5 Great Ways to Motivate Your Top Performers

Julie Shenkman
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If your management team isn't proactive about nurturing star performers, don't be surprised when they move on to better opportunities. Highly engaged employees are reliable and driven enough to be granted autonomy, but they can lose interest in fulfilling company goals when their personal development is neglected. While it's reasonable to provide more skill-building resources to average performers, company leaders can also use creative strategies to boost employee motivation and proficiency among star performers.

1. Welcome Their Ideas

Star performers typically have an upward mentality and value a sense of personal investment in the company; but a promotion isn't always possible, especially in smaller businesses. Build loyalty and satisfaction by involving employees in company decisions. They can most likely offer valuable insight about daily operations or even handle problems that upper management has struggled to solve. Workers are more dedicated when their opinions influence company projects and triumphs, making them motivated to keep delivering great results.

2. Offer Flexible Work Options

To many employees, independence is worth more than a bigger paycheck. Star performers have already demonstrated their ability to meet deadlines, take initiative and make productive decisions, so give them freedom to decide how they achieve work goals. Whether it's working from home or choosing a flexible schedule, provide options that complement your business model while encouraging work-life balance for employees.

3. Provide New Challenges

Boredom is one of the most common reasons star performers look for a new job. High achievers enjoy learning and developing new skills, which isn't possible in a dull, restrictive environment. To keep these employees motivated, give them a chance to work on projects outside their expertise. If they're novice or mid-career employees, assign them to cross-departmental teams where they can build collaboration skills, gain exposure to other work styles and learn from the company's best managers. For senior staff, offer opportunities to assist an executive or take the lead on management-level projects.

4. Eliminate Roadblocks

Get feedback from star performers, and find out what obstacles are preventing them from turning out even stronger results. Hitting the same hurdle again and again is frustrating to employees, so they develop loyalty and respect toward leaders who genuinely care about making their jobs better. Foster an open, honest environment where workers can speak up about policies, team conflicts or resource issues that are holding back the company. They may identify problems you never considered, and enacting beneficial changes may increase loyalty among the rest of the staff.

5. Provide Ongoing Education

Get employees inspired by showing your commitment to their personal development. Education can be in the form of seminars from leading industry figures, online courses, tuition reimbursement or internal mentoring with senior staff. Consult staff in advance about their interests and learning styles, so you can tailor company offerings to their interests and skills gaps.

Star performers are among a company's greatest assets, making it essential to find out what qualities they value in an employer. A gesture as simple as public recognition may be enough to increase employee motivation. By regularly communicating with high achievers, you can stay in touch with their needs and groom them to become the company's future leaders.


Photo courtesy of franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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