Hard working versus high performing employees

Written by  Doug Brown 25 November 2009
Most people work hard but not everyone is considered to be a high performer. Is the difference the results achieved? Possibly! Hard work is one contributing factor to high performance but does not guarantee results. Companies definitely want hard working employees but high performers and results drive business success and growth.

Companies will pay handsomely for high performers with various perks, rewards and benefits. Let’s take a closer look at the difference.

  • Hard workers accomplish their tasks and responsibilities whereas high performers do so with increased efficiencies and continual efforts to improve.
  • Hard workers interact daily with colleagues whereas as high performers strive to support, help and improve their colleague’s performance and results.
  • All employees sometimes get frustrated and upset when things don’t go as planned yet high performers manage to avoid blaming others and maintain a positive attitude and enthusiasm towards their job and colleagues.  
  • Hard workers get the products produced on time, yet high performers often take the additional steps necessary to ensure products are top quality and without defects.
  • Hard workers often provide extra effort whereas high performers exhibit high energy and initiative to carry out their responsibilities and all extra tasks required.
  • Hard workers focus on completing their jobs or tasks and high performers also do but regularly offer suggestions on improvements, cost cutting ideas to bring new efficiencies to the workplace.
  • Hard workers can sometimes get caught up in their own responsibilities whereas high performers also contribute to the bigger picture seeking win/win solutions for everyone involved.
  • All employees face challenges and setbacks in efforts to achieve company goals yet high performers achieve and surpass company goals despite obstacles.
  • Hard workers look after customer needs whereas high performers understand the critical importance of pleasing customers and it is this willingness and “effort to please” that builds strong and profitable customer relationships.
  • Hard workers put in there required workday happily whereas high performers constantly act as company advocates; in social situations, in the community, clubs and associations etc. This advocacy helps attract new talent and introduce new clients to the company.
  • Hard workers can get down and stressed when faced with change and company challenges whereas high performers understand the need for change to compete effectively in the marketplace and more easily adapt to and support change.  
  • Hard workers and high performers sometimes leave for new careers but the reality is high performers are much more costly to replace when they leave.

High performers bring their companies added value, in many cases with the same training or comparable wages as a hard worker. This can be through higher skills, better alignment, increased engagement, etc. With increasing competition, all customers seek added value in the products and services they need!

High performers typically account for only 20% of the workforce. If a company can raise the engagement level of the 60% of moderately engaged employees even a few percentage points (such as 10-15%) to develop more skills or focus on company goals it can pay huge dividends to the overall organization.  It is incumbent on employers to create the right environment for employees to raise their performance levels and be the best that they can be. Successful leaders and companies find ways to encourage, nurture and cultivate the attitudes and behaviors they require.

Doug Brown is President of DBC Marketing Inc. Doug can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 519-656-1066. DBC Marketing (www.dbcmarketing.ca) provides strategies and solutions to companies that engage with employees and increase productivity.
Last modified on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 06:03

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