Hiring the Best People Over the Cheapest – Why it Matters Now More Than Ever
In today’s thought-worker economy, many companies are looking to cut costs any way possible, starting with the type and number of employees they’re willing to hire. In many ways, however, hiring the best and the brightest may actually be the easiest way to cut costs while increasing productivity and billable hours. But can we prove it?
Many industries, especially sports, have long understood the value of a high-performing team member. A team that struggles to remain relevant may all of a sudden find itself a major contender with a single top-level recruit, or a high-profile trade. Why? Because one high-performing athlete may accomplish as much on the court or in-field as two or three average players. Even more, having a high-performer on the team can boost the confidence of the other players and increase everyone’s output.
This remains true even if the high-performer costs more in the way of salary. No one questions that Michael Jordan cost more than one of the Chicago Bulls’ second-string players. But no one questions that Michael Jordan brought far more to the team, and raised the quality of play across the board.
The same is true of employees in the corporate world. A high-performing employee may cost more (even substantially more) than an average employee. Yet, if they consistently produce five, or even ten times the output of average employees, it can be hard to argue with their value.
So how do you land one of these high performers? Learn to recognize the traits that they would possess. According to Giombetti Associates, the Institute of Leadership, the four traits high-performers consistently have are energy, dominance, discipline and competitiveness. Keep these four traits in mind when you post the ad for your job, and continue to keep a keen eye out once the job applications start rolling in.
Train From Within
What if hiring a high-performer is not an option, either because of budgetary constraints, policy constraints or a lack of qualified applicants? One viable option may be to train individuals within the company.
The 20-60-20 rule has long been recognized as a valuable HR principle. The premise is that 20 percent of your employees are strong performers, 60 percent are average and the remaining 20 percent are weak, and perhaps even a threat to the productivity of the remaining 80 percent.
It’s generally accepted that it’s best not to mess with a good thing: if your top 20 percent are performing well, be very slow to make any changes that could disrupt their productivity. Likewise, it’s often futile to try to improve the bottom 20 percent. However, within the middle 60 percent may be a large well of individuals who have the potential to increase their productivity and move into the upper 20 percent. The key is to determine why they’re in the middle group. Is it because of a lack of drive, desire, aptitude or work ethic? If so, there may be little you can do to change that. If, on the other hand, it’s because of a lack of training or education, offering such employees the necessary training may be all that’s needed to help them move up and transition to a high-performer.
A useful tool in determining the best candidates, either when hiring or training, is a personality test. There are several tests – such as Affintus or Myers Briggs— that are widely used in the industry, and they can be a valuable asset in determining where a person is best suited to work. For example, a studiously methodical individual may be outstanding in a logistics role, but never realize their full potential in a sales position. Likewise, an individual with a demonstrated potential to step back, see the big picture and inspire others may be excellent as a team leader, but languish in a logistics or tech support position.
Regardless of whether you hire from the outside or train from within, having the best people on your payroll can make all the difference between being an average company or a major-league contender. Learn what to look for and you’ll soon find yourself leading a team of high-performers.
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About Curt Finch
Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Journyx is not your average software company. We strive to be relentlessly creative and to build tools that help you spend your time on things that matter. After all, time is all we have. Founded in 1996, Journyx offers customers two solutions to reach the highest levels of…