What Motivates Employees To Be Top Performers?

Robin Schwartz

What Motivates Employees To Be Top Performers?

Companies and recruiters often talk about how to motivate and retain their employees. Companies want employees to become “top performers”. Having motivated and highly skilled employees is the ideal situation for almost all organizations.

Instead of seeking new talent, companies should consider what it takes to turn their current workforce into top performers.

The Company’s Role

Companies should focus on making sure that their employees feel connected to the mission and values of the organization. Doing this will allow them to see how their role positively impacts the organization. It will result in employees feeling more engaged in what they do.

One option is to ask for feedback and ideas. Employees may have reason to believe their company doesn’t want or need their input.

Offer different ways employees can share what their goals are for the coming year. You can then work to align them with the company’s goals.

Some employees would be eager to share ideas in an open forum or focus group. Other would prefer to share their ideas one on one or through survey data. Give your employees multiple options when it comes to adding input.

Companies also need to provide an environment and culture that employees are eager to be a part of. An employee will likely enjoy coming to the office when they feel that there is a culture of collaboration, growth and respect.

What many call employee morale, others call employee engagement. Having an engaged workforce means employees feel valued and heard. Part of that is creating experiences that will provide the recognition they deserve. It could also be an outlet they need to develop stronger relationships with their peers.

Instead of just deciding what you think employees want to experience, get their feedback.

Companies can create a “teambuilding” or “engagement” committee. This committee would get ideas from the staff to make sure that events or experiences are worthwhile.

Organizations should be aware of any cultural issues that may exist. They should have an idea where their employee engagement stands. If employees are coming to the office, punching a clock, then just going home, motivating them to be top performers is going to be close to impossible. If your organization has changes to make, make them. Work to create a collaborative environment. This environment should support the growth of the employee, their work-life balance, and the success of the company as a whole.

The Manager’s Role

Managers have to unique ability to guide the employee in their role and encourage them to become a top performer for the company.

It’s important that managers provide regular feedback to employees so they know:

  • What they are doing well
  • What is appreciated
  • Where areas of growth are

Giving feedback on a regular basis shows employees that someone cares about them. This will help motivate them to keep building on their skills.

Feedback doesn’t always have to be given in formal settings or during required annual review processes.

Some examples are:

  • Having their manager recognize their contributions to a project in front of other colleagues
  • Thank them for putting in the extra time at the office

This is enough to feel valued and acknowledged. Employees are more likely to be motivated to work harder when they know they are appreciated.

Managers will need to work with employees to help them grow within the company. For many workers, being a top performer eventually means receiving promotions or raises.

Sometimes promotions are not available due to company size or budget reasons. If this happens, discuss with the employee what skill sets they would like to gain or work on.

Ask the employee how they see their strengths supporting the company.

When an employee feels engaged and are included in how their skills are utilized, they may be less likely to grow frustrated.

You can also consider if moving the employee in another position may be an option. Sometimes, it is enough for employees to feel as if they are taking on new roles within an organization.

The best managers also trust employees to do their work and don’t micromanage them. One of the main reasons an employee leaves a company is because of their manager. It’s not because of pay, benefits or other incentives. Motivating employees to be top performers starts with showing them you trust them.

Companies want their employees to take initiative, provide new ideas and create. Employees in to the mission of the organization will allow them to see how their role creates a positive impact.

Making small changes like this can have a huge impact. Companies can go from having employees who are just willing to comply with the requirements of their job to those who are enthusiastic. Employees will start to develop innovative ideas to move the organization forward.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz has nearly a decade of experience providing HR expertise to employees and management in higher education. Her broad experience includes benefits, compensation, performance management, employee relations, payroll, talent acquisition and management. She received her masters degree from American Military University and maintains a PHR certification.

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