite.  Instead of dominating the conversation, they often sit back silently because their keen sense says that the proposed idea will never happen, so why waste time discussing it?  They use the time to process information so that they can contribute what is important—either poking a hole in the bad idea by stating a refuting fact or presenting a bright idea and listening for everyone’s reaction.  This is Dale Carnegie’s 15th principle, ‘Let the other person do a great deal of the talking,’ applied at work.
  3. Attract and mentor co-workers. Star employees are passionate about their employers and pursue opportunities to help others grow in their roles so as to contribute to their organization’s overall success.  Consider two project managers with similar skills, however they have different sets of work experiences.  When the star project manager sees that he or she can perform a task faster or better than the other project manager, they tend to immediately show the other person the improved approach to the task.  This is because star employees don’t reserve their knowledge for their own work output; rather they seek out ways to share their knowledge with others in an effort to strengthen the entire team.
  4. Reap more than others. Simply stated, star employees yield more bang per employer buck invested.  In fact, top employees typically produce up to 12 times what the average employee produces according to Human Resources Magazine.  When the economic environment is challenging, it’s common for companies to execute budget cuts; hiring freezes and layoffs.  It’s also common for employers to ask employees to do more with less resources, which stars can easily do.  Heavy hitters simply harvest more which is why it’s so important to know who your stars are!  Only then can retention strategies be optimized to help lower the risk of the star leaving the organization for a better opportunity.
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