How to Keep Top Performers Engaged

How to Keep Top Performers Engaged

Your top performers play an important role in your team’s success. But in today’s labor market, opportunities are plentiful — making it easier than ever before for top talent to go elsewhere. Whether it’s the promise of a higher salary, more interesting work, or flexible work arrangements, there are many different reasons why your most talented employees might consider accepting a new position. So how can you keep your top performers engaged?

  • Offer merit-based rewards. According to Karie Willyerd in her Harvard Business Review article “What High Performers Want at Work,” 55 percent of top employees want bonuses and rewards that are tied to performance. Note that rewards can be anything from gift certificates to the option of working remotely on certain days.

  • Recognize their hard work. In her article “4 Ways Managers Can Keep Their Top Performers From Quitting” for The Muse, Ximena Vengoechea advises that high-performing employees like to know they’re valued at work. You can show your appreciation for their efforts in a one-on-one conversation or in a public setting like a team meeting.

  • Regularly hold surveys. Without knowing exactly what your employees think about their jobs, you can’t address any pain points. Regularly checking in or even sending out surveys to ask them things like whether they find their work meaningful, how they like their work environment, and how they would rate their work-life balance can provide you with invaluable information you can use to help retain your top people. 

  • Make sure they’re challenged. Top performers are knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced — so they can easily get bored with tasks that don’t challenge them. To keep them engaged, offer stretch assignments, tasks with more responsibility, or projects in new areas that interest them.

  • Offer mentorshipsIn his Inc. article “5 Steps to Keeping Your Top Performers,” Peter Economy recommends providing mentors for top performers. Senior employees who truly want to help them advance have a lot to share in terms of knowledge, advice, and contacts.

  • Create compelling career paths. One of the reasons high performers leave is because they don’t see a way to advance with their current employer. Jeff Hyman’s Forbes article “How to Keep Your Top Performers From Quitting” suggests finding out what your employees’ career goals are and then designing career paths — with both lateral and vertical moves — that would work for them within the company.

As a manager, it’s important to understand that a good salary alone is rarely sufficient to retain top talent. With these strategies in mind, you can show your best employees you’re invested in their success — and increase the likelihood of them staying on your team for the long run.