2014-05-07

How to motivate a high performing employee

R. J. Sullivan

It is likely that in your organization you have an employee who is highly focused and productive. He has risen to the top in a relatively short time, and you consider him to be a top performing employee. This type of success-driven individual is internally motivated and self-sufficient. Outwardly, he appears to need nothing, but it would be a mistake to not create incentives for this individual to ensure he develops his complete potential. As his or her manager, you have the following tools to help this person feel valued and challenged:


Reward them with greater recognition and further responsibility

It is an undeniable fact that the majority of employees are looking for ways to do less work for the same pay. However, the high performing employee continually seeks to improve his or her work performance and to be more efficient, naturally making time for greater challenges. This go-getter desires to demonstrate his value to the company, so it is imperative that you, as the manager, find ways to publicly recognize his efforts.


Likely, in the past, this individual has had other successes for which he was recognized. To keep him interested, and to give him something to strive for, increase his responsibility and reward his performance. This not only provides motivation, but it also increases the employee’s feelings of self-worth. Motivated high performing employees are role models for co-workers.


If you ignore the need for an employee to feel valued and recognized, you will soon find the employee bored and quite possibly looking to move out of the department, or worse, looking for another company who would appreciate his efforts more.


Enrich their career pathThis top performer is most likely upwardly mobile and has a good idea of where he wants to go. It is incumbent on you, as this person’s manager, to help him develop both short term and long term goals and a clear strategy by which to attain these goals. This way, the person knows that you see and appreciate him, and it shows that you are interested in his success. It also gives him a straightforward path to the next rung in the ladder


Be a mentorYou didn’t come to your management position by accident, but by your own superior efforts. That makes you the most obvious choice for a mentor. Schedule frequent communication sessions with this employee, discussing the necessary topics to aid him in moving along the continuum. Demonstrate your own work ethic, and other behaviours you wish for him to emulate. He will sense your openness, and his quest for knowledge will have a logical place for fulfillment.


Increase the trainingBeyond discussions, this employee requires increased training, whether in house or out. New responsibilities require new knowledge and skills. He will want to be an expert in the field in order to produce at the highest level possible. This strategy will have huge dividends for both the employee and the company.


The high producing, career-oriented individual is extremely valuable to your organization, and it is incumbent upon you as a manager to show that you recognize the employee’s value by meeting his or her needs with mentoring, training, career enrichment, recognition, and increased responsibility. Make it part of your own management strategy. By increasing the worth of the highly motivated employee, you increase your own worth to the organization.


R.J. Sullivan is the VP of Creative Content for TrainingABC, a producer of management training videos and e-learning. http://www.trainingabc.com

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