3 Secrets for Turning Your Team Into High Performers

High performance is one of the most coveted values in companies of all sizes, and for good reason. It’s high performance that yields superior results. However, it doesn’t work like you think.

A study of several Fortune 500 companies showed that simply hiring high performers does not turn your team into high performers. There are key things that you need to do to create a high performing team. It’s only under your leadership and guidance that these practices can be put into place for your teams. Here are three of the most effective things you can do for building a high performing team.

Commitment to Growth Practices

Employees want to grow, but there are specific ways to support the development of your team members that are more likely to increase engagement and productivity while decreasing turnover. A study published in the Human Resource Management Journal found that tuition reimbursement isn’t cutting it anymore and actually led to more employees having the intention to leave the company (unless they were promoted once getting a degree through a tuition reimbursement program). If you want to support your team’s growth, passive techniques are only going to shoot you in the foot. Here’s what to do instead.

Create customized growth experiences that will emotionally bond your employees to the company, to the team, and to you as the leader. One of the reasons tuition-reimbursement isn’t as effective as custom growth experiences is because of the level of detachment those programs offer. When the company is not truly invested in the growth of their employees, their team members don’t develop strong company loyalty because the emotional transaction piece is missing from the equation. So when you’re looking to support the growth of your employees, implement programs based on your team’s strengths, interests, and promotability.

The best ways to do this are by:

  • Bringing in professionals that can train your team in house
  • Taking your team to a training
  • Or hiring an expert to develop a training program you will run within the company

Here’s what each one looks like:

By bringing in a consultant or professional to train your team in house, you get an objective set of eyes on your team, while training your team in their home environment. Consultants can usually see the holes and stuck points with more ease and efficiency because they are more objective. On top of that, by hosting the training in your employee’s home environment, they are able to learn and apply the information in their daily space, which will support retention and new habit building.

When you take your team to a training, you shake things up, which can allow your team to pay closer attention to what’s happening. They’re in an unusual environment and likely doing something that makes them uncomfortable, which heightens their senses. It also gives your team the opportunity to bond if they’re doing activities that require them to rely on each other.

If you decide to hire an expert to create a training program that will be run by an employee of your company, then you have the opportunity to make the training a regular part of your onboarding and employee development process. This ensures that your team is being trained and developed in the way that best works for your company.

Strengthening your team by focusing on their weaknesses actually sets you up for failure and turnover. A Gallup study by Flade, Asplund, and Elliot (2015) shows “that people who use their strengths every day are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit their jobs.” So focusing all of your training around your team’s weaknesses will not help you build a high performing team.

Instead, focus on training that will help your team work together using their strengths, as well as training that your employees have expressed interest in. Topics like team building, leadership, communication, emotional intelligence, and relationship building are powerful for teams because they focus on core skills that can emotionally bond your employees together while helping them learn how to work together more efficiently. If you’re not sure what kind of employee development training to start with, ask your team what would get them excited.

One of the biggest barriers to high performance is feeling like an outsider. High performing teams share a vision and work together to reach their goals. When you have employees who don’t feel like they belong or like they’re being excluded by their teammates in some way, it’s difficult for that employee to give you their best and rise as a high performer.

To combat this, you have to create a company culture that values and rewards inclusivity. It’s not enough to simply state that inclusivity is important to you. This means possible shifts in how your leadership team interacts with your employees, and the types of behaviors you reward and condone in your company. For example, competitive environments where employees are pit against one another to see which one will get a certain project will strengthen the divide between your people. Likewise, managers that focus more on criticism than rewards are more likely to alienate their employees.

If you want your employees to work well together and give their all to the company, then you have to make them feel valued and important. Without that intrinsic motivation, you’ll struggle with employee loyalty and turnover.