The exceptional ones carve out new paths for innovation, employee performance, and success. They set the highest standards of performance and behavior for the rest to look up to.
These are the people who have a clear vision, are motivated, are clear about their short term and long term goals and have a charismatic personality to woo everyone around. These rare employees are your real assets.
But these achievers are human. There can be times when these employees may also get stuck in a performance rut. Do organizations take note of such instances?
According to Gallup’s latest survey, the voluntary turnover rate for the disengaged talent of high performers stood at 10 percent, while that of disengaged low talent stood at fourteen percent. This points out that organizations mostly tend to ignore their high-performance employees, assuming they have everything under control.
When these best employees undergo a period where their performance nose dives, chances of them being disengaged are high. It is at this time when leaders need to step up and ask the right questions, instead of ignoring the issue or worst, giving a bad review.
Here are a few strategies to help you deal with a disengaged high performer:
Transparent and robust communication is often the solution to most problems related to poor performance. If an otherwise high performing employee seems disengaged, sit down with them and have a frank conversation about the changes in performance. Be empathetic and ask what has led to the negative change in productivity? Do this in a safe environment, encourage open communication, offer support and do all this in a non-threatening way.
Based on whatever problem you figure out during the communication, offer suggestions or advice to help counter that. For example, if someone is feeling a sense of burnout because of a change in management style, coach the concerned manager to offer the right support to the employee.
Needless to say, the interest in exploring the real issues for a lack of optimal performance need to be genuine. There will be employees who might now be willing to open up about issues they are facing. Leaders need to proactively step in here and make a difference and offer an environment of psychological safety for them to be able to trust them with their problems.
2. Tell them they matter
Just because an employee is a high performer does not mean they do not seek recognition or validation from their seniors. As organizations scale up, a lot of changes happen. Keep your employees aware of what is happening and tell them how their role will change accordingly. The goal should be to keep reminding employees that they work they do is important.
A lack of recognition over a long period of time can lead to a massive drop in motivation levels. They might also feel like they have lost the connection to the organization.
Recognition needs to be a made a crucial part of your culture, irrespective of levels of employee engagement. Leaders have to constantly reassure their employees of their value, applaud them from time to time for their achievements, and tell them how important their contribution is to achieving common goals.
3. Offer challenges and avenues for constant growth
A monotonous work life where employees are just busy while ticking things off the list is not sustainable. Highly creative people look out for challenges and avenues where they can explore new ways of creativity and innovation. A dead-end job without a challenging environment will invariably lead to boredom. Once boredom hits, employees stop caring.
A bored employee will come to work without any energy, waste precious working hours and create a poor morale among their peers. They will be frustrated themselves, which will affect their performance.
Avoid this by challenging employees with new projects, roles, and developments so that they stay hooked. It is important to understand what the employee is best at or curious about and create development plans accordingly. Create learning and growth opportunities for employees so that they can strive and thrive, and grow continuously. Offer greater ownership over the job and tie employee performance to the success of the organization.
Have clear strategies laid out for all your employees, and do not wait to act till engagement levels drop. Recognize and strengthen your team from time to time, to avoid poor performance altogether. Appreciate your employees for what they do and understand that any kind of slack period does not mean it is the end.