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The Great Attraction: How to Attract and Retain High Performers

Based on our High Performance survey, the number one conversation in offices is "The Great Resignation", here at Twenty2 we are not fans of fear mongering so we want to change the narrative. Let's start talking about "The Great Attraction"… How do you attract the highest performing employees and how do you retain your high performers? Does happiness play a key role in this?

Employees have a significant impact on the success of a business, and high performers are even more important. According to the Harvard Business Review, “High-performing employees are 50% more productive than average workers.” In addition to being more effective, these employees also have a much higher retention rate. Recent studies by McKinsey show over 19 million US workers have quit their jobs since April 2021. To keep our high performers, it is important to do what you can to make them feel happy, appreciated and valued. Here are some tips for how to attract and retain your high performing team members.

The impact of the great resignation

The Harvard Business Review reported that people are “twice as likely to stay at employers who focus on their performance and happiness.” However, there is also a great attraction for the high performers to leave their jobs, the last two years has shifted our landscape significantly causing many people to rethink their circumstances.

The economic impact of the pandemic has, in some places, been brutal and every organisation is chasing the new normal and beyond. The key to getting back on track is people and the high performers will be those leading the way.

Why invest in high performing employees?

High performers are the key to success in any company. For each high performer you have, it is estimated that they will be 50% more productive than an average worker. They also have a much higher retention rate. Not only do these employees work hard and stay longer, but they’re also more efficient.

In order to retain high performers, organisations need to make them feel appreciated and valued for their efforts. One way to show appreciation is by giving them purpose and development opportunities. In addition to making them feel valued for what they do, it is important to ensure they feel happy at work. Making your employees feel happy will help retain high performers so long as you provide them with what they need on the job.

How to attract the high performing employees

The first step when it comes to attracting high performers is to have a clear culture identity. Employees are looking for culture fit over technical details. If you don’t have one, now is the time to create one.

In our emotional culture workshop you identify your cultural identity. You want to be specific in how you are describing what you are looking for in cultural fit to ensure you and your prospective employee align at the highest level. For example, if you are looking for someone with the ability to work flexibly and at varied hours such as night and weekends then say that in your cultural identity. That way, only people who want that type of lifestyle will apply and they will know ahead of time what is expected of them. When it comes to hiring, it is important to look for quality over quantity. This means that instead of hiring a lot of average employees, hire fewer high performers and be prepared to pay premium.

When interviewing, ensure you look for qualities like emotional intelligence and tenacity, because we need problem solving, communication and facilitation skills over technical abilities.

When making offers, it is important not to low ball the salary offer or employer benefits package because this will make your new hires feel unappreciated and undervalued from day one which could lead them to leave after just a short period of time on the job. You also need to be honest about what is expected from them on the job and how they will be evaluated during their probationary period so they know what they can expect before they start working with your company. Also, provide training opportunities so employees know all aspects of their new position before starting with your company so there are no surprises.

How to make your high performing employees happy

You should make, not only your high performers feel valued, but all your team members. Below are some suggestions:

  1. Be clear with your purpose. The highest performing organisations are shifting from output to outcome to impact. Alongside this having a clear purpose statement that your employees can align and contribute to will ensure longevity and commitment.

  2. Recognise their accomplishments: Don’t wait until the end of the year to give an annual review. If you see someone doing great work, recognise them and reward them accordingly.

  3. Offer opportunities for growth: A great idea is to empower someone with product/solution/service ownership. This is the closest to being an entrepreneur or a business owner. High performers usually want to learn and grow their skillsets. Make sure that if they come up with ideas or ask questions, you offer them the opportunity to grow within your company by offering training programs or new assignments.

  4. Give them challenging tasks but provide the support they need to be successful: As mentioned before, high performers want to challenge themselves. Provide them with new responsibilities so that they feel challenged, accomplished and fulfilled at work each day. This however doesn't mean sink or swim, we are in a competitive market and if an employee lacks support, they will find someone else willing to invest the time.

  5. Build a culture where everyone is valued: Employees who are listened to and respected are those that value their workplaces most. Find ways to implement those great suggestions and reward those that come up with the smart ideas. Offer benefits like paid training and development or flexible schedules for all employees instead of just "the best." This will let your high performers know that they are respected as equals in the office environment.


Think of your high performing employees as your most valuable asset. The best way to keep them happy is to invest in training, development through coaching, and reward. Investing in your employees will not only make them happier, it will also make them more productive and more loyal. This will lead to high performance. So who's with us and wants to join "The Great Attraction?"

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