5 Ways to Retain & Engage High Performing Employees

Every company has high performers on their teams that pump out amazing work consistently. Unfortunately, in many organizations top performing talent are undervalued and remain unrecognized for their hard work. This creates a viscous employee turnover cycle for organizations who, quite frankly have trouble figuring out the root cause.

The majority of the time, employees of the highest caliber end up leaving for other companies that may give them the recognition, opportunities and appreciation they’re looking for. With a few minor tweaks in approach, the retention & engagement of high performing employees can be increased tenfold for any organization. Here are 8 ways to retain & engage top talent within your company.

1. Acknowledge Their Value

One of the most frustrating things an employee can endure is being under-appreciated for their hard work. It’s exhibited in many ways by companies. Falling short on compensation, failure to recognize their actions and productivity, taking the employee for granted, and lacking understanding of what motivates the employee. It’s time to begin recognizing employees for their hard work and show them that upper management is noticing on a regular basis.

2. Provide Feedback

Acknowledging value is only half of the battle when it comes to communicating effectively with your high performing employees. They have a strong desire to receive feedback from management on a regular basis. High performers work at an incredibly high pace. It would be beneficial for them and the company to continue to provide feedback to them as needed.

Most companies and organizations wait an entire year to assess and discuss an employee’s performance. Waiting this long presents many missed opportunities in developing a high performer into an even stronger employee. Not only does this affect an employee’s work ethic but the company’s bottom line.

3. Compensate According to Performance Not Tenure

Far too many companies make the mistake of acknowledging employee value and providing feedback without fairly compensating. If your criteria for a high performer’s compensation is solely based on how many years they have clocked into the industry, you’re bound to have severe turnover.

There are many occasions where people with less experience are doing higher caliber work and taking on more responsibility than more tenured employees. This is especially a problem when the nature of their work and their position within the company is the same.

Some active ingredients in the recipe for high turnover include finding out another employee doing the same job makes more than you or that you’re getting paid lower than the industry average.

4. Put a Halt to Micromanaging

There’s nothing more aggravating than working your butt off and then getting micromanaged. High performers know they possess all the necessary skills to get their tasks complete. They don’t need to be constantly told HOW to do everything. In a keynote at the 2013 REACH conference, Dan Pink beautifully discussed how giving employees more autonomy with Time, Tasks, Teams and Technique can skyrocket employee engagement. Once they know the goal, employees would much rather use self-direction to figure out the when, what and who to get there.

Trying to control every aspect of an employee’s job leads them to feel smothered, robotic and like they are not receiving the opportunity to show their value. Breathing down the neck of high performers leads to a lot less of them within your organization. Give them the ownership they crave to inspire action from the value they bring as an individual.

5. Remove the Red Tape Around Attendance and Remote Work

This isn’t the 1960’s anymore. There is no need for hard-and-fast rules about the hours an employee spends in the office. Some industries, like construction, have sewn these rules into their day-to-day operations. If you aren’t in the office, showing face, it doesn’t count. It’s frowned upon to deviate from the hours everyone else is working. In addition, remote work is completely unheard of.

However, the way of the working world has shifted since the pandemic has blown into the lives of employees across the world. There are many industries out there that never worked from home before and had to improvise. Surprisingly, many companies have found that they can work from home while continuing business as usual.

High performers provide massive value in the workplace. Loosening up on these hard-and-fast rules and providing more opportunities for remote work can aid in their autonomy which increases engagement. Without giving the freedom of remote work, when it can easily be afforded (i.e like on slow days in the field in construction), employees will begin to dream of a life outside not only the company but the industry, as the world has now evolved.

One of the greatest ways to unlock the potential of a high performer is by giving them the freedom to come and go as they please with one simple caveat: their operations continue and are just as effective when they aren’t present, deadlines are met, and meetings are attended.

Time for A Different Approach

If you’re looking to retain top talent in your organization or company, then it’s time to begin tailoring your approach when it comes to managing and engaging high performers. Each and every employee has a different way of providing value and thriving in the workplace.

The best thing that can be done is to discover what you can do for the employee to create an environment where they’re performing at their best and are actively engaged in your company’s bottom line.

Employee Retention Strategist

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store