Every business aims to build high performing teams with high performing employees. Once the team is made, and the company meets its goals, you want to ensure you keep your top-performing employees.

Finding and attracting these employees is only part of the challenge. If you just stop there, you’ll find that other businesses will soon poach integral members of your team. 

Here are four tips on how to keep your top-performing employees engaged and happy. 

1. Constant Challenges

According to the author of Recruit Rockstart, Jeff Hyman, the best employees will require constant challenges if you hope to retain them long term.

Your high-performing employees have most likely excelled because they are continually seeking new challenges to learn, grow, and improve themselves. 

If most of their job becomes routine, and they don’t feel they have the opportunity to continue to grow, they’ll quickly start to seek out a change in scenery. 

The best way to provide constant challenges is to make sure high performing employees are considered first for promotional opportunities and that you’ve spent time coaching them on the new skills they will need prior.

However, when promotions are not available, or your high performer is not quite ready for the next step, you should consider offering them a “Stretch Assignment”. 

These are projects or tasks, often short-term in nature beyond the employee’s current knowledge or skills level with the goal of “stretching” employees developmentally. It will allow employees to step outside their regular duties and expand their business knowledge.

2. Career Path

A recent study by LinkedIn showed that career opportunity is the top reason people change jobs with 45% of people leaving their job due to lack of opportunities for advancement, and 59% accepting a new job for a healthy career path with more opportunity. 

Therefore it follows that if you have any hope of keeping your high performing employees, they need to feel confident they have a career path with the opportunity for additional responsibility and compensation.

Carter Cast, a clinical professor of innovation and entrepreneurship, commented: “It’s important to put your arm around them and say, ‘I think you have a lot of potential and one of my goals is to help you reach your full potential.”

3. Mentor

Whilst formal training is excellent, most high performers grow due to finding a strong mentor they admire who can give them regular feedback.

High performing employees thrive on one-on-one mentor interaction regularly to seek guidance and ask questions on areas of their role they want to improve on.

4. Compensation

While money may not always keep high performing employees, it helps. Top employees often see compensation as extra dollars in their pocket and a clear sign from management that they are valued and noticed.

The best approach is when the opportunity and timing are right to offer pay increases, don’t just share a blanket 5% increase across the team evenly and instead make sure you offer the highest percentages to your best employees.

Things to Consider 

With every employee, a different strategy might suit better in keeping retention high. One thing to consider is the company culture. Sometimes an employee feeling disengaged is systemic, and the entire structure needs a refresh. 

High performing employees are hard to find, let alone keep. Once you have one within your business, make sure you put in place strategies to keep them happy and engaged. If they grow with your company for an extended period, it’s a win-win for all.