Top performers help drive teams to success and lead the charge on organization growth. According to SHRM, top performers make up anywhere between 5% and 30% of your company’s workforce. However, these employees regularly exceed expectations and surpass goals set for them, which can help balance out the underperformers on your team.
In order for your business to grow, it’s vital to retain as many top performers as possible. If you’re not rewarding the hard work that these employees are putting in every day, they’re likely to look for opportunities elsewhere, where their talents will receive the proper recognition. By making an effort to motivate and reward top performers regularly, you can ensure that they utilize their skills to the best of their abilities and thrive in their roles.
Who are the top performers?
Top performers are not just employees who yield the best results or bring in the most significant improvements. While those may be contributing factors, there are many more important characteristics of top performers.
Dedicated top performers are...
Focused on doing their best work every day
Interested in growing, learning, and open to hearing honest feedback
Able to adapt to fit any circumstance, whether working alone or with others
Regularly setting and achieving goals for themselves and the team, without making excuses if they don’t reach the goal
When you’re able to recognize and reward your top performers for their hard work, you can in turn motivate, encourage, and reward them in ways that will help them thrive.
Here are three steps for rewarding your top performers:
1. Identify what is most important to each individual.
When you hold your regular 1-on-1s, which you should be doing regularly, talk to top performers openly about their goals and find ways to enable them to accomplish these goals at your company. This may mean more flexibility in work hours, increased leadership opportunities, and more. Listen to what they say energizes them, drains them, and encourages them to continue doing their best work--remember, everyone’s motivations are different.
Once you’ve gained this feedback, you can implement practical changes that help your top performers thrive.
2. Consider if a promotion makes sense and advocate accordingly.
If your company doesn’t have guidelines for promotion, consider outlining this for your team. What does an employee need to achieve to get promoted? Are promotions on your team purely salary-based, or do they come with title and responsibility changes? Having a strategy built out will help clarify what expectations are for growth on your team.
You should also consider if each top performer is interested in a promotion. While promotions are often assumed to be the next step for top performers, it’s crucial for you to openly discuss this with employees before pushing them into something new. Don’t add more responsibilities or leadership opportunities to someone’s plate just because they’re doing well in their current position. You may end up causing them stress or pulling them away from the role that initially fit their personality and goals perfectly.
However, if a promotion seems like the best fit for someone on your team, help them prepare to take the next step. Advocate for them if you don’t have the power to promote and help guide them along the way to ensure the promotion is a successful fit. Giving your best people more prominent roles on your team will ensure that you’re setting the entire team up for success.
3. Provide top performers adequate room to grow.
A significant way to ensure that every top performer on your team is engaged and motivated is to give them plenty of access to opportunities for growth. Whether it’s through learning opportunities, conferences, promotions, or other development opportunities, investing time and energy into your team’s growth will make a big difference in employee retention and team success.
Learn more about how you can encourage your team’s training and development by checking out our full-length blog post.
Take care of your team
Don’t neglect the impact that your top performers have on your team’s success, or you may lose them to your competition. You can help keep top performers happy by recognizing their talents and rewarding them in the way that most enables them to grow and achieve their goals.
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