Even your best employees can get off track every now and then. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to get your high performers back in the game. But if your top performer seems to have less engagement than a year ago, or sometimes seems to be phoning it in, how do you put them back on track? Here are three strategies.
Communicate their contributions to your overall vision
Every successful company has a vision. The top performers contribute to it in very specific ways. Are they the key salespeople? The primary creative leaders? The most responsible team players? Clarify the contribution that makes them key performers for you.
Then, discuss it with them. Be positive. It could be an informal lunch or an annual performance review. It can clarify for them why and how they are a key performer. It will also make them see how important they are.
Clarify their role
Sometimes, top performers lose the thread of what their value is because their role has become larger. Part of becoming a top performer may have involved role expansion or filling in for gaps or lesser performers.
If that has happened, clarify their role. If a role extension should lead to a promotion, so be it! If they’ve been covering the slack of lesser performers, prune the latter and reward the former. If they’ve been developing a team without recognition, recognize it. If they’ve been filling in a gap, part of clarifying their role may involve beefing up a team or a function. Make sure they are rewarded there as well.
Give them new opportunities
While we’re talking about rewards, make sure the top performer is not doing same old, same old. Most people like to grow and develop. Ask them clearly what their goals are. If they want to be head of a new office or move into marketing from sales, develop a mutually productive plan so those goals can be fulfilled.
At the same time, think about expansion and new plans with your top performers in mind. Run down some scenarios that seem appropriate for their capabilities. Delighting your top performer with a new opportunity they’ve never thought of is always a good idea.
All these strategies should refresh the commitment and engagement of your top performers. The result? Win-win all around.
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