How to Motivate High Performing Employees?

Motivating high performing employees is probably the hardest task faced by managers. If you want to learn how to be more successful at it, this blog post if you. Read on to learn 5 effective tactics that will help you successfully motivate your high performing employees.


The ups and downs of motivating high-performing employees

High-performing employees are the biggest asset to your company. The Can-Do, Self-Driven, Goal-Oriented, Ladder Climbers of the bunch.

It is not easy to find qualified candidates. When you finally succeed in recruiting the right people for your company, your job is not done.

You need to nurture and engage your talent to stop them from leaving. As a manager, you’ll want to inspire your high-performing employees to keep on doing what they are so obviously good at doing.

However, high performing employees are notorious for being difficult to retain; they need a more tailored management approach to maintain their drive.

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6 tactics for motivating high-performing employees

There are many different tactics you can use to motivate your team.  

However, certain tactics work best with high-performing employees.

Here are 5 most effective tactics for motivating high-performing employees:


Tactic #1: Engage them

A high-performing employee’s greatest enemy is boredom. 

If a high-performing employee is unchallenged or bored, they will disengage and decline.

There are 2 types of boredom to combat:

  1. Work environment boredom
    Work environment boredom can be quite difficult to combat. A stagnant work environment slowly drains your employees and can eventually kill any desire they have to be productive. Keep things interesting by inviting experts in the field to present at your company or by having team outings to inspire interpersonal relationships among coworkers. Let your coworkers “nest” in their cubicles to liven things up in the office and help inspire conversation.
  2. Task-related boredom 
    Task-related boredom is simpler to combat. More than likely, you already plan on assigning more challenging projects to your veteran high-performing employees. Giving them a challenge that stretches their skills and knowledge keeps them engaged and focused, and it also inspires other tactics for motivation. 

Tactic #2: Help them improve

High-performing employees are driven; they want goals. Not just for the company, but also for themselves. To inspire their dedication, you must prove their own. Help challenge them, and find new ways to grow and learn. High-performing employees are often eager in all aspects of the job, including this. They want constructive feedback and career goals, and opportunities to succeed.

Employers can utilize technology to effectively and efficiently track performance goals, and time management aspects to effectively and efficiently encourage and support improvement efforts.

These life-long learners are skilled at finding innovative solutions for more challenging tasks. Even when a task does not go as planned, or fails the intended results, high-performing employees will learn from their mistakes and continue to grow and thrive.

Another thing to consider is that your high-performing employees will also want to improve outside of the organization. It is a good idea to keep plenty of resources on hand for them, but many can find insights and tips from outside sources on their own.

Keep an open mind and be willing to listen to their suggestions when they have been researching a problem. You can also keep them informed of any upcoming conferences or presentations relating to their field and help work their schedules so that they can attend.

Tactic #3: Give them independence

One of the quickest ways to drive off a top performer is micromanagement. They have the skills, the knowledge, and the drive to get things done, but an overly controlling boss will only hold them back. To be labeled a high-performing employee, an employee has already proven themselves in your workforce. By learning to trust them to come to you when needed and granting them the freedom to get their tasks done their way, you inspire loyalty.

You are not completely out of the process - nor should you be. You need to work with the employee to set goals and deadlines. But you do not need to control every aspect of their project or be metaphorically or looking over their shoulders while they work. You can even use handy HR software tools like online time clocks to allow your high-performing employees a higher level of autonomy.

Tactic #4: Inspire them

When dealing with high-performing employees, it can be a little too easy to assume they don’t need you. While it is true that you want to grant them a certain level of autonomy, as discussed above, it is irresponsible to believe you do not need to involve yourself with them at all. High-performing employees respond well to tailored management tactics, not complete neglect. To keep your high-performing employees from stagnating, you need to help keep them inspired.

Personal and Professional inspiration both play a role in this, and neither is entirely reliant upon you.

Some great ways to keep your high-performing employees inspired are through exposing them to other professionals through presentations or conferences, even by simply introducing them to other people within the company they may not have regular access to.

Another way is through targeted, organized 1-on-1s with your high-performing employees. In these meetings, you get the opportunity to ask them what they need and encourage them in their performance. After all, a valued employee is a happy employee - and a happy employee is a productive one.

Tactic #5: Involve them

Your high-performing employees play an integral role in the company. Do not shut them out of important discussions and decisions. If you are not careful, some decisions may adversely affect your high-performing employees in ways you may not expect. On the flip side, they may have more efficient solutions to offer and in-depth insights. 

When important discussions are taking place within the company, you want to keep your high-performing employees in the loop. Even if they do not have the clearance to attend involved meetings, you can get their opinions and feedback and take it to the table for them. Involving your high-performing employees in company decisions helps to show that you value their skills, insights, and opinions.

Managing the motivation of your high-performing employees

Perhaps the hardest task faced by managers is making their organization talent-worthy and motivating their employees. This is an especially demanding task when those employees are tried and true veterans, high-performing employees in their teams.

Reasons for this specific difficulty vary from finding ways to appeal to the more knowledgeable employees of the group all the way to not acknowledging or even being aware of their need for motivation alongside other, newer employees.

To keep your company on top, be wary of this trip. High-performing employee engagement is the key to better business results.

Carefully consider the six tactics above and tailor them to best fit your high-performing employees. Do not be afraid to involve them in this decision! High-performing employees are dedicated to their careers, and they will not want to stagnate. Let them work with you to determine the best ways to keep them challenged and inspired.

About the author

Eric Czerwonka is a co-owner of Buddy Punch, one of the top saas time clock systems in the world. He is particularly interested in and knowledgeable about managing employees. 

Frequently asked questions

Why is it crucial to motivate high-performing employees? 

High-performing employees drive company success, but they require tailored management and motivation to prevent stagnation and retain their drive and productivity.

How can engaging high-performing employees combat boredom? 

Providing challenging tasks and fostering a dynamic work environment can keep these employees engaged, preventing disengagement and decline in performance.

What strategies help in improving high-performing employees? 

Supporting their goals, offering constructive feedback, providing resources for external learning, and recognizing their achievements ensure continuous growth and satisfaction.

Why is granting independence important for high performers? 

High performers thrive under trust and autonomy, and micromanagement can hinder their productivity and creativity, leading to dissatisfaction and potential attrition.

How does involving high-performing employees in decision-making benefit the company? 

Their insights and solutions can be invaluable, and involving them in discussions and decisions shows respect for their expertise, fostering loyalty and satisfaction.

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