Developing and retaining top performers should be a priority at any organization. It is people who are the prime movers in making things happen within a company and top performers are better at making things happen than others. That said, developing and retaining top performers is best considered as two distinct challenges.
Developing top performers is an intentional effort to train and mentor/coach individuals on two fronts: Best practice and leadership. Best
practice refers to the best technical and managerial practices available and appropriate to your organization. Leadership is used in the broadest sense and includes improving the effectiveness of anyone in the organization at influencing others. Examples of managerial best practice include:
strategies for determining priorities, measuring progress toward goals and holding people accountable. Examples of leadership development include: understanding one’s preferred way of influencing others, nurturing self-awareness and implementing strategies for confronting problem behaviors.
Retaining top performers is again, an intentional effort to give these individuals what they want and need to remain committed to the organization. Perhaps surprisingly, research shows that what top performers want and need to stay engaged is not more money. Instead, a Gallup study listed knowing what was expected of them, having the right resources, having the opportunity to do what they do best, being appreciated and being cared for as the top five factors in keeping employees engaged. Engaged workers are more likely to stay or be retained. This is not to say that top performers are insensitive to being financially rewarded for doing their job well. It is to say that an intentional effort to retain top performers must include other elements than a great compensation and benefits plan.
Give us a call if you would like further guidance on either developing or retaining your top performers. We can address many of the development and retention issues raised here and can steer you to other specialists should you have a question about compensation or benefits.