Achieving A Successful Workforce Through High Performers

Dr. Ryan Giffen

High-performing employees are every company’s dream. Most invest in identifying what drives motivation and implementing initiatives that help increase productivity. Yet, people who go the extra mile and actively strive toward success are still a rarity. After all, that requires substantial effort, determination, and commitment.

These professionals can be more selective when choosing their employers and enjoy higher salaries. They are a rarity, and it’s no surprise that large organizations and enterprises would love to have them. But high performers can deliver 400 percent more productivity than the average ones. However, according to an SAP and Oxford Economics study, they made up only 40 percent of respondents. Therefore, being one gives you higher odds of promotion and career advancement. It also makes you more satisfied with your job and happy with your daily tasks.

If you’re unhappy with your reviews and feedback, don’t let that hold you back from doing more. No one is born successful. You can get to that level if you adopt healthy habits and commit to your goals. However, it’s crucial to understand what makes employees high-performing.

Top 5 Characteristics of High Performing Workers

Successful employees go the extra mile at work. They don’t necessarily work longer hours because they have stellar time management and can get more done in a short time. These individuals are goal-oriented but often go beyond their initial objectives. Moreover, they’re self-starters and enjoy taking on new challenges. Calculated risks are their forte as high-performing employees forecast the potential impacts of their actions. But despite being top achievers, they love sharing their success with others and helping others succeed. These individuals always think of what’s best for their team and find ways to improve their workplaces. They embrace their achievements but also acknowledge other people’s accomplishments. People love having high performers in the team because they continuously champion their coworkers and share their tricks and tips. Here are the most common traits of these individuals.

High Competence Level

They might not start that way, but high-performing employees become competent and build expertise. These individuals know their profession in detail but are keen on learning more. Challenging tasks thrill them because they perceive them as challenges and allow them to leverage their skills. Moreover, successful employees keep up with industry trends and strive to understand novel tech improvements.

Thanks to that, high-performing employees understand their employer’s instructions or can work independently. But the truth is, they prefer taking the initiative and suggesting new ideas instead of waiting for guidance.

Kind and Respectful

Some companies are willing to keep rockstar employees despite their ill-intentioned behavior, but most wouldn’t. A positive attitude and respectful communication are among the key values of high-performing employees. They understand the power of words and use them wisely. Because of that, successful workers will never act superior to others or undermine their coworkers.

These individuals are confident in their skills and experience. Hence, they would never turn to rumors or inaccurate advice because they fear someone could endanger their position.

Consistent and Committed

High-performing employees continuously put the maximum effort into their tasks. They strive to be better every day and contribute to their team and workplace. Constructive routine is the best friend of successful employees, and they stick to their schedules. Thanks to that, their coworkers and managers can rely on them and be confident they’ll complete their assignments.

Lifelong Learners

Some people do their tasks for the paycheck. Successful employees typically do it because work enriches their lives. These individuals love the process of obtaining novel skills and expanding their knowledge database. They continuously learn new things, not strictly work-related. High-performing employees keep their brains sharp and never feel out of touch with innovation. Moreover, they use career growth opportunities and upskilling programs to add more excitement to their professional lives and reinforce expertise.

Seek Out Feedback

Constructive criticism might scare away some people, but not high-performing employees. These individuals are aware that helps them improve and become more well-rounded professionals. Hence, they’ll often encourage managers and coworkers to give them feedback and tell them how they could do their jobs better. Successful employees aren’t vain or think that they know everything best.

Instead, they understand that excellence is a journey, not a destination.

10 Habits of High Performers

Intrinsic motivation isn’t enough to continuously be high-performing. That’s why you should adopt habits that will help you maintain drive and productivity.

Here are the most common habits successful people have.

1. They Adjust Their Schedules Regularly

High-performing employees know that efficient schedules are flexible. Although they have their daily routine, they are adaptable. Instead,

these individuals calculate how much time they need for each activity and adjust their schedules. However, they plan their agenda at least a day before.

Surprises and procrastination are the worst enemies of high performers. Because of that, they never delay their responsibilities or leave them for another time. These professionals complete their tasks promptly and enjoy ticking things off their to-do lists.

2. They Think and Plan Ahead

Reasonable schedules require thinking ahead. Successful employees have a future-oriented mindset and anticipate assignments and projects. They pay attention to the current projects and business needs. Thanks to that, these individuals can envision what comes next. That includes the skills they will need in the future. Thus, high-performing employees map out future goals timely and focus on adopting the necessary knowledge. As a result, it’s nearly impossible to catch them off guard. These professionals stay ahead of assignments and ensure they have time for everything.

3. They Avoid Multitasking

Thinking that you can perform multiple assignments simultaneously without affecting the quality is a one-way ticket to failure. Although it’s admirable to want to multitask and handle various challenges, it’s impossible. Successful employees know that. Because of that, they direct their efforts toward one project and don’t stop until completing it. Moreover, these individuals can determine their priorities and complete the urgent tasks first. After all, they know that multitasking hinders performance and results in sub-optimal results.

4. They Share Their Ideas in Meetings

High-performing employees let no one’s rank intimidate them or stop them from sharing their viewpoints. They speak up in meetings and stand up for themselves. These individuals are confident and believe their input contributes to the team and workplace. However, they will also encourage others to share their ideas and ensure no one’s opinion is left out.

5. They Don’t Take on More Assignments Than They Can Handle

People often accept multiple tasks hoping that they can make it. Successful employees would rather miss out on a project than deliver below-average results. They also wouldn’t allow themselves to be late or go beyond the deadlines. Because of that, high-performing individuals anticipate how much time they need for each assignment and only take on the amount they know they can handle.

6. They Hold Themselves and Others Accountable

Successful employees take ownership of their lives, careers, and commitments. They assess their time wisely and hold themselves accountable for the way they manage their workday. Moreover, these individuals acknowledge when they fail to deliver results. Everyone makes mistakes, and high-performing people are no exception. But they never run away from their responsibilities or admit when they did something wrong. That means that they will stand tall when facing the aftermath of their errors.

High-performing employees also hold others accountable for their wrongdoings. They speak up and never take the fall for someone else’s failure and help others own up to their mistakes.

7. They Focus on One Thing at a Time

Successful people loathe scattering away their attention and focusing on multiple things simultaneously. They are present in the moment and notice subtleties. After receiving a new task, high-performing employees delve into details and identify the best ways to complete it efficiently. They understand that every assignment could impact their performance and success. Because of that, these professionals do one thing at a time, but they strive to do it with excellence. They often practice meditation, create mood boards, and visualize data to improve their ability to focus.

8. They Cheer Themselves Up

No one can be happy all the time. Successful people are no exception.

They also have depressive episodes, go down, and question themselves. However, these individuals have good emotional self-regulation capabilities and have learned how to cheer themselves up. Therefore, they know what they need to feel better and have healthy outlets when feeling miserable. Thanks to that, high-performing employees never allow their feelings to disrupt their work. If they need time off to heal, they will take it. These individuals nurture their mental health and understand that until they calm their restless minds, they won’t be efficient at work.

9. They Ask for Help When Necessary

It is no shame to ask for help. Successful employees know when they can’t complete a task alone or need assistance understanding a project. They aren’t afraid to ask coworkers or managers for help and understand how that benefits the company. Instead of struggling with an assignment, high-performing individuals reach out for support or ask for tips on how to do something.

10. They Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Burnout is damaging for employees, teams, and employers. Employees must draw a clear line between work and personal life. High-performing individuals rarely go beyond their work hours. They finish their assignments promptly to have more free time. Hobbies, family, and time for themselves are sacred to successful employees. However, that feeds their intrinsic motivation and helps them recharge their energy, leading to better performance and results.


Every company wants successful staff and regularly invests in recruiting high performers. Although employers have a significant role in developing efficient and productive workers, employees should also commit to delivering stellar results and reaching their goals. However, determination and accomplishments don’t come overnight. It starts with adopting healthy and constructive habits that drive success.

About Dr. Ryan Giffen

With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Ryan Giffen is an expert in human relations and business culture. His career began in hospitality, leading operations and human resource departments for Fortune 500 companies and the like. Not long after, Ryan found his passion for teaching and consulting. He earned a Ph.D. in Hospitality Management with a Human Resources focus from Iowa State University and now works as an assistant professor at California State University, Long Beach. For over a decade, he continues to research and speak on organizational culture, relationship intelligence, and leadership effectiveness. Ryan is also the founder of Inospire, a company helping bosses and employees build stronger relationships with one another. Lastly, Dr. Giffen is thr producer and host of the Corporate Shadow Podcast, a show helping everyday employees build stronger relationships with their bosses and organizations.