How to keep your top performers challenged

Natalie Layton

Top performers expect a lot from themselves. They’re highly driven people and they bring these qualities to the workplace and help companies achieve successful outcomes. Because top performers are such valuable assets, managers and leaders must keep them challenged to keep them engaged.

In the Skillsoft course “Keeping Your Top Performers Challenged” you’ll learn how to identify your top performers, keep them engaged and challenged by providing the right environment, leadership and communication.

For some staff, a gold star or certificate is enough, but for a top performer, gold star recognition isn’t enough. Top performers have a strong sense of ownership and want to be given a goal and have the freedom to run with it. They’re able to work on their own initiative and have the freedom to run with it.

  • If a Top Performer is one of your direct reports, you need to identify and manage the following accordingly:
  • Make sure that they’re tasks closely match the company’s strategy and mission
  • They’re results driven, so you need clear guidelines and KPI’s
  • They’re strong performers ready to go above and beyond to exceed expectations
  • They’re creative problem solvers who respond well to change
  • They take their work seriously, do quality work and get it done on time
  • They prefer direct communication because they thrive on efficiency

Top performers inspire their peers and are your companies’ main assets. They raise the bar for the rest of the team, because when they’re empowered and on board and aren’t just about their own personal gain. They want to get the job done and done well – even if an incentive is removed because to them, it’s for the good of the organisation.

But keeping the passion of a top performer alive in your organisation is critical. If you become distracted, all that great performance and energy from them will fade away or worse you’ll lose them to new challenges elsewhere. Top performers need to feel part of an engaged organisation, as nothing effects their motivation like their push for positive change is not being heard.

Not all disengaged top performers walk out the door, sometimes something worse happens… they stick around and settle for mediocracy.

So how do you create the best environment for top performers?

Top performers bring a lot to an organisation. The bar is set higher for them and they expect more from themselves. They also expect more from their workplace.

Top performers need to be more satisfied with their jobs than others, so building a workplace that keeps top performers engaged in a no brainer, so how do you do that?

  • Support their hard work and help them create opportunities to develop
  • Create a performance centred workplace also gives top performers the opportunity to expand their roles through delegation or letting them shadow large projects so they can expand their skills and knowledge
  • And allow them to partner with top executives, customers or partners to allow them to be their best selves

So how do you engage them as well as your entire workforce?

  • Trust them and give them ownership to run with their projects but be available and supportive when they seek your assistance
  • Address poor performance across your team, they will work harder than anyone, but expect the same from their co-workers and management
  • Delegate work to them, it gives them pride and shows respect and empowers them to be their best
  • They react positively to managers who show respect. So be supportive, and empowering with no empty promises
  • They are their biggest critics and are constantly evaluating themselves, so give them regular constructive feedback so they continue to grow and provide the most value for the organisation.


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