It doesn’t matter whether your business is a start-up or an established enterprise. The way of the professional world, these days, is attrition. While a few decades ago, a company could’ve boasted of having more than a few company men working simultaneously, today’s companies struggle to find even one. Employees, these days, jump ship very regularly and in very short periods simply because they get increments for making the move. Since employees don’t stay long enough, top performers have also become rare.
In fact, employees capable of being top performers tend to move even more than the mediocre ones. Why? The reason is quite obvious. The scarcity of top performers increases the demand for their services. If they don’t approach other companies themselves, then sooner or later the other companies approach them. What is the end product? The moment an employee starts performing at exceptional levels, he switches jobs.
The Real Reason Why Top Performers Don’t Stick Around
Excellence will always seek out excellence. As a matter of fact, even mediocrity seeks out excellence. The only difference is that it is easier for excellence to find excellence than it is for mediocrity to find excellence. On the ground, this means that top performers look for others like them. They rarely ever settle for the average whether it is their colleagues, bosses, or companies.
If your employee is excellent, then you can rest assured that sooner or later he will want to be surrounded by more excellence and the mediocrity of his colleagues and company will soon push him out. This is the real reason why top performers don’t stick around. It isn’t better pay or greater benefits. It is quite simply better working environments. Consider an employee who is consistently excellent. Such an employee will take pride in his own excellence.
He will constantly try to improve on his own benchmarks and get better because that is how he became excellent in the first place. However, since his performance may depend on the environment he works in and the employees he has to rely on.
If poor company policies or poor team performance keep letting top performers down, then they’ll continue to look for alternatives. Therefore, the trick to retaining top performers is to give them an environment conducive to work and colleagues that are as motivated and talented as them. How you go about making this happen, however, is a different challenge. Luckily, it’s a challenge that we want to help you with. Here are some suggestions from Office Hacks that should help you retain your top performers.
Create an Environment of Collaboration and Cooperation
While there will always be lone wolves, the usual top performers prefer working in collaboration with others like them. This is one the main reasons why retaining top performers is so hard in the first place. The reason why top performers prefer collaborative environments is that they allow for specialisations. In a collaborative environment, a top performer can focus on improving his skills in one direction because they can rely on their teammates to do what was assigned to them.
When the environment isn’t collaborative, the top performer may get bogged down in mundane tasks which will reduce his overall performance levels. For example, consider a content writer or digital marketing manager. If the professional is asked to perform his duties while managing three other people and liaise with clients as well, then his core expertise will not be utilised to its full potential.
In contrast, if there were managers and client servicing professionals in the team, then the content writer or digital marketing manager would be free to focus on his primary skillset. This would not only result in better performance in the present but also improvement in future performances because the more the professional utilises his skills, the better they’ll become.
Take Care of the Mundane and the Routine Humdrum
Top performers come in all shapes and sizes but one thing that they all have in common is that they hate the mundane. These individuals are stars and they want to operate in the skies. However, the mundane resides in the earth which is why most top performers find the routine humdrum to be one of the worst things about working for an average company with average colleagues.
Excellent organisations know how to take care of excellent individuals. Take Google for example. Google is recognised globally as one of the best companies from the perspective of the employee. The reason for this is that Google takes care of its employees like no other company in the world. For instance, did you know that there are around 30 different places to eat in the Google headquarters and that none of them serves the same fare?
This example is perfect for the point we’re trying to convey. When you take the humdrum away from a professional’s life, you get a more focused and efficient professional. Studies and surveys have revealed that employees are willing to work longer hours if they’re given free meals at work and they didn’t have to make food at home.
Ensure Your Managers Are Self-Aware
Self-awareness can be vaguely defined as the ability of an individual to not be surprised by his own actions, reactions, and motivations. Typically, a self-aware individual would be objective about how he does things and deals with scenarios. In simple words, becoming self-aware means not reacting to situations purely for emotional reasons. The quality of being self-aware is the most important in conjunction with man management, which means managers.
In order to retain top performers, a business needs to ensure that its managers are self-aware and not pointlessly reactionary. Working environments are not only based on company policies but also derived from how managers treat their teams. For example, overly competitive managers will cause their teams to become overly competitive too. Such behaviour can actually result in teams becoming uncoordinated and selfish, which is a type of environment that top performers almost always shun.
Develop Peer Review Systems
Reviews and appraisals from employers and seniors are very structured in nature. Everything is planned in advance and executed with utmost care. What this does is that it diffuses the importance of a positive or negative review in the eyes of employees simply because it is so planned. Reviews from peers, however, are something else.
They are almost always taken seriously especially if the entire team consists of high-level performers. When the entire workforce is excellent, top performers always feel more proud if they receive credit from their associates. The reason for this is just that they know it is a genuine review from worthy competitors who understand what it means to excel and what it takes to set new benchmarks.