High performing employees are self-starters, always looking for a new challenge, and tend to be more upbeat. But what about employee engagement? A study from 2013 shows that in 42% of companies the best employees are the least engaged. Losing engagement in your highest performing employees could lead to losing your best people.
Luckily we’ve got some tips for re-engaging anyone who is doing a great job but maybe isn’t “feeling it” at the office. No matter what, it’s important to keep communicating and recognizing great work when you see it.
Involve Leadership and Offer Mentoring
High-performing employees are likely on track to become tomorrow’s executives, so now is a perfect time to engage them with mentoring from the leadership team. This provides clarity into the work of the company and grooms them for more responsibility later on. A mentor can provide guidance that helps high performers succeed in their careers. This will ensure top talent is engaged and performing well as they strive to meet new goals and challenges.
Keep Them Learning
The best employees are always seeking new opportunities to learn, so consider cross-training them. This gives them new skills and prepares them for further leadership opportunities. Or, have them perform a personal SWOT analysis to better understand their strengths and weaknesses.
Show Them They Are Valued
While high performing workers often have an internal locus of control, it’s still important to provide positive feedback on a regular basis so they know their work is valued. This shouldn’t just be management thanking them for doing a great job, ideally co-workers should be enabled to give praise as well. Consider a platform that enables peer-to-peer recognition for the maximum results. When an employee sees a contribution to the company is valued, that employee feels valued as well.
Offer Opportunities for Advancement or Growth
One reason these employees excel is that they’re smart, active and curious and they are always looking for something new and interesting to do. Satisfy that need by providing them with a constant stream of interesting assignments and projects. Even if the organization doesn’t have room yet for upward mobility, creating new challenges for employees keeps them engaged and helps them expand their skillset while providing potentially new opportunities for the company. Top companies like Google and Apple know that these people want to be constantly challenged to be better, and that’s why they are allowed to try new things. Whether they can be promoted or not, consider projects as experiments or try special assignments, and set your best people loose on the toughest challenges facing the business.
Identify Future Goals
Related to advancement, ask employees what they want. Ask questions such as: “What do you want to be known for?” or “What matters most to you?” This will give them a chance to reflect on their career path and how this current role and next performance frontier fit in. Also, consider how their personal goals line up with the core values of the company. This is a lot easier when you’re able to consistently demonstrate core values with real-time feedback. Again, a platform that recognizes achievement and emphasizes how achievements align with core values makes this easier.
Provide Visibility Into the Future
Many high performers want to know the company will still be around in a few years, and they want to know that the entire company is working hard to succeed. Sitting in on executive meetings can help (see mentoring above), as can providing a clear path to future growth. Think about the best ways to increase company-wide communications, with a focus on sharing successes and providing real-time positive feedback to keep engagement high while sharing a positive view of the future of the company.
One recurring theme is communication. Don’t take high performers for granted, thinking they’re doing just fine on their own. Don’t think that just because they are going a great job that they see how their work is contributing to the company’s larger goals. Consider the advice of Jamie Harris, Senior Consultant and Board Member at Interaction Associates and author of Harvard Business School Press’s Pocket Mentor book Giving Feedback, who says “The higher the performer, the more frequently you should be providing feedback.” Don’t wait for the annual review to give this feedback! Praise early and often, and be specific. This way the individual feels appreciated for doing great work.
Finally, think about how you currently give feedback and how the company communicates throughout the organization. Ensure that this is being effective at motivating everyone, from the lower-performing employees who need encouragement to the highest-performing employees who need more challenges.
Kazoo is a SaaS HR technology platform that redefines the way companies engage with their employees. By providing tools to connect, reward, reveal and report in real-time, Kazoo can consolidate employee engagement initiatives into one, easy-to-use mobile platform for teams of all sizes. Since launching in 2012, Kazoo has delivered its flexible software to small enterprises and Fortune 500 brands across several industries. Visit youearnedit.com for more information or schedule a quick demo here.