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Unlocking the Secrets of High Performers: A Data-Driven Approach

Unlock high performer secrets through data-driven talent strategies. Discover how skills data can help identify top talent, develop employees and accelerate workforce effectiveness across the organization.


In the quest to maintain an edge, one of an enterprise’s most vital resources is its workforce. The last five years, however, have

High-performing employees are the backbone of any successful organization. But what makes them so special, and how can companies cultivate more like them? Traditionally, organizations rely on subjective measures or intuition when it comes to finding and developing these star performers. 

However, a data-driven approach powered by skills data can revolutionize the game for HR, learning and development (L&D) and strategic workforce planning leaders. Harnessing skills data allows you to engineer growth by replicating the success of your best across your entire organization. 

The Power of High Performers 

Studies reveal the astonishing impact of high performers. They can be 400% more productive than average employees. This gap widens significantly in complex jobs, where high performers boast an 800% increase in productivity. 

In addition, top-performing employees exert a positive influence beyond their individual roles. Their work ethic, commitment to excellence and ability to consistently exceed expectations foster a workplace culture where everyone is inspired to strive for their best. 

But high-performing individuals aren't just productivity stars and ideal role models – they can offer organizations a template for success. By identifying and analyzing their capabilities and mindsets through data-driven strategies, companies can unlock the secrets to achieving excellence. 

Skills Data: The Key to Understanding High Performers 

Data-driven companies gain a significant edge over their competitors. Compared to others, companies that use data management tools to make decisions are 58% more likely to achieve their revenue goals and 162% more likely to significantly surpass them. 

With metrics like these, it’s no wonder that leading companies are shifting from guesswork to informed talent management choices using objective measures like skills data. 

Skills data goes beyond descriptions of work history to create a comprehensive picture of an individual or group's capabilities. It includes hard skills, like software development or project management, and soft skills like teamwork and problem-solving. 

Skills data highlights common denominators among the skills, traits and behaviors of high performers. Analysis of this information helps companies understand what makes high performers tick. Here's how: 

  • Providing unbiased, detailed insights: Analyzing objective skills assessments, digital credentials and other metrics reveals the skills and traits—not just job titles or education—that are linked to high performance. 
  • Revealing hidden patterns: Identifying patterns and trends within top talent uncovers previously unseen connections. Data also allows for comparison across roles and departments to discover correlations between specific skills and high performance. 
  • Spotting potential: Skills data analysis can highlight employees with the potential to be high performers, even if they don’t have much visibility in the organization.  

Identify Power Skills with Skill Assessments 

As one source of robust skills data, comprehensive assessments are a powerful tool for discovering top-talent competencies hidden within a workforce. Assessments go beyond résumés and dive deep into a range of hard and soft skills, aptitude, personality and motivation. By administering them to current employees and potential hires, organizations gain valuable insights into people’s strengths and areas for development. 

And here’s an additional payoff: Assessments allow companies to tease out the presence of the skills that make high performers shine. This data-driven approach transforms talent management by: 

Measuring hard and soft skills of existing employees and correlating these to performance metrics 

  • Benchmarking candidates and employees against ideal skill profiles of high performers in various roles 
  • Making smarter hiring decisions by identifying candidates who possess the skills that indicate future success in specific roles 
  • Planning leadership pipelines by identifying internal talent with the right skill set for leadership 
  • Optimally investing in development initiatives by tailoring training to address individual and team skill gaps. 

By identifying the skills that drive high performance, employers can strategically optimize their workforce through better hiring and developing current employees. 

 Personalized Development Plans to Cultivate High Performers 

Individually tailored L&D plans are crucial for building a workforce capable of sustained high performance. By identifying skill gaps and aligning development with the characteristics of top performers, these plans offer several benefits: 

  • Precision in skill development: Personalized learning paths allow for targeted training that addresses specific skill deficiencies, promoting efficient growth and development tied to the traits of top performers. 
  • Optimized resource allocation: Companies can maximize return on investment (ROI) by focusing on training that will have the most impact on performance objectives. 
  • Enhanced employee satisfaction: Most employees are eager to learn. Flexible, personalized learning plans cater to individual goals and preferences and help employees complete training with plans that accommodate busy lifestyles. 
  • Increased employee engagement and retention: Demonstrating a commitment to individual employee development demonstrates an investment in employees, leading to improved retention and loyalty. Employees with development opportunities are 15% more engaged and have a 34% higher retention rate than those without. 

Drawing Blueprints to Scale Success 

A company’s workforce is one of its most valuable assets. Compared to companies that focus solely on financial performance, organizations that pair a strong fiscal focus with talent development have more consistent earnings, according to McKinsey research. Over time, they are roughly 1.5 times more likely to outperform in profitability and shareholder returns and have about half the earnings volatility. 

The ability to replicate the winning traits of high performers across various roles and departments presents a remarkable opportunity to optimize human capital investments.  

Analyzing top-performer data allows organizations to create a success blueprint outlining the ideal skills mix for high performance. The blueprint can then:  

  • Serve as a foundation for tailored training programs. Companies can replace generic development with initiatives that precisely target the hard and soft skills proven to lead to excellence. 
  • Revolutionize recruiting by screening candidates against ideal skill profiles. This increases the likelihood of hiring people with the potential to become top performers. 
  • Empower organizations to identify employees with untapped potential – those who may possess the right core skills but need targeted development to excel further. 

The Data-Powered Future 

In a constantly changing business landscape, skills data is more crucial than ever before. By embracing a data-driven approach – powered by assessments, digital credentials, robust L&D programs, and AI – companies can transform the way they attract, develop and deploy talent. 

Connected platforms like Faethm, Pearson TalentLens, and Credly offer powerful skills analytics that transform HR and workforce development. Helping you to align your talent strategy with broader business goals. 

Ready to harness the power of skills data for sustained growth?