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Culture: It’s more than jeans days and ice cream

October 16, 2015 Article 1 min read
Stan Hannah
Don't just focus on flashy perks to attract top minds. Appreciating and motivating high performers are just as, if not more, important.

Professionals networking at a mixer 

When you think of great organizational culture, you might go straight to the fun things: ice cream socials, jeans days, baseball outings, and holiday parties. But when it comes to motivating high performers, it’s not just perks and incentives, and it goes beyond encouraging words. You need to show staff you value their talents.

When you value staff, you’re setting expectations for high performance. These expectations are linked to a return on investment and, once you establish these high standards of performance, you continuously raise the bar.

So how do you show your staff you value their talents?

Know thyself.

Above all else, you must understand your company’s culture and goals. Before you can establish expectations for others, you must know your company’s vision and how you work. High performers need to know the direction of the company and their role in achieving its goals.

Provide autonomy.

The quickest way to extinguish talent and drive people to your competitors? Limit them to a confined box with a predetermined set of tools. By providing autonomy, people are free to bring their experiences and unique talents to each project. With freedom and flexibility, individuals are able to perform to their strengths.

Promote cognitive diversity.

Cross collaboration is key to high performance as it provides diversity of thought. Different perspectives energize and engage individuals to achieve a common goal. Consider establishing a thought forum where team members are brought together to share ideas and problem solve against your company’s collective brain trust.

Maintain your standard on talent.

The biggest obstacle to successful collaboration is not enough talent.High-performing individuals can be frustrated by the lack of talented colleagues to bounce ideas off of and equally frustrated if they feel they’re pulling more weight than others. Maintain your standard on talent by establishing clear accountability, and show your staff you value high performance by consistently investing in talent.

In many industries, talent is a scarcity. Don’t just focus on the flashy perks to attract top minds; retaining and motivating your high performers are just as, if not more, important.

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