It Pays to Get it Right: Why Employers Should Focus on Top Performers

It Pays to Get it Right: Why Employers Should Focus on Top Performers


It should be no surprise that top performers contribute more to an organization’s bottom line than the average employee. Top performers are those employees that drive change, lead others and produce outstanding results. Studies have shown that 10% of productivity comes from an organization’s top 1% of employees and 26% of output is done by the top 5%. Additionally, McKinsey’s “The State of Organizations in 2023” report found that when top performers are put against average employees in the same role, the highest performers are 800% more productive.

However, there is a gap of top performers and the roles they are in. McKinsey research shows that, in many organizations, between 20 and 30 percent of critical roles aren’t filled by the most appropriate people. This miss can cost organizations time, money and overall productivity over time.

Georgianna Rhoda, Director of Recruiting at Hunter International Recruiting has over a decade of experience working with Fortune 500 organizations on attracting, hiring and retaining top performers. She explains, “A top performer can have a tremendous impact on an organization. What many don’t know is that they can usually be identified early, sometimes as early-on as the recruitment process.” Rhoda continues, “Organizations that prioritize strategies to bring in top performers from their initial recruitment sourcing process, throughout the interview stage and during their time with the company will end up ahead of their competition.”

Read on for five essential tips for organizations to bring in top performers.

1. Assess Current Top Performers

Before organizations can bring in top performers, they need to identify what it means to be a top performer at their organization. Studies have shown that top performers have characteristics such as problem-solving abilities, drive, self-direction and strategic thinking, to name a few. However, what makes someone successful at one organization may not be the same at another organization. Because of this, companies who want to bring in high performers should identify and analyze their current top performers. Companies should consider the experiences and traits that make them successful in their role. They can evaluate their paths by asking questions such as, “What is their prior experience?” “What has their journey at this organization been like?” Additionally, interviewing colleagues or managers can provide insights into the characteristics of those high performing individuals. From there, the organization can identify the traits, skills and abilities that make an individual highly productive on their team.

2. Build a Solid Employer Brand

An employer brand can be thought of as the ways in which candidates view a company as an employer. This can include thoughts about workplace culture, employee benefits and career opportunities. Beyond informing candidates of an organization, a strong employer brand also has been linked to attracting quality employees. A LinkedIn study reported that 80% of talent acquisition managers believe that employer branding has a significant impact on the ability to hire great talent. Employer branding efforts can also help an organization get in front of more job seekers and in turn, can increase applicant pools. Some qualities of a strong employer brand include an effective careers website, accurate job descriptions and content related to workplace culture, among others. Taking a strategic approach to employer branding can pay off in big ways in the long run.

3. Re-imagine The Recruitment Process

An organization’s recruitment process is extremely important for bringing in quality candidates to an organization. Studies have shown that an outdated recruitment process can be costly and time-consuming. To create a recruitment process that is not only streamlined, but enables the organization to attract top performers, companies will need to prioritize candidate experience, create effective sourcing strategies and construct an effective interview process. To start, organizations should have comprehensive job descriptions created that accurately depict job responsibilities, requirements as well as company culture and benefits. From there, the screening and interview process should include questions to assess a candidate’s capabilities, experience and potential as it relates to the characteristics and experience previously identified from current top performers. By focusing on those items, while having an open mind to bringing in differing personalities, organizations can have an edge in attracting top talent for their organization.

4. Rely on Recruitment Experts

Employers can certainly bring in top talent with their own teams, but may have a harder time getting in front of the right candidates. Recruitment organizations have tools, teams and resources that employers may not have access to. These organizations work on a company’s behalf to attract, source and screen candidates to find the best-fit talent for hiring organizations. When organization’s work with staffing firms, they can see a faster time to hire and an increase in the quality of candidates coming into their organization. Furthermore, organizations can choose from a variety of services to best fit their company. Some of these include temporary hires, temp-to-hire, direct hire or executive search.

5. Give Them a Reason to Stay

After an organization has spent the time and effort to bring in top talent through their recruitment process, they can maximize their investment by advancing company benefits, employee experience and company culture. These measures should be made as early on as the onboarding process. One study found that effective employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82%. Beyond their initial experience with the company, top performers may require more to stick around. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggests paying above-average salaries, showing appreciation, providing flexibility and offering growth opportunities to retain top performers. Overall, by giving employees a reason to stay, companies can reduce turnover and maximize retention of top team members.


Need help bringing in top talent? Learn more about Hunter’s workforce solutions!