“Most everyone, regardless of their sector reports working like dogs -- at least 60 hours a week and 80 hours or more was common -- and they are much more likely to be given the opportunity to work up to their potential. Here's the obvious point about these high performers. They all quit their last job. You might imagine that they planned to quit at some point, and no doubt that's true for many of them. But what the exams this year show is how many people quit because they were unhappy.
“And what's interesting is why they were unhappy. It wasn't the usual ‘I hate my boss’ or even ‘I don't fit.’ It was about questions of fairness. Virtually all the people reporting on the reason they left their last jobs said it was because of some injustice concerning rewards and recognition.”
Some injustice concerning rewards and recognition. Top performers – as described in this article, engaged employees – willingly giving discretionary effort, working up to their potential. All quit. Because of “injustice” in rewards and recognition.
While we strongly advocate opening the opportunity for recognition to all, when such a structure is managed strategically the top performers automatically rise to the top as the most recognized and rewarded through the system as they are the ones who most often display the behaviors worthy of recognition. In this way, strategic recognition encourages all employees to perform at their best, in alignment with your values and focused on your objectives, but it also ensures those who really are the elite are continually recognized as such.
Cappelli concludes the article:
“What's interesting about this is what it says about modern organizations. We have created an operating model that allows and may even need superstar individual contributors. But the organizations themselves are still social entities based around teams and collaboration.
“And in those social entities, norms of fairness develop that aren't the same as simply paying for individual performance. So we create stars and then frustrate them.”
Why not encourage more stars and praise them instead? How are you treating your top performers?