Great performance at work – how is it really measured? 

How can people inside organisations really get noticed for their performance? What are the conversations that happen behind closed doors when decisions are made about who gets the promotions? And, how can you demonstrate your own performance strategically?

To answer these questions, I sat down with Emma Miller. As the Head of HR for APAC and the Director of Global Talent for Boardriders, Emma is on a mission to redefine the impact that leaders can have on organisations. Having also won the award for HR professional of the Year at the Retail Association Awards, we know that Emma is incredible at what she does. Emma also has a front row seat to the conversations at work that you are the most curious about.

So, let’s dive in!

Defining Great Performance at Work

So, you want to excel at work. But, how is “great performance” measured, really? How do you know that what you’re doing is considered “good” or even “great” by your manager? 

Emma says that defining great performance will be different for different roles. However, there are things that you can do to set yourself up for success and help showcase yourself as a great performer at work:

  • Be really consistent. No matter what you’re doing, make sure that you’re consistently doing a good job. Doing something well once and then reverting back to subpar performance or low engagement in your work or your team isn’t likely to get you ahead. Consistency is key. 
  • It's not just what you do, it’s how you do it too. It’s not just about ticking off those ‘to do’ lists – it’s how you go about it. How you are treating people along the way. How you collaborate and work with others. These things are critical to your overall performance and to your ultimate career success. Being technically gifted, but having a professional brand inside the organisation as someone who is difficult to work with is only going to get you so far. 

Pro in Place vs. A High Performer

A ‘pro in place’ is someone who is absolutely exceptional at their job. They know what they’re doing. They’re technically astute, know what needs to be done, and they’re absolutely pros. Does it make them a high performer or high potential? Not necessarily.  

So, what takes someone from a “pro in place” to being a “high performer”? 

According to Emma, it's someone who “brings people along with them”. Someone who shares their knowledge with others and makes others good at their job because of it. That’s the difference. Emma further adds that if you’re only known for your “technical skill”, it’s going to pigeonhole you and you won't necessarily receive the opportunities that others have in the longer term. 

So, you need to ask yourself: 

  • How am I contributing outside of my individual tasks? 
  • What am I doing to support others? 
  • How am I investing in my relationships with others?

Having good technical skills isn’t enough if behavioural and communication skills aren’t there too. At some point in time the business will start to ask itself;, “We could probably find someone who although may not be as technically astute, from a behavioural point of view, they're going to offer so much value, and we'd rather invest in them and then support them to build their technical skills up.” 

Tips on How You Can Be Considered A High Potential Inside an Organisation

“I want to be a high performer.” 

“I want to be considered a high potential inside my organisation.” 

“I want more opportunities”. 

“How can I make an impact?” 

Do any of the above statements sound familiar? Yes? Here are some tips from Emma that’ll help you elevate your own performance and support you in being considered a high potential player inside your organisation: 

  • Understand what your company values are. Really understand what they are, and where your own values align. Be honest about what both of these are - not just what is on the Company coffee cups, or pasted on the wall - what do they truly value? Then, try to add value in all these areas.
  • Focus on the outcomes over input. It’s great that you’re working hard, and giving it your all, but what are the outcomes from that? It’s important to be clear on what your inputs are getting you, and more importantly, who knows about it? 
  • Make time to build genuine relationships. Relationships are key and you will only get so far without them. 
  • Communicate. Be strategic in how you start to share what it is you're working on and what your achievements are with your major stakeholders or decision makers. Don’t hang back and hope that your manager will always notice what you’re doing - tell them. They want to know.

Final Thoughts

Your performance and how people view your performance at work is within your control. It’s up to you as an individual to drive the direction of your career, and define and work that plan. Take the bull by the horns, make that meeting with your leader, ask for a career conversation. Let them know what you want to do, where you want to go and how you can support the business. 

Need more help on how to stand out at work? Download our freebie guide called ‘25 easy ways to get noticed at work’. 

Listen to my full conversation with Emma Miller here.