Managing High Performers: Tips For Improving Engagement

Image: Managing High Performers: Tips For Improving Engagement

Keeping High Performers

Obviously, keeping high performing employees with your organization delivers benefits and is a primary goal of leaders. High performers contribute to your organization’s succeed  now and help set you up for success in the future by making the right decisions, at the right time, that align with business goals. Star employees also act as ambassadors for your organization, raising your profile and image with clients and potential employees.

However, because high performing employees excel in their roles, they have various employment options. This is especially true for younger employees. Gen Ys recognize that there are many opportunities available to them. They will leave your organization much more quickly than previous generations if they feel that they will have a better experience in a different work environment.

So how do you manage high performers and keep them with your organization longer?

Engaging High Performing Employees

Just because an employee is performing well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is highly engaged at work. In fact, a 2013 study showed that in 42% of companies, the best workers were the least engaged.

In order to engage employees, it’s important to understand what high performers value at work. In general, they want to be challenged. You can increase their engagement levels by giving them stretch assignments that challenge them to grow and learn and by recognizing them when they succeed. High performers are looking for new, interesting and meaningful work. Talk to them, find out what they are interested in and then give them assignments that meet those interests, even if this means going outside of their job description. Job rotations, secondments to another part of the business, cross-functional projects are all great ways to keep top performing employees invested in the business and eager to continue to delivery results.

Mentoring High Performers

Many mangers spend more time and attention on employees who are not performing, rather than focusing on those that are excelling in their roles. This approach is often necessary to improve team performance, but it can be counterproductive if it disengages high performers. One strategy for ensuring high performers continue develop and grow is designing a formal mentoring program.

A mentor can help provide career advice, guidance and networking connections that can greatly help high performers succeed in their careers. This will also contribute to keeping your top talent more engaged, performing well and striving to meet new goals and challenges.

Offer Opportunities for Advancement

It’s important that you communicate to high performing employees what career paths exist for them in your organization. If they don’t feel that they have an opportunity to advance, or if they feel that it will take too long for them to be promoted, they may look elsewhere for opportunities.

Sit down with your high performing employees individually and walk them through possible career paths, along with timeframes, milestones and performance standards.  Be specific based on their individual interests and desires. Work with them to create a career path that they will aspire to. This will demonstrate to them they have an exciting future with your organization and will encourage them to keep up their high level of performance.

Remember that many high performers, especially younger employees, are not motivated solely by money or by impressive titles. They want to do meaningful and interesting work that matters to them. Therefore, they are often not impressed by promises of raises or promotions unless these advances are accompanied by new responsibilities and challenges. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach to career advancement won’t be successful. You must tailor the career paths, mentoring activities, stretch assignments and learning opportunities to meet individuals’ needs and expectations.

Giselle Kovary

As president and co-founder of n-gen People Performance Inc., Giselle is dedicated to building strategies and programs that target, motivate and engage a multigenerational workforce. She is a sought after resource to industry leaders, having worked with 18 of the top Fortune 500 companies. Over 60,000 people globally have experienced an n-gen workshop or presentation. She has devoted more than fifteen years to researching the impact that generational differences have on organizational performance. Giselle has co-authored two books: Loyalty Unplugged: How to Get, Keep & Grow All Four Generations and Upgrade Now: 9 Advanced Leadership Skills. She has a Master’s degree in communication studies from the University of Windsor.

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