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If you wish to be a star...

Saumya Bhattacharya     March 31, 2011
Come summer and workplaces across India will be abuzz with the arrival of freshers hired from campuses - eager to prove themselves at their first workplaces. Organisations do look for specific traits and attitudes in their new hires . In a fiercely competitive talent market, understanding what will keep you a cut above the rest is vital.

Saumya Bhattacharya
Saumya Bhattacharya
Every year, automaker Maruti Suzuki hires 300 young engineers and managers. Only 10 per cent of them are put on the fast track and move ahead of the rest of the pack. What sets them apart from their peers who have similar qualifications? It is a set of traits that differentiates the star performers from the rest.

The first things a company looks for is a positive mindset and high adaptability. It also keeps a close tab on their learning graph and their ability to grasp new ideas and processes. In fact, for the first six months, the company does not evaluate freshers on the projects they work on.

Maruti Suzuki identifies vital talent by examining each fresher's ability to build positive relations with co-workers in small projects. "This 10 per cent people will be very proactive in getting things done," says S.Y. Siddiqui, Managing Executive Officer, Maruti Suzuki.

Freshers should look beyond their key result areas to make their first mark in the firm. Companies say this trait separates merely good performers from those with high potential. The latter is what your organisation expects you to be. "It is simple. You may be performing well at a given task and that makes you a high performer. But those with high potential, can perform well in alien situations and even under stress," explains Siddiqui.

 Traits of a star performer

  • Seeks new work opportunities in the organisation
  • Works faster than his/her peers
  • Is always ready to add value and contribute
  • Challenges the status quo, takes more responsibilities
  • Is organised - in thought process, and at work
  • Is upfront with all without being disrespectful

Leading executive search and HR consulting firm Korn/Ferry International says high performers do not always turn into high potentials. But 75 per cent of the time, high potentials are high performers too. Nina Chatrath, Principal, Leadership and Talent Consulting, Korn/Ferry International, advises freshers: "Ask yourself whether you are able to bring results in challenging situations.

Can you simplify complexity and do you take more responsibility at your workplace?" If the answer is yes, the fresher would do well to seek new opportunities at the workplace. Working at a faster pace and simultaneously maintaining quality of work will be a good strategy to begin with.

At many companies like SRF, the bosses attach a lot of importance to value alignment. "Our star performers are invariably positive in terms of new challenges and assignments," says Suresh Tripathi, President, Group HR at SRF. Being aligned to the organisation does not mean a new employee must agree with seniors all the time. Voicing disagreement is permitted. But how an employee disagrees is what makes a distinction between the star performers and the rest. "My star performers will disagree, but they will respect and appreciate the views of others," says Tripathi. Take note, star performers of the future.

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