Many managers struggle to keep star employees challenged and happy over the years. The end results are worth the effort, because high-performing employees can serve as a valuable motivators for other team members. By adjusting the work environment and company practices to suit your top performers, you increase employee retention and overall productivity.
As a manager, you can help your star employees succeed by providing a steady stream of new challenges. According to Forbes magazine, new goals motivate high-performing employees, help them increase performance levels and encourage them to grow as professionals. Without room to grow and learn, top employees tend to move on in search of greater responsibility or more excitement. Therefore, managers must invest constant effort to find new projects and tasks that motivate high-performing employees and move the business forward.
When it comes to star employees, many managers take a hands-off approach. They leave team members alone, with hopes to avoid the appearance of micro-managing. Unfortunately, this method often makes employees feel ignored, disrespected or undervalued. Instead, make a regular effort to communicate and offer feedback, both positive and constructive criticism. Ask the employee about her goals and work with her to find projects that build new skills. In doing so, you create a more open work environment and demonstrate that you care about her professional development. As an added benefit, the employee feels supported at work and empowered to perform at her best.
In some cases, star employees perform well in specific areas but under perform in others. As a manager, you can use your big-picture perspective to help employees identify and develop other strengths. In doing so, you let them know that you are paying attention to their work and abilities. Providing new growth opportunities—not to mention the unexpected praise—helps keep your staff happy and satisfied. With the extra development opportunities, your star employees can become more well-rounded and productive.
The success of star employees depends on more than your working relationship. If the office environment is negative, overly political or full of gossip, it can push your best workers out the door. Make an effort to develop a positive, open environment in your office and among your team. If you have problems with gossip, consider planning more social events outside of work to build friendships. Encourage open communication and take steps to resolve interpersonal issues before they affect the team. In the process, you can make all of your employees feel happier and more satisfied at work.
Keeping star employees happy and challenged is no easy task; it requires constant attention and effort. Taking the time to cultivate a positive, challenging professional environment provides long-lasting benefits to your star performers and staff—it improves the job satisfaction of everyone on your team.
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