Did you know that 60% of those who don’t feel appreciated at work are looking for a job? Did you know that recruiters are always contacting passive candidates with new and perhaps better offers in the hope of finding someone who is motivated to move should the right job come along?. People have job search apps stream suitable roles direct to their phones and are always on the lookout for better opportunities. When you think about these situations, it can be very scary to think that your number one employee, on whom your organisation or department pivots, may be looking elsewhere and may walk. How would you cope and what can you do to prevent flight risks?
High performers (HP’s) in your business are what every organisation is aiming for. Even better a high performing team. However unless you treat them right, your high performers may take their superior performance somewhere else!
Number one strategy is performance management. ‘What?’ I hear you say; ‘they don’t need any performance management’. Oh yes they do! It is not necessarily for you, it is for them. Keep them happy and you will be happy! If you are not talking to your HP’s how can you gain an understanding of their motivators and ensure that your business continues to deliver the kinds of motivators that the HP requires.
To keep your HP’s in your business, you need to develop strong insight into each person’s personal motivators, and what makes them tick. Understanding their frustrations with the job and the business, will help you address these points and work with your HP to grow personal motivators and alleviate any issues.
Secondly look at your learning and development opportunities. It does not matter how highly skilled your worker is, he/she will always be looking at other opportunities to develop their skills. This can be skill development in a soft skill area, a new technology or a sideways step into a related skill.
Supporting post graduate learning can be a great way to tie an employee to your business, but not all learning and development opportunities need to be so formal. Who else do you have in the organisation that could impart growth to others? Could you bring together some HP’s in a brains trust, to work together on specific projects or assign mentors to meet regularly? Perhaps you could design a system where your HP’s take turns to present to each other on specific topics to increase the knowledge of the whole group.
If you are a small business, never underestimate the worth of the knowledge the business owner holds. Perhaps, some skill sharing sessions which would make the HP’s feel that the boss is keen to impart knowledge to them. What a great situation to build the HP’s confidence and tell them how much they are valued and how much further we want to see them rise.
Not all HP’s are managerial workers and often they can be strong workers in a specific operational aspect of the business. Look at what other skills you could give these HP’s to further develop them. Consider leadership or management training or skills that may enable them to move sideways in the organisation. These skills can also be developed through project based work, where you assign a leadership role to a HP, assist with some key leadership training and then leave them to develop their own leadership style and attack the project in their own way. Keep the door open for regular conversations and mentoring and watch your HP develop further. Always communicate why you are giving them this opportunity.
Whatever Learning and Development initiatives you decide upon make sure that you plan and document it to run over a period of some months. That way, you can communicate to any HP’s letting them know what is coming and how you wish to further develop their skills. Having a plan to look to and a future of learning can be a strong cornerstone in building your ongoing retention plan.
It is important to remember that you can do everything right with your high performing talent, and they still may leave your organisation for something else. So how are your Talent Identification plans coming along? Do you have any systems in your organisation to identify upcoming talent and start to nurture them towards greater paths? Some of the strongest leaders in your business may come from inside your organisation and have the added advantage of already being in tune with your culture and business goals. However, you need to make a conscious effort to engage these workers, target them for development and communicate to them your plans for the future.
Once again this communication is an important step in retention and should you be presented with a sudden HP hole in the organisation, you may be in a better position to fill it internally. How sad if your up and coming HP’s leave and never know that you had great plans for them.
I guess it all comes down to better communication with your HP’s. Not only performance management, but feedback sessions, where you can understand their issues and concerns, as well as highlight their key motivators. Communication is a two way street and you also need your HP’s to communicate with you on a regular basis. You need to know what their ideas are for the organisation, where they see roadblocks and what they are personally feeling about their role.
Ensure your HP’s are busy and engaged. They need to feel heard and that they have a voice in the organisation. Bringing together task forces for specific problem solving or groups around innovation and including your HP’s or giving them the reins to deliver a certain outcomes for the business can be not only confidence building but can deliver a higher sense of purpose.
Always remember that money is never top of the list for employee motivators, it usually falls below praise, attention, opportunities and feeling valued!
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