Seven Ways to Motivate Top Talent in De-Motivating Times
August 9 2012 by Brad Remillard
So how do you motivate your top talent to achieve the company’s goals?
How do you keep them from contacting recruiters?
How do you keep them passionate about coming to work?
How do you keep them engaged day after day?
The answer to all of these is “culture.” Even in difficult times top talent, by definition, will always rise to the occasion. They will always strive to be the best. If they don’t, they aren’t top talent. However, even top talent can burn out, get frustrated, not see the light at the end of the tunnel or wonder if they are really contributing.
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3) Respect and appreciation. This is probably the least expensive and least used method to motivate and retain top talent. Small things can make a big difference with top talent. Respecting their contributions, listening to them, including them in the decision making process, asking for their thoughts and ideas all make them feel respected and appreciated. Consider building a culture that respects your top talent so they feel appreciated. Top talent does not want to be taken for granted.
4) Consistent feedback. This could be considered a subset of number three, but more formal. This includes regular and structured 1-on-1 feedback sessions. Not standing in the hallway conversations, but actually sitting down and focusing on them. Giving them feedback, encouraging them, listening to what their needs are (even if you can’t meet them, just listening), taking an interest in their career and building a shared bond. This makes them feel their manager cares about them as a person, not just an employee.
5) Praise. You may have experienced a manager with this philosophy: “That is what they get paid for. Why should I thank them? They should thank me for having a job.” How did you like it? Compare that to a manager with this philosophy: “Thanks, I know it is just part of your job, but I appreciate the pride you take in your work. It helps everyone in the department.” How did you like that? A little praise goes a long way to motivate people. In difficult times when people are doing more than expected and yes maybe they should be glad to have a job, demonstrating appreciation will be returned when the economy turns and they don’t have to be working there any longer.
6) Education and Growth. Top talent insists on getting better. They know once their learning curve flattens out, future opportunities can become limited. Top talent does not like to have their growth potential limited. Giving your best people the opportunity to take some additional classes, lead a project outside their normal job, challenge them with new opportunities, give them a chance to serve on a cross functional team or take an on-line class will ensure they are becoming better. All these not only ensure your top talent is growing, but also makes them a more valuable employee.
7) Self- Motivating Culture. Executives and managers have the power to inspire the employees around them to self-motivate. The ability of managers to get the most out of the people they employ is critical to the success and productivity improvements of any organization. Top talent by their very nature is self-motivated. The problem with many companies is in tough times rather than unleash this powerful and innate behavior to get more productivity; they instead demand more productivity and thereby often stymie this behavior.
This element of leadership is one of the core areas to reflect upon when retaining executives and...