If you think about your career, it is not just one job or one role,…
Ellen Warden, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
WorkPlace Synergy, LLC
If you have a team of stars, it’s likely you spend an inordinate amount of time with your difficult employee and, in the process, ignore your high performers. Keeping tabs on an employee who consistently delivers, gets pushed down your priority list. But don’t make the mistake of using the “No News is Good News” approach to management.
As a practice leader, your time is at a premium and, despite your best-laid plans, you often must drop everything to put out fires and deal with critical issues. For some of your team, the hands-off approach may be a welcome source of freedom and flexibility. Others may miss or even resent the lack of support, mentoring, and coaching they expect from their manager. Top performers need love, too.
“Good employees are often punished in a sense for doing a good job,” explains Dr. Noelle Nelson, author of Make More Money By Making Your Employees Happy. “Managers will often load a particularly effective employee with more and more work just because they’re good. Not only is that unfair, but everyone has their limits — and when taken advantage of, a breaking point.”
Plan your calendar so you spend as much time with employees who consistently succeed as you spend with those who are failing. Star performers may indicate that they do not need your help with a project. But don’t cancel ongoing “one-on-ones” or delay checking in with them regularly simply because you’re confident in their ability. High performers may be reluctant to reveal problems because they don’t want to risk being seen in anything but a positive light.
Performing her job well isn’t the only sign that an employee is “doing well” and, consequently, doesn’t need any attention. She may be interested in career development and professional growth opportunities. Her initiative and drive may be working against her in the sense that you come to think of her development as being on autopilot.
Spending less time with your top performers because your underperformers and problem employees demand so much more attention is performance management, not people management, and is short-sighted. The fact that top performers don’t need constant guidance and follow-up doesn’t mean they don’t need attention. They just need a different kind of attention. They need appreciation, compensation, and growth opportunities. If they don’t get it from you for their great performance, they’ll find another place where they can.
Do you need help with employee engagement strategies? Ellen Warden works with BV/LS practices around the country to help them align their HR solutions with long-term objectives. You can reach Ellen at WorkPlace Synergy.