Being seen as a top performer, also referred to as ‘top talent’, means different things in different businesses. Generally, however, these highly desirable individuals are in the top 1%-5% of staff within a company.
The business community, including HR and recruitment teams, talks extensively about “top talent” – how to attract it, develop it, engage with it, and retain it. There are huge advantages to being identified as top talent, including: career fast-tracking; working on the best projects; the highest remuneration and befit packages, etc.
What, however, if you're working hard but you're not rising through the ranks or attracting your manager’s attention? Could displaying the traits of a top performer and adding extra value to your business improve your standing? In this article, we’ll explore five ways to be recognised as top talent in your business.
Top five key qualities of a top candidate
To some degree, the answer to this question is subjective, depending on a particular business’s needs, leadership, the ability of a manager to spot talent, and culture. To a larger degree, however, the answer isn’t subjective at all. When top talent is in action, most of us have no trouble recognising it but it is never the work of a moment and needs to be considered in terms of longer-term career planning.
Typically, candidates who operate at the highest levels, tend to demonstrate these five key qualities.
1. They are adaptable.
Top performers don't wait for someone to tell them to do a task. They begin new assignments before they are told, look for work to fill spare time, explore ways to solve problems or challenges, see new opportunities, volunteer for extra tasks, and can work well with little supervision. They anticipate what needs to be done and make suggestions for how to add value, do things better, and work more efficiently. They act like a leader even when it may not be their job.
2. They solve problems.
Unlike average performers, you can count on top performers to "get it." They strive to understand the organisation's direction and goals and think beyond their immediate job. So, when problems inevitably arise, they don’t hesitate to work a problem through to come up with a solution - they'll be creative, innovative, and inspiring. They may suggest enhancements to other areas of the company, help co-workers or other departments, and align their objectives and priorities with those of the business. They display an interest in helping the organisation move forward and ask for opportunities to support that.
3. They collaborate.
While top performers are considered to be the leaders and trailblazers of tomorrow, they get along with others. They can collaborate with colleagues and are cooperative with the needs of their team and the wider business. They care about and are willing to pitch in and help their colleagues, balancing both team and individual priorities. They cultivate positive relationships with co-workers and customers, actively participate, communicate constructively, and are consistent and reliable.
4. They are genuine.
Those on the road to top talent status have confidence in their abilities without ever being arrogant. They have integrity, and as a result, can be trusted by their peers and superiors. They can be counted on to exhibit the highest degree of respect, ethics, and honesty. They communicate and act with sincerity and dependability, doing what they say they will do. People consider them to be genuine individuals with the right motives.
5. They lead.
Are leaders born, or made? To be a truly effective leader, it's both, however, true leaders always stand out quite naturally. They usually don't need to be motivated in order to get the job done and done well. They typically have a purpose, set their goals high, and are persistent in reaching them. They will step up to the mark when their input will move everybody forward, and step back when that is the right move for success, allowing others to shine.
6. Other traits
You can also consider: seriousness, commitment, competence, creativity, curiosity, competitiveness, analytical skills, and emotional intelligence.
Standing out as top talent may seem out of reach, however, rest assured that your managers are actively and eagerly looking for the qualities within you that will enable you to thrive within your current organisation.
If you are trying to achieve great things in your career, it's critically important to present yourself in the best ways. That being said, top talent needs the right businesses, cultures, or managers to flourish. So, if you’re not feeling engaged or valued, could it be time for a new challenge?
About CGC Recruitment
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We connect our candidates and clients, who are looking to recruit outstanding professionals at all levels in infrastructure, construction, project management, engineering, consulting, development, and project management.
If you’re looking for a new challenge, get in touch with CGC and one of our experienced consultants will be happy to help.