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What are the crucial characteristics of top performing employees?

Top performers can increase the productivity of a company significantly. How can you recognise such candidates? Which characteristics produce top performances?

Top performer can increase the productivity of your company significantly. A study showed that 1% of the employees - the so called top performers - produce 10% of an organization’s total output. And the top 5% produce 26% of the total output, which is about four times of what one average employee produces.

But who are these candidates? What are the crucial characteristics that produce top performances? “Top performers stand out in professional life with their active and self-monitoring way of working. They take matters into their own hands and are successful in both work and private life. They also use this energy in their job search and career planning. Here, they also confidently trust their own competences, and do not rely on contacts or external consultants, “ explains Frank Hensgens, director of Indeed Germany.

The most important characteristics of top performers are problem-solving competence, self-monitoring, strategic thinking, sense of responsibility, passion and communication skills. 

Problem-solving Competence

If anything does not work the way it is supposed to, you can complain loudly about it or try to solve the problem. The attitude and competence to find solutions for difficult or complex problems is what employers are looking for. 


The ability to monitor oneself is based on inner strength, on strong and rational motivation. This ability is vital for us humans. A self-monitoring person is someone who initiates new tasks and challenges. 

Strategic Thinking

The expression strategic thinking originates from the military. In ancient Greece, the strategist, stratēgós in Greek, was the commander-in-chief. A good commander-in-chief had much to consider. So the thinking of the strategist, the commander-in-chief, became strategic thinking. Lateral thinkers think outside the box. People who can think strategically can consider many factors, many human concerns, the implications of decisions and factor developments in their thinking and acting. 

Sense of responsibility

Sense of responsibility is an emotion that leads us to do what we think is our duty. Human beings often follow their feeling of pleasure. The sense of responsibility makes you feel deeply satisfied when you do what you feel is your duty. 


You can describe passion as the proven enthusiasm or excitement for a task or role. Passion lets us hang on when we are criticized or when we fail. Passion outlasts short-term excitement; it makes our eyes sparkle when we talk about our ideas or achievements and passion is passed on to other people who hear and see it. 

Communication Skills

Someone has communication skills when they can communicate both verbally and in writing with internal and external stakeholders in a clear and effective way. People with this ability are always good in empathising with others and finding the right words. It’s easy for them to get in touch with employees and customers. As leaders, they don’t beat around the bush but give their employees all relevant and important details. 

Recruiting teams that know and follow these trends are better prepared to find top-performing candidates for their company. “Companies have to find top performers on one hand and on the other hand, they also have to bind them to the company”, concludes Hensgens. 

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Thank you for your time!

Wilgen and the alugha team!