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Follow these 3 tips to retain your high-achieving employees

Posted by Celene Robert

May 25, 2022

High-achieving employees are hard to find. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management estimates that in many companies, high performers make up only 5% of all employees. While your company may employ only a small number of high-achievers, they can easily be 400% more productive than the average employee. In other words, one excellent employee can provide as much benefit as four average employees, without the headaches and management challenges that come with leading less-than-exceptional team members. 

If you’re currently employing high achievers, there’s no question your company should do whatever it takes to keep them around. These tips will help your leadership team empower, engage and encourage your best performers:

1. Align their job requirements with their intrinsic motivations

High achievers are already internally motivated to seek success in their role. But when their role aligns with their own passions, your high achiever is even more energized to excel. For example, your employee may be excellent at closing sales, but is intrinsically motivated to build meaningful, long-term relationships. You can align their passion with your own needs by moving that person into a post-sale relationship-management role. They’ll be even more effective, and your company will thrive with a high-performance people-person in that crucial role. 

In order to connect your employee to a role that’s both beneficial and fulfilling, take time to understand their personality, goals, and passions. Listen to what matters most to them and help them see how each aspect of their role plays into that internal motivation. 

2. Give them challenges

Your high-performance employees crave new challenges. They love to learn and expand their skill sets. Rather than sticking them in a repetitive, low-stakes role, look for projects and initiatives that will positively challenge their abilities. Consider these opportunities to stretch their capabilities:

• Challenge them to a new sales or performance goal no one has ever reached.

• Bring them in on a leadership decision or new initiative.

• Give them a task team and ask them to come up with new ways to solve the current dilemmas your department is facing.

Along with each challenge, set up motivating rewards. A financial bonus, a leadership role, a long weekend, a lunch out or whatever reward is appropriate for the challenge. Be sure your employee feels seen and appreciated for completing the challenge. High performers tend to gravitate towards those who see and value their work, so this recognition is vital to keeping your best team members. 

3. Surround them with a personal growth team

High achievers seek out opportunities to meet other high achievers. They value mentoring, support and like-minded peer groups. If you’ve got a high achiever at your company, look for ways to connect them with potential mentors, beyond their current manager. These employees want additional perspectives and points of view, so diversifying their mentoring network is essential. Consider connecting your high performer to a similar manager in a different department or create a high-performers group within your company that meets periodically to learn and develop together. 

When your high performers are surrounded by other high performers, they all become even more effective. Consider bringing in outside leaders, like thought leaders or industry experts, to give these achievers more opportunities to learn. Creating a healthy workplace that encourages their growth, gives them freedom to develop and recognizes the value they provide your company is crucial for keeping these employees engaged. 

Retaining your top talent is essential for the long-term growth and vitality of your company. But it’s about more than just money. Creating a strong workplace where high-performance employees are mentored, challenged, and fulfilled is just good business. In today’s world of holistic leadership — management that seeks profitability and positive workplace culture, following these strategies ensures your company will continue to be a destination employer where people find not just a job, but a career. 


Celene Robert
Celene Robert

Celene heads up the marketing at Escalon. Passionate about helping companies grow their business, she spends her days finding new ways to bring essential business services to startups, SMBs, and growth-minded companies. Based in the PNW, she’s the proud owner of 8 pairs of Birkenstocks and a sassy, cuddly cat.

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