Nurturing the 80%


There’s so much on the blogosphere about how to motivate and retain your High Potential employees and top performers. This is great because you do want to retain the lot of them if you want to maintain and increase your competitive edge.

There is research to show that employers will actively seek out and reward their top 10% or 20%, because it is believed that that select group will be responsible for the bulk of their productivity and will outperform the rest of their counterparts.

This brings to mind the Pareto Principle which states that …roughly 80% of the effects will come form 20% of the causes.

Therefore it does make sense to nurture the top 20 %.  I definitely agree but will add a note of caution that while we must nurture and recognize the 20% it should not be to the detriment of the remaining 80.

Do not ignore the 80%.You still need the rest of the team to achieve a comprehensive output.

The focus should be on elevating the team to All star status via mentoring, knowledge sharing, and recognition. There is value to be gained from moving the 80% progressively from good to better and then best.

It involves investigation, digging deeper to discover the root causes and seeking out customized solutions. Are they in the wrong jobs ill-suited to their skills and competencies? Is mentoring and coaching required? Is it a case of a lack of awareness and ignorance? These are pertinent questions to consider in the quest to bridge the gap.

We are the sum of our parts and when there is a weak link, inevitably we are less than we really could be.

The goal should be the continuous improvement of the whole rather than just the visible parts. When the average moves a notch to become great, and the great becomes exceptional, then everybody wins.

We recently had an employee return to work and after a lay off and if there was one thing that I found really remarkable, it was the new found zeal and dedication to work that was exhibited second time around.

There was an increased appreciation for the opportunity to work and also a willingness to learn and succeed second time around. Plus there was less training required as she was familiar with the work flow and hit the ground running with little to no adjustment required.

I’d like to see more career comebacks in the work place. There are so many benefits to be accrued for all concerned.

While I fully agree that by injecting fresh blood into the system provides access to new ideas and innovation, managing or “loving the ones you are with” beats expending time, energy and resources to engage a new hire.

I am of the opinion that everyone has the potential to be a high potential. I admit this might seem overly simplistic but under the right conditions and circumstances, employees will excel and progressively improve on competencies and abilities.

In work environments, past experience or performance are usually great indicators of future performance but there will always be the exception. One person’s career slips and challenges can make them a better person and can produce a stronger and more valuable team member.

Sometimes, we just need to take a step back and pause, and with keen eyes, seek out ways that we can improve on the existing rather than discarding. So, develop other potentials and every now and then, look past the obvious to find talent hidden in the unlikely. Finally, create an all-star team where everyone can be on the winning streak.

Would we all benefit? I believe so.

About the Author

Tamkara Adun

Tamkara Adun currently works as a Recruitment Consultant at Together Abroad in The Hague and she offers HR advice at You can connect with her on twitter @tamkara or find out what she’s up to on her personal blog at



Hello Cindy, Yes it is important to manage talent and keep employees motivated and engaged.
However, i believe you can never have too many talents. Also healthy competition and spark are actually elements of a great work environment and should be encouraged.

Cindy Postanco

Every company’s dream is to be able to put together a team consisted of only stars that would outshine anybody. If you have proper funding, it’s not such a big problem to solve. But what is the real problem, is how you can manage to keep them together, happy and motivated. Too many talents in the same room, may lead to an atmosphere loaded with spark and competition, that may not always be healthy.


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