Tips to maximise the impact of your top talent
Most businesses have one.
That one employee who goes above and beyond.
Who always does their job well, delights customers, and is easy to work with.
But while a star employee can seem like a manager’s dream, that doesn’t mean you can coast when it comes to overseeing them.
Top performers are more likely to be approached by competitors, get bored at work, and ultimately leave your company unless you find ways to keep them engaged.
This article will look at ways to get the most out of your best employees in a way that will keep them wanting more rather than looking elsewhere.
It would be foolish, maybe even dishonest, not to start here. There is no escaping the simple fact that paying more will help you to attract and retain the best talent. Over 70% of employees say salary is one of the top reasons they’d move to a new job.
Of course, salary isn’t the only way to reward employees, but it is certainly a very significant factor. It can however, cause issues and division in a company if employees perceive that you have favourites as a manager and are paying them more.
Performance-based bonuses can be a great way around this. Sales targets are an obvious one if these work for your business, but there are plenty of other metrics by which you can measure employee performance.
Define clear goals
Talking of performance metrics, it’s important to ensure that your best employees know exactly what they’re working towards and are bought into these objectives.
Having specific targets to hit or outcomes to achieve will help keep them motivated more than day-to-day duties.
Whenever you’re setting goals, remember the SMART framework and make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-constrained. This will ensure they tie into the role, offer motivation, and can be accurately assessed at the end of the time period.
Keeping this time period relatively short can ensure that talented employees always have a reachable goal to be working towards. This will avoid situations where a high achiever has already met their targets with months to spare and so slacks off.
As part of their goals, look for ways to test top employees more than their normal everyday duties do. Most great employees will rise to the challenge and tackle whatever you put in front of them, as long as they don’t feel like their talent is being taken advantage of.
Be careful about giving them too much work just because they can handle it. Instead, look for opportunities to give them the right work: tasks that require their refined skill set without overwhelming them.
For example, a creative thinker might be given a tricky business problem to solve, but not be expected to put in extra hours for its implementation.
Your employees are often well-placed to suggest improvements to your business, so consider whether your processes and ways of working could be given a once over by a fresh set of eyes.
Creative side projects that tap into their skills and interests can be a great way to keep these employees engaged.
Ask for feedback
In the same vein, talking to your top employees is one of the best ways to find out what they want. There may be changes you can make to their role, your business, or even how you interact with them as a manager that could help them to stay motivated at work.
Don’t shy away from critical feedback; look for ways to address it and make improvements. The cost of doing so will often be far less than the cost of replacing a talented employee!
Offer opportunities to develop
Career growth is still among the top reasons why employees leave. No one wants to feel like they are stagnating, or that their talent is being wasted. Make sure they can see that there is an upwards trajectory to their career within your company.
Some employees may be happy with the level that they’re at and not harbour any ambitions of moving higher up. But this is less common among the most talented and motivated employees who will typically be your top performers.
Make investments in their potential, even if you’re not sure exactly what their future role might look like. Training new managers when you don’t yet need any can feel daunting, but is a good way to show that you believe in your up and coming employees.
Scheduling some time for them to shadow a more senior colleague could be a good starting block for showing them what their future could look like.
Even offering them a minor but important leadership role could help. Consider appointing them as a time-off manager using a smart scheduling solution like Findmyshift, so that they can help you review and approve leave requests.
This will give them a taste of what management can involve and the tricky decisions they might face.
Follow these tips and your best employees are more likely to stay with you for the long haul!