4 ways to retain your high performers
Updated: Oct 20
Almost every organization has a handful of high performers, or HPs, that it keeps a close eye on. Or at least, it should. Research indicates that high performers are 400% more productive than average performers. Yes - you read that correctly - 400%.
Wait, there is more. In more complex occupations, such as software developers, high performers can be 800% more productive. There is a reason why some of the best-performing organizations significantly differentiate their A players from B and C players in compensation and progression. They want to do everything they can to keep their A players, even if it comes at a potential cost of negatively affecting your B and C players.
Today, organizations need to be paying extra attention to these HPs, given the tight labor market - retaining them is more critical than ever before. Here's some ideas on what you can do to retain your HPs.
#1. Competitive Compensation
Of course, this is a must-have for most employees. For HPs, you have to pay extra attention because (i) they care more about this and (ii) they have much higher and faster-growing compensation opportunities. Organizations can adopt an internal process that checks market compensation rates against its internal compensation every quarter to six months using tools like glassdoor. Another thing to think about is locking in HPs using deferred compensation wisely (e.g., stock options, deferred bonus, deferred profit-sharing, etc.).
#2. Constructive Feedback
HPs want more feedback than others. 50% of HPs say that they expect at least a monthly sit-down with their managers, which we know isn't happening in most organizations. Provide positive feedback to recognize good work and corrective feedback to help them grow in real-time. This is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways of increasing the chance of retaining HPs.
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We have talked about autonomy in a previous post and how it doesn't always work. With HPs, it works most of the time. In fact, many HPs almost expect that they get autonomy after proving themselves. Let them run wild and remove roadblocks for them. If they need help, they will ask for it.
#4. Clear Career Path
Transparency into their career paths allows HPs to understand where they stand and how they can get to the next level. HPs are ambitious and always looking to improve - if you provide clear steps on how to improve and help them achieve the next levels in their careers, they are more likely to stay. Actually, let me put it another way - if you leave them in the dark, they will start questioning their trajectory and they will start thinking about leaving. Similar rule to #1 above applies here - HPs have tremendous opportunities for promotions when they leave one company for another (they often trade up). Having frequent career path conversations with them allows them to appreciate that their progression is on your mind.
What have you done to keep your A players?
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