Organizations are known to be focused on basic talent management – finding, recruiting and retaining top talent. However, to be successful, they need engaged, high-performing employees. The key to finding and retaining employees who become a high-performance workforce is by aligning your performance management with continuous improvement and proactive management.

Here are some methods that can help you out:

1. Hire the best by creating a systematic and documented hiring process.

  • Develop a job description for the potential hire describing their performance responsibilities.
  • Make sure to define the outcome you want from the person you wish to hire. 
  • Develop the largest pool of qualified candidates possible. (Search via professional associations, employee referrals, online job boards, personal contacts, social media networking sites such as LinkedIn, university departments, career services offices, search firms, job fairs, newspaper classifieds, etc.)
  • Devise a careful candidate selection process that includes culture match, testing, behavioral interview questions, customer interviews, tours of the work area, and “what would you do” questions about your actual workplace, to hire a high-performance workforce.
  • Perform appropriate background checks that include employment references, employment history, education, criminal records, credit history, drug testing and more.
  • Make an employment offer that confirms your position as an employer of choice.

2. Provide the direction and management needed to align the interests of your high-performance workforce with your organization’s goals.

  • Provide experienced effective supervisors who give clear direction and expectations, provide frequent feedback and demonstrate the commitment to staff success.
  • Company direction, goals, values, and vision are communicated frequently. 
  • You provide a motivating and empowering commitment-based work environment that is beneficial to employees. 

3. Provide training, education, and development.

  • The new employee orientation should give the new employee a complete understanding of the flow of the business and the nature of their work.

  • Provide ongoing technical, developmental, managerial, safety, lean manufacturing and/or workplace organization training and development regularly. Some experts recommend forty or more hours of training a year per person.
  • Develop a procedure-based, cross-training matrix for each position that includes employee skill testing and periodic, scheduled, on-the-job training and demonstration of capability.
  • Create jobs that enable a staff person to do all the components of a whole task, rather than pieces or parts of a process.
  • Develop a culture of learning through such activities as a team book club.

4. Hold Quarterly Performance Development Planning (PDPs) meetings that establish aligned direction, measurements, and goals.

  • Performance and productivity goals and measurements that support your organization’s goals are developed and written.
  • Personal development goals are agreed upon and written. These can range from attendance at a class to cross-training or a new job assignment.
  • Progress on the performance development goals is tracked for accomplishment via Human Resources.  

5. Provide a recognition and rewards system that recognizes people for their real contributions.

  • Provide equitable pay with a bias toward variable pay using such methods as bonuses and incentives. Whenever possible, pay above market. 
  • Develop a bonus system that recognizes accomplishments and contributions.
  • Design ways for employee recognition so they feel recognized and appreciated. These can be processes such as company periodic anniversary remembrances, awards, team recognition lunches and more. 
  • Provide a continually improving benefits package. 

6. Provide regular feedback.

  • Effective supervisory feedback means that people know how they are doing daily, via a posted measurement system, verbal or written feedback and meetings.
  • Develop a disciplinary system to help people improve areas in which they are not performing as expected. This system should be with measurements and timelines, and also regularly reviewed with the staff member.

7. Terminating the employment of the staff person if they are not working as expected.

  • If after effective orientations, trainings, clear expectations, coaching, feedback, support – your new staff person is failing to perform, termination of employment should be swift.
  • View every termination as an opportunity for your organization to analyze and improve its hiring, training, integrating, support and coaching practices and policies. 
  • Perform exit interviews with valued employees who leave. Debrief the same as you would a termination situation.