Supporting and Advancing High-Performing Team Members

May 12, 2021

Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, has often been quoted, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

As managers, we can take advantage of the strong employees, overlooking them and their talents, forgetting to acknowledge their hard work and accomplishments, while juggling our own heavy loads or attempting to manage underperforming team members.

This can be a costly and devastating mistake. High performing team members need mentorship, encouragement, and praise to feel valued and to realize opportunity for growth. Without it, they may be tempted to seek greater opportunity elsewhere.

Here are a few steps for fostering engagement, mentoring, and acknowledging high-performing team members:

  • Share with the team member his/her value to the team and the organization more often than just the scheduled review time.
  • Take the time to ask the team member if they have any frustrations, challenges, or obstacles affecting their work or ability to succeed.
  • Take the time to understand your A player’s long-term goals – do those goals align with future opportunities within the company?

A high-performing team member should see a clear path for advancement. They need something to work towards – something in return for all their hard work and success.

Consider opportunities for promotion within your team or across the company. Discuss this high-performing employee with your boss and other senior leaders.

After you have established growth goals with the employee, develop a plan to help them see the path there. Are there training or skills development opportunities? Thinking about mentorship, is there someone in the organization from whom they might learn? Are there opportunities to demonstrate leadership in a new way?

For B-players – these are team members who perform well but not as well as they are capable – open communication to explore any barriers or frustrations they might have. These team members often need motivation. Make them feel valued – ask them for their opinion, or invite them to work on a challenging project.

Talk to them about areas for improvement and ask them what they need to support them in this effort. Create an actionable development plan that connects the employee’s motivational preferences with the performance, attitude, and maintenance targets you discuss and agree upon.

Managers should not neglect their star employees, but it takes more than recognition of achievements. High-performing employees want to feel valued and respected, and must see a clear path for advancement, otherwise their ambition will lead them to leave, creating a void that can be difficult and expensive to fill.

Contact us today to learn more about our modern approach to performance management and development and the many benefits for employees including supporting a transparent, development focused, coaching culture.