Most managers, if asked, would say they don’t have a favorite employee, but is that true? Usually, a team leader can point to the most valuable employee on his or her team. A recent study asked managers to rate their employees’ productivity on a scale of 1 to 10. The study found that the top-rated employees:
- Are three times as valuable to their employers as their co-workers.
- Produced 61% of their departments’ work, staying true to the name “high performers.”
- Dealt with stress more effectively, regardless of their workload level.
- Exhibited key traits including attention to detail, time management skills, asking for help when needed, and the ability to prioritize and stay on top of their work.
Because employees of this caliber are usually in great demand, they are likely to change jobs if their needs are not being met. Here are a few tips to keep them in your corner:
Provide higher-than-average salaries and benefits
It’s common practice to start qualified employees off at the salary midpoint, which is the competitive market rate for the position. But in a tight labor market or if the job is hard to fill, you may need to pay more than the market rate.
Once on the job, employees who are outperforming their co-workers will likely expect better-than-average pay and benefits. If they are not properly compensated, you can bet on their exit.
As noted in an article published by Solvo Global, “If you want to retain your best people, then you need to be prepared to spend more money. If you’re not willing to pay your top performers more, then someone else will.”
Try to go beyond core benefits like health insurance and a 401(k) by offering irresistible incentives, such as:
- Retention bonuses.
- Stock options.
- Generous paid time off.
- Flexible work schedules.
- Family leave.
- Education assistance.
- Remote work options.
Motivate through stimulating work, continuous development and recognition
Top performers want more than excellent pay and benefits. Driven by the need to succeed, they also want challenging work that pushes them to uncover and use their hidden talents. Because they like to outdo themselves, they tend to go above and beyond. So do not underestimate or limit your top performers’ abilities.
But no matter how talented they are, top performers must continuously hone their skills in order to stay at the top of their game. Therefore, you must invest in their growth through ongoing learning and development. This includes designing a clear career path for each top performer, which is a collaborative process between you and the employee. Ask them about their long-term career goals, what additional knowledge and skills they want to gain, and which types of projects they would like to take on or lead. Give them the tools they need to deliver, and do not micromanage them. Instead, trust that they will come through.
Remember, top performers desire recognition for their accomplishments. They need to know that you appreciate them and will reward them in more than dollars and cents. They want to be told and shown that they are valuable to the organization. Help them along their career paths and toward the roles they dream of.