Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

3 Steps for Finding Your Next Top Performer

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

"Average" employees are costing your company more money than you think.

While some of these employees might have left on their own accord in the past, today they’re toughing it out – and inadvertently restricting your company’s performance instead of elevating it.

Not convinced? We recently worked with a growing franchise organization in the remodeling industry to identify “top performers” to run their franchises. What we found was that the average monthly sales for the franchises run by top performers were more than $100,000 greater than those run by the average, run-of-the mill managers.

Related: Your Secret to Hiring a Kick-Ass Team

The franchises run by the average managers were still bringing in revenue ($151,716 every month vs. $259,200 from the locations run by top performers). But in looking at the big picture, the company was losing millions of dollars every month in potential sales. Beyond that, they were also losing an opportunity to create a collaborative, energetic culture that only occurs when employees are truly engaged in their work.

So why are companies getting stuck with average in the first place?

First, managers are getting trapped by the resume – or by what someone claims to have done – rather than uncovering what someone could do. Second, and equally important, many managers do not know how to recognize and develop the potential of their current employees. So, they inadvertently typecast them, rather than envision new possibilities for their roles.

This stagnant cycle not only shortchanges an employee from doing a job he or she may love, but could keep a good worker from being a great asset.

Related: Millennial Managers Seen as 'Entitled'

Blueprint for Success

Finding your next top performers is not as difficult as most would think, but it does require time and patience. Following are three steps for consideration:

1) Analyze what your current top performers have that distinguishes them. What capabilities do they possess that separates them from the rest? Are they assertive, persuasive and driven to achieve? 

2) Consider an in-depth personality profile for assessing prospective employees. This can provide the insights you need into whether an applicant or current employee has the potential and competencies to step into the position you need filled.

3) Schedule open conversations with employees around their strengths. This will allow you to carve out individual growth paths for each opposed to “standardizing” a path for them. Remember why there’s always a picture of flowers on a packet of seeds: We don’t want to know what the seeds look like; we want to know what they will become. 

Keep this in mind the next time you evaluate a candidate or current employee for a role – and focus on the possibilities the future can hold. 

Related: How to Uncover Exceptional Talent

Written By

Herb Greenberg, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO and Patrick Sweeney is president of talent consultancy Caliper. They co-authored How to Hire and Develop Your Next Top Performer (McGraw-Hill, 2003).