How to Manage Star Performers and High Achievers

What do the Terms Star Performers and Fast Trackers Mean?

In every organization, some employees are designated as Star Performers and Fast Trackers by the Managerial and the Human Resources Professionals. The term Fast Trackers refers to the internal classification of some employees who are expected to move faster up the hierarchy than other employees based on their performance and abilities as well as the specialized leadership traits they exhibit.

In addition, some employees might be designated as Star Performers based on their appraisals and technical acumen and the categorization of employees as either Star Performers or Fast Trackers or both is based on a Matrix of factors such as the ones listed above.

Managing the Star Performers and the Fast Trackers

Thus, the Human Resource Managers often advise the managers of such brilliant employees on ways and means to ensure that such performers are nurtured and encouraged to scale new heights and are also kept in good humor by way of bonuses and other perks so that they do not leave the organization.

Indeed, in some Multinationals, it is common for the high performers to be given paid vacations as well as access to premium clubs and other benefits such as funding their children’s education and otherwise, ensuring that such performers feel wanted and hence, continue to perform better and sustain their performance.

HR Managers must be Cautious in their Approach to Star Performers and Fast Trackers

Having said that, it is also the case that HR professionals must tread carefully when advising the managers on how to manage the star performers since too much adulation can get to their heads and thus, they can become complacent or worse, arrogant and take the organization for granted.

Indeed, the history of modern corporates is littered with examples of Prima Donnas and Star Performers who have gone on to flout ethical and normative rules resulting in such corporates being hauled up by the regulators and consequently, leading to loss of brand image and monetary loss as well.

Apart from this, too much focus on Start Performers can lead to other employees being disgruntled or de-motivated, and this can lead to attrition as well as a general dip in the morale of the workforce.

Moreover, Mollycoddling the Star Performers can lead to dissatisfaction among the other Star Performers due to competition for limited places at the top.

In other words, not only can those performers who are doing well though not superlative being demoralized, it can also lead to unhealthy competition among the Fast Trackers for promotions and a shot at the top job and this can result in boardroom battles as well as jostling for senior management and executive positions.

Manage High Performers by Targeting their Specific Technical and Personal Competencies

Thus, it is clear that the HR managers must take all these aspects into account when dealing with the Star Performers. To ensure optimal utilization of all resources and to ensure that Star Performers continue to sustain their performance, it becomes necessary for HR Managers to first identify the specific leadership traits and for the managers to identify the specific technical and personal competence.

Once, the evaluation is done, it becomes easier for the organizations to decide on appropriate roles and assign key responsibilities accordingly.

For instance, HR Theory states that we have a composite need matrix comprising a Need for Achievement, Need to be a People’s Person, and a Need for Power and hence, the HR managers must first identify which of these needs as well as the combination of needs do the Star Performers have and then manage them accordingly.

If a particular Fast Tracker has a Need for Achievement, then he or she must be placed in roles that provide them with an opportunity to showcase their technical brilliance and shine in such roles.

Likewise, if such employees have a Need for being a People’s Person, then he or she is better suited for People Management and Leadership roles that require such skills. On the other hand, a great need for Power can mean that such employees must be handled with care lest they become power hungry and destabilize the organization.

Reward and Incentive Structure Based on Personality Traits

Apart from this, the HR Managers must also focus on the Reward and Incentive Structure that would encourage the Star Performers and Nurture the Fast Trackers. Some of such Uber Achievers are motivated intrinsically meaning that they derive motivation from their internal need for technical and managerial excellence.

On the other hand, some of such high performers derive their motivation and drive from the external environment where money and the need for approval from others are paramount and key to their success.

It follows from this that the former group of employees must be given challenging tasks that test their mettle and reward them accordingly whereas the latter group of employees must be given roles where they manage other people and are driven by the overall sense of satisfaction they get from seeing their fellow employees or those who report to them succeed.

Both categories of employees must be rewarded monetarily, and the key difference or distinction here is to do with the kinds of roles and the type of work they are assigned.


Lastly, it goes without saying that any Star Performer or Fast Tracker has to contend with the Bell Curve method of performance evaluation as well as the very real limit on how high they can go up the hierarchy since the Pyramidal nature of organizations means that only a few can get to the top, and only one can make to the CEO or Chief Executive Officer position.

To conclude, the way in which the Management and the HR Professionals manage the Star Performers and Fast Trackers would determine the overall levels of organizational success.

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Human Resource Management