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Secrets to nurturing great employees

Every organisation has a handful of star employees – top talents who contribute more to the business than other employees. Research by business psychology consultancy Sullivan reveals that top performers are 10 times more productive than the average employee, so a great employee is indeed an organisation’s most strategic asset.

Because of the value that great employees add to a business, rewarding, nurturing and retaining these top talent is essential to the health and growth of an organisation, and should be a priority for managers and HR personnel.

Make career progression a priority

Great employees are often creative, innovative and restless individuals, so they need to feel that they are moving up the career ladder, otherwise they might get bored and plan an exit. Avoid stagnation by giving these individuals plenty of opportunities to learn, try their hand at different skills across departments and grow their talents. Encourage them to contribute to the evolution of the company and over time, allow them to take on greater responsibilities, so they feel like they have a worthwhile purpose in the organisation.

Let them have their say

Top talents are often interested and motivated by the company's mission and core values, so it’s important that they feel like involved stakeholders rather than corporate puppets. Great employees are most engaged when their personal values are aligned with the organisation’s, so its important that they can contribute on some level to strategic planning initiatives and programs, give suggestions for improvements, and participate in how the organisation interacts with and gives back to the community and the world at large.

Because of the value that great employees add to a business, rewarding, nurturing and retaining these top talents is essential to the health and growth of an organisation, and should be a priority for managers and HR personnel.


Reward great work

Nobody works for free, so organisations that pay well, offer generous bonuses, good HR benefits and regular job promotions are in a better position to retain their best employees. While praise and a “thank you” or “good job” from a manager in front of co-workers and customers can go a long way, more entrepreneurial individuals may want a stake in the form of stock options, shares or even partnership. Different individuals value different rewards. Finding out what a top employee wants (more annual leave, overseas assignments, more independence, a promotion etc.) will help the organisation to provide a reward that will keep them happy and productive.

Create a positive work environment

Top talents often do not like being micro-managed, so create a culture where department heads inspire, guide and encourage rather than dictate and control with an iron fist. An open managerial style works well for top performers and will bring out the best in them. While it is important for great employees to received recognition of their good work, do not undervalue the contributions of new or average employees as this can cause resentment in the workplace and create a toxic environment. Acknowledge the value of all employees in the organisation to create supportive and friendly work environment, as this is an important element in retaining both good and great employees.

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