Most managers want to have high performers on their team, being proactive, responsive, and confident. But there is a hidden challenge in managing high performing employees.
Only 40% of high performers are satisfied
It’s sobering to discover that only 40% of high performing employees are satisfied in their work (as found by a study from SAP and Oxford Economics across 5,000 Human Resource managers and employees in 27 countries). And 1 in 5 high performing employees are likely to leave their job within the next 6 months.
Are you paying attention to the most important drivers of satisfaction?
It shouldn’t be any surprise that paying a competitive salary or wage is top of the list for what employees want. This factor hasn’t really changed much over the years.
What may be more surprising is that factors that are also highly valued by employees include:
- Flexible work location
- Flexible schedule
- Supplemental training
- Holiday time (or time off)
As an example of some of the factors you may consider, research in the USA has found the following benefits are valued by employees:
Many business owners and executives look at this area of staff management (and employee engagement) in a very limited manner. They focus on paying a competitive salary and then expect the employee to go to great lengths to dedicate themselves to the business.
That may have worked with employees in the 1970’s and 80’s. But not anymore.
Employees want autonomy
Modern employees like – and expect – to have more autonomy over their work. This manifests itself in expectations of being able to choose the place of their work and also work hours that enable them to have some control over their time, and therefore their working life.
Employees want feedback
Another major contributing factor of job satisfaction is feedback from the manager. Employees want the opportunity to regularly discuss feedback on their performance. 50% of high performers want a monthly discussion with their manager. But the research shows only 53% say their manager provides that opportunity.
How to engage top performers
As with many aspects of management there is no magic solution. The real ‘secret’ to success here is to listen to your employees, and make time to implement suitable initiatives.
These days organisations are busy, and getting busier. No one has time to sit back and reflect on what would be the best thing to do, let alone take the time to plan and implement a new initiative.
Management tips to engage your team
Here are some practical ideas on how to engage and retain your top performers. It shouldn’t be surprising that these same measures will also create a positive impact on all staff, not just those you see as the “high performers”.
Schedule regular performance enhancement discussions. Don’t leave it to a bi-annual or annual review. Those old-fashioned infrequent reviews are a waste of time when it comes to creating a positive impact on performance.
Look for opportunities for staff to be more self-directed. When it comes to when and where they do their work are there any options you could consider? Not everyone needs to be sitting at the same desk, for the same time period, everyday.
Use coaching to help your team develop their skills. Don’t always give your team the answer straight away (if it can wait). Prompt individuals to think more deeply and come to you with an idea or a proposed solution or next step. Encourage them, and expect them, to be proactive.
Create opportunities for your team to interact with each other. Whether it’s during team meetings or a scheduled group activity look for ways to encourage team members to interact and get to know each other at a deeper level. This is great for improving general communication as well as building a stronger bond between team members which can make the workplace feel more like a family.
Provide opportunities for further education and/or training. This could be by attending an official technical training program, or it could involve the employee completing a recommended course that is relevant for their career (not necessarily for their immediate work). You could also allow some time away from work to attend the course.
Consider using bonuses to reward efforts by the team or by individuals. Sometimes a team reward is more appropriate than recognising individual performers. Be aware of the outcome you wish to encourage. The award that is offered shouldn’t be a cash payment, as studies have shown cash has limited impact as a motivator. Think about what other forms of recognition or incentives you can offer such as experiences or vouchers.
Would you like help to improve staff engagement in your business?
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