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Many hiring managers believe that employing a top performer will make an immediate impact on the business, without the need for an onboarding process or training and development programme. There is often a tendency to overlook the people already within the team, and those with high potential can often be forgotten in favour of new hires. However, as with any new starter, high achievers must be supported throughout their career in order to perform at their best.

Without supplying adequate training and development, you may be blocking the development of your top talent, and when an employee feels they’re not working well, it’s detrimental to your organisation and to their own career satisfaction.

Most people want a defined career path. This isn’t an unrealistic expectation from employees. Today, it is rare for an individual to remain in the same position with the same company throughout their entire career. Demand for top-performing employees is high, therefore, you should be working extra hard to develop and retain your top talent. But how do you recognise the symptoms of a demotivated employee and how can you take steps to ensure that your best people stick around?

Here is our advice.

Being an employer of choice

Work on your employer branding; show candidates why they should work for you. If you’re an employer of choice, not only will people want to join you, they’ll also want to stay. Modern workers are looking for more than a paycheck, they want to feel satisfied in their work and that they are working for an organisation that is well thought of. This will not only help to ensure that existing employees are happy but aid hugely in future recruitment efforts.

What happens if your top talent wants to leave?

Market demand means that your top performing employees are highly sought after. If your talent is unsatisfied with their position or the organisation, they are likely to consider their options externally.  Those who don’t feel that they’re being developed, supported and valued may feel their talents are better used elsewhere.

Unfortunately once an employee has made the decision to leave it can be hard to change their mind. What you can do is try to understand their motivations for leaving and apply those learnings to your business in order to reduce the risk of people leaving in the future. Always conduct an exit interview and make sure that you are open to any criticism that may come the way of your company. You should aim to learn from these interviews and be ready to implement change.

How to retain top performers

The last thing you want is for your highest achieving employees to leave your organisation and work for your competitor. Ensuring you have a good retention strategy in place is just as important as your attraction methods.

Four ways to retain top performers

  1. Organise a mentoring programme – have senior level employees answer any questions and provide support to new starters. Lack of development is a common motivation for seeking a change. While you may not be able to offer pay raises and promotions, mentoring can be a satisfactory alternative for everyone involved.
  2. Ensure all employees feel their skills are necessary and don’t let them get bored with their job – expand their role or rotate their responsibilities. Stagnation is the enemy of employee satisfaction, don’t let it take root.
  3. Recognise and reward success – don’t let hard work go unnoticed. Even if it feels small to you, recognising people’s achievements, however minor, is an important part of maintaining a good working environment and motivated employees.
  4. Create an atmosphere that allows top performers to thrive, whilst remembering to understand individual needs too. Everybody works differently, so try to cater to individual working styles – you will get the most out of more people this way.

It’s important to value all your staff; you might find that those you didn’t consider to be particularly high achievers, develop into your best performers.

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