More Bang for Your Buck: Top Performers 3x More Valuable

Aug. 2, 2017 — It's true. Top performers really do work smarter. Not only are they three times more valuable to an organization than the average employee, but they manage stress better, despite the higher workload and productivity.

A recent study by VitalSmarts of 1,594 hiring managers and employees shows that employees rated as nine or 10 on the performance scale are responsible for 61% of the total work done in their departments.

In addition, these high performers know how to cope; 83% of managers and 77% of peers say a high performer's work habits actually reduce his/her stress.

The following are respondents' descriptions of the differences in communication practices and work habits between top and average performers:

  • Top Performers: "Ask for help", "Not afraid to ask questions", "Know who to go to", "Know when to ask."
  • Average Performers: "Lack of communication", "Slow to respond", "Don't listen", "Complain."
  • Top Performers: "Organized", "Good time management", "Attention to detail", "To do lists", "Keep track of", "Block time on their calendar", "Prioritize", "Stay on top of their work."
  • Average Performers: "Not enough time", "Lack of attention", "No follow through", "Too busy", "Late", "Disorganized", "Don't meet deadlines", "Not on task."

"The message in this research is that a very small number of self-management practices literally change a person's life and are also beneficial to the organization," said David Maxfield, one of the researchers on the study. "They dramatically improve performance while also reducing stress."

Here are five productivity practices culled from the survey information of top performing employees:

  1. Collect everything that owns your attention. Capture all commitments, tasks, ideas and projects rather than keeping them in your head. Use just a few "capture tools" you keep with you all the time such as lists, apps, email, etc.
  2. Decide what your stuff means to you. Clarify if the items you've captured have an action or not. If they do, be very clear about what the next action is and who should take it.
  3. Use the two-minute rule. If an action can be completed in two minutes or less, do it immediately. Don't defer. The time you'll waste letting these simple actions occupy your attention and to-do list is not worth it — two minutes becomes your efficiency cutoff.
  4. Do more of the right things by reflecting in the right moments. Rather than diving into your messy inbox first thing, take two minutes to review your calendar and your action lists. This reflection ensures you make the best decisions about how to use your time.
  5. Review weekly. Keep a sacred, non-negotiable meeting with yourself every week to align your daily work and projects with your higher-level priorities.



Contents © 2017 WorldatWork. For more information, contact the Copyright Department at WorldatWork.

Have Questions?


+1 877 951 9191

USA and Canada

+1 480 951 9191

Other Countries


Email Us