The pandemic has certainly resulted in many employees leaving, which in and of itself is challenging for any type of business to maintain their status quo let alone grow. But if any of those employees happen to be your top performers, the ramifications go even further. Which is why it’s even more urgent to care for the ones you still have.
Most people leaders readily know who their top performers are, but sometimes it may not be as clear at the onset. Some top performers are not in the limelight with the most advanced degrees, knowledge, or experience. More importantly, they are recognized by their work ethic, attitudes, and desire to get results as shown by the following traits:
The scope of their role is beyond their immediate job. You will rarely hear “that’s not my job” from a top performer. The bigger picture is their job, and they take the initiative to go above and beyond without needing to be asked. They don’t wait to be told what to do; instead, they look to see what needs to be done.
They are goal oriented. Top performers always have their eye on the finish line and accomplishments. They are driven to complete tasks regardless of obstacles. When situations get tough, they take ownership instead of placing blame. They don’t care about clocking hours; instead, they aim to get results by doing whatever it takes.
They see change as a growth opportunity. Instead of change being annoying, unfair, or a threat to their safety, top performers see change as a way to refocus their efforts, supercharge their skills, and take on a new target. They thrive on innovation and continuous growth.
They are culture stabilizers. Top performers don’t fuel drama; they have a high degree of emotional intelligence and are able to easily navigate around politics and chaos rather than getting sucked into it. They are too busy delivering results for the business and achieving personal goals. As a result, their presence on a team promotes a positive and collaborative culture.
When a top performer quits, it’s more than your business potential and competitive knowledge base that walks out the door. Their leaving creates a vacuum for others to follow suit. Their action sets off a firestorm where employees are more likely to reevaluate their entire relationship with the company. Thoughts of, “If this is the way the superstar gets treated, what are my chances here?” will ripple throughout the ranks and validate others who may be contemplating leaving to act upon that decision once the top performer exits.
The loss of solid performers can be crippling to an organization’s morale and validates the belief that quitting is the only natural choice. Those employees who remain will internalize the loss of the top performer by the impact on their existing workload. If they are already harboring seeds of dissatisfaction, that may be just the catalyst to exit before the additional work is piled on.
Those top performers who did leave their previous employers and are looking to land a new opportunity are also scrutinizing how companies treated their employees during the pandemic. Companies who put their employees first by providing some sort of emergency benefits, care for their physical and emotional safety, or financially assisted those furloughed are the ones candidates are now seeking for employment. While processes and profits will always be critical for business success, the message is getting louder and clearer that the care and retention of the people driving those processes and profits has now taken center stage.
Merrylue Martin is the author of The Big Quit Survival Guide. The book describes how to retain your best people, how to wow the best new hires and deal with the challenges of remote and hybrid workers, and gives you access over 30 printable Survival Tactics to immediately act upon!