GCE Strategic Consulting

Blog - GCE Consultant's Insight

The blog that shares our expertise and perspective for driving business transformation, based on the successes and failures we've seen everywhere from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

Topgrading Your Staff

 In this article, we are going to talk about “Topgrading” your team and its importance as part of the Complete Sales System.  This is a term you’ll hear a lot of senior leaders speak to, and I know that in a lot of smaller companies the employees often view this as threatening.  This doesn’t have to be the case, if done correctly topgrading will not only be seen positively, but the employees you want to retain will support it.For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, topgrading is a practice whereby a company creates the highest quality workforce by ensuring that talent acquisition and talent management processes focus on identifying, hiring, promoting, and retaining high performers at every salary level.Hundreds of companies are topgrading their staffs including GE, HP, Honeywell, and many others.  Too few smaller companies do this, mainly because they fail to understand the importance of it.  There are many calculators out there to figure out the costs, such as: https://www.accountingprincipals.com/employers/employer-resources/cost-of-bad-hire-calculator/This calculator is standard and straightforward.  Let's say you are hiring a VP of sales in high tech and their OTE is $350k. Once you add in a recruiting fee and lost opportunity cost you can easily exceed $2M.  This doesn’t account for factors such as a decline in morale and disengagement from those reporting to them, and/or bad business decisions.  You can see how a small startup company can quickly go out of business if they make a couple of bad hires.Here are a few simple suggestions when it comes to topgrading employees:

  • Be transparent and make it a part of the culture.
  • Help everyone understand the process and benefits of topgrading.
  • Plan ahead, set a specific time of the year to go through this process.

You will find that when you make it public and well known, it’s no longer a shock to people. Transparency is crucial so those you lead understand it and will respect you more.  Be clear about the abundant benefits.When you topgrade and keep the basics above in mind, company performance can go up dramatically along with employee engagement.  Your A & B players will thrive in this environment because:

  • They are on a team without dead weight and no longer have to pick up the slack.
  • The C players and below are no longer harmful and a distraction to those who push to be at the top of their game.
  • Topgrading drives performance and improves results across your company. All the employees tied to a company bonus or equity will make more money.

Topgrading shouldn’t be viewed as coldhearted or not caring for your employees. Those who truly don’t understand it may be too focused on not hurting feelings, when in fact it’s a tool to motivate, retain, and improve the engagement of your best employees. The result is that you’re taking care of the greater good of the company.Deliverables Sample:

  • Key criteria for Top Grading
  • When & how to Top Grade
  • Messaging to staff and company and benefits to them

If you would like some additional help in this area, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me www.gcestrategicconsulting.com .  Our next article will look at “People.”