[PHOTO CREDIT: Dave Gray, Flickr]
A recent, informal survey we conducted with more than 200 self-described “high performers” shows that many feel unrecognized at work. It’s sad, but true.
My guess is that their work has become commonplace or expected. Their ability to produce great work has set the standard and leadership has failed to recognize and re-recruit them on a regular basis.
A high performer is someone who is fulfilled, maintains balance and health and consistently practices effectiveness and efficiency in the realization of a worthy goal. They’re most likely the people who get things done (well) at work and somehow seem to find time for family, friends and hobbies.
High performers make up about one percent (1%) of the workforce and require a different style of leadership--one that both recognizes accomplishments and keeps them engaged through purposeful work.
Key to leading high performers:
- Find out what motivates them. Is it producing great work? Quarterly raise? Incentives? Know what drives their great work and find a way to weave in rewards that matter to them.
- Check in with them, weekly. Set up a 10 or 15-minute meeting (in person or virtual) to keep an open dialogue. Ask them questions, like:
a. Do you have the tools and equipment needed to do your job well? (If not, help them acquire said equipment, or work together to find an alternative solution).
b. What projects are you most proud of this week? Let them celebrate their accomplishments one-on-one with you. Take notes and check for trends in what type of work motivates them most. Make sure to delegate more projects they will be proud of.
- Re-recruit them. Your high performers are most likely being recruited by other organizations on a regular basis. That means you should do the same. Here are 10 Creative Recruiting Strategies To Hire Great People, from Business Insider.
- Reward them. In his book The 5 Love Languages, author Gary Chapman shares five ways people show their love. The way people show their love is directly related to how they want to be shown in return. In the workplace, you can replace “love” with “recognize” or “honor.” It’s unlikely that your high performers will tell you that they need recognition, praise or some form of encouragement. What you’ll find is that they become more withdrawn or even, perhaps, are on the job hunt. It’s your job to work with them and find out what language they speak:
a. Words of affirmation
b. Acts of service
c. Receiving gifts
d. Quality time
e. Physical touch (if appropriate, it could be a handshake, pat on the back or even a hug)
- Give them an opportunity to improve, learn more and produce even better results. Poor communication and inefficient workflow can hurt your organization’s bottom line. You may not know you’re in a bad communication cycle or that your workflow isn’t working until you ask. If any employee, especially your high performer(s), tell you that communication and/or workflows are broken, it’s time to invest. Invest in a better way to collaborate. Look into or re-evaluate your project management platform and your overall communication practices.
Ready to reward your high performers and improve communication in the workplace? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to get started, today.