Top Performers vs. Critical Performers: Semantics or Meaningful Distinction?
What is the difference between top performers and critical performers, if any? —Taking Stock, wholesale trade, Seattle
Dear Taking Stock:
Top performer status is conferred on employees whose quantity and quality results significantly exceed expectations. Critical performer status is a designation of a job, not the person in it, and is based upon the relative importance of a position to the organization’s success.
All organizations have critical performer positions that must function effectively if the company is to attain its desired results. Executive positions are critical to the overall performance of a business. Business organizations rarely outperform their leaders.
Any job that could powerfully impact a company qualifies for this designation, however. Example: I know of a small local factory that has only one shipper and receiver because its dock is tiny. This position is a pinch point in the factory’s operations. Anything less than acceptable performance by the shipper shuts the factory down or delays outbound shipments.
A job that is critical to performance today may not be in the future. The opposite is also true. The factory above is in the process of increasing the size of its dock and adding staff to reduce dependence on the single position.
Organizations should identify not only their top individual performers but also their critical performer positions. Both require special treatment.
Top performers should be recognized and rewarded for their excellence. Review critical performer positions to ensure that retention, performance development and related strategies properly align with the needs of the organization. Underpay them or neglect training and the employee may bolt, leaving you with a real mess on your hands.
SOURCE: Rick Galbreath, Performance Growth Partners Inc., Bloomington, Illinois
LEARN MORE: Although companies usually can name their star employees, many have trouble hanging onto them.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.