Did you know that an organization’s top performers produce up to 12 times more than the average employee? And in key positions, when a star performer leaves, the operating cost in their absence can be as much as $7,000 – a day.

So in today’s free-agent economy, how do you create a culture of growth and loyalty for your top talent? The best way to achieve this goal is to let leaders lead – and you accomplish this through a recipe of coaching and development, accessibility, engagement and autonomy.

Coach But Don’t Clone

To best develop and satisfy your top performers, it’s your job to help them achieve their personal goals.

  • Value your differences. Help them be their best, not your best. Ask them questions to uncover their thoughts, assumptions and perceptions about their work situation and career path. Have regular dialogues that will enable both of you to see how different approaches can lead to more effective results. Stay away from the “my way or the highway” approach, which can be damaging and disempowering.
  • Listen. Wait until it’s your turn to share your perspective and ideas. Then, lead into a discussion that enables them to better understand their performance and its impact on the company. And, help them to better understand the approaches and perspectives of others, so they can become stronger managers.

Give Them Time & Attention

Studies have shown that managers spend 80 percent of their time with the bottom 20 percent of performers. So deal with or eliminate the bottom feeders and capitalize on your top individuals.

  • Be accessible. Superstar performers need to move quickly, so don’t put them off or keep them waiting. They are innovative and may want to dabble in and try new things, without management constantly looking over their shoulder. So be there to give them input and approval, then let them have at it. This will keep their energy level, enthusiasm and loyalty at peak levels.
  • Listen. Not just when there’s a problem or crisis, but all the time. Conduct regularly scheduled “stay interviews” to keep communication lines open and uncover any potential concerns at an early stage. This also makes employees feel appreciated in the “here and now,” which contributes to morale and initiative.

Fair is Fair

  • Don’t expect superstars to pull all the weight. Avoid shackling them to other employees who can’t keep up. It’s okay in an emergency, but be careful not to fall into this habit.

Most people believe qualified employees are motivated chiefly by money. And while it’s true that a robust wage and benefits package is important, the top three reasons high-performing employees leave their companies are:

  • Poor relationships with their direct managers
  • Little opportunity to grow or develop
  • Lack of challenging or meaningful work

Create a culture of excellence by giving your top performers a voice that will resound throughout your organization in terms of better value, customer service and results.

Need more tips on talent management and related recruiting strategies? Read our related posts or contact the experts at BrainWorks today!

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