Motivating High Achievers: How to Get the Best from Your Best

Have you noticed that it is often the low achievers within an organization that are given corrective action plans and more personal guidance from leadership, while high achieving employees are left with a lack of mentorship and attention?

High-achieving employees can be some of your best, most productive employees, however, without a formal process or program to recognize and develop these high-achievers, they become frustrated with the lack of advancement and become difficult to retain.

Take a moment to sit back and think about your own high-achieving employees. They are your independent, efficient, and reliable workers that embody your organization’s vision and values through their work ethic.

How well are you engaging, developing, and motivating them to reach their full potential? If you’re unsure about where you stand, or how to even do that, it’s not too late to get started. There are several things you can do to continuously develop your high achievers.


Maintain Open Communication & Feedback

This one may sound a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised how many organizations can get caught up in the whirlwind of day-to-day tasks that they forget to do something as simple as taking a second to check in and communicate with their team, and even more importantly, listen to them. High-achieving employees who feel like they don’t have a voice will quickly become disconnected and unengaged, making other opportunities more attractive, which is what you want to avoid at all costs.

Luckily, all of this can be solved with a proper one-on-one communication strategy and internal communication tools. It is imperative that you give high-achieving employees efficient one-on-one time to listen to questions, address comments or concerns, provide feedback, and go over any benchmarks. Setting up regular one-on-one check-ins can help keep this organized and keep you from going too long without communicating with your team.

One-on-one’s bring managers and employees together. They provide a space where both parties can share feedback, discuss performance objectives, and identify potential roadblocks. As managers, we want our people to feel that they can always be open and honest with us. You should actively listen to your team members and provide feedback and guidance as needed


Invest in their Growth and Development

As you spend more one-on-one time with individual employees, you will slowly start to learn about areas in their personal and professional lives that make them happy and excited or even areas that they’d like to grow in, which is where you come in. It is key that you motivate employees with what matters most to them.

High-performing employees tend to lead their own learning, and they are looking for an organization that can match their energy and actively support their growth. When you show your high-performing employees that you are fully invested in their advancement and development, they will be more engaged and likely to stay onboard.

While your high-achievers may be dominating and surpassing benchmarks in their given roles, it is important that you still support them as they show interest in various ventures.

A regular one-on-one would allow every single person to share their goals, aspirations, concerns, and even their out-of-the-box ideas that they may have been too afraid to share in a public or team setting.


Set Meaningful Goals and Performance Objectives

We believe that every open role can and should have clearly defined performance objectives. The high performers on your team are most likely to be motivated to achieve goals that are meaningful to the success of the team, business, or their professional career. As a manager, you can start by understanding what they hope to achieve both now and in the future. Learn more about how these aspirations align with the needs of your business and how you are able to provide opportunities for learning.   

The most effective performance objectives are measurable or quantifiable. In other words, they have numbers tied to them, however, most roles will have at least some performance objectives that aren’t as black and white and easy to quantify. That’s all the more reason to ensure you’re tracking results! In those scenarios, we use what we call Scalable Performance Objectives.

Here’s how it works. Once you’ve determined the objective (such as “Complete projects on time”), you then measure results on a sliding scale from 0-200%. Why not 0-100%? An employee completing that objective 100% of the time would simply be doing what you hired them to do – their job! By utilizing a much wider range, you are able to recognize when employees are going above and beyond – a trait of a top performer.


High achievers can be true assets to their teams when managed and developed properly. It is up to you to manage and guide them to see their full potential. If you don’t have a formal process or program to recognize and develop these high-achievers, now is the time to start.



Meetings! Some love them. Others don’t. Either way, they are an inevitable part of any functioning organization. When led effectively, meetings are well worth the time investment. However, we all know they can easily become time-wasters and energy drainers. When we pay attention to the attendance list, form an agenda in advance, and conclude with action items, meetings can unleash new insights and promote productivity.  


We’ve probably all attended meetings and had the thought, “Why am I here?” When thinking through meeting attendees, we need to take a step back and ask: Who actually needs to be at the meeting? What do I want from each person there?  

Aside from wasting people’s time, more attendees in a meeting creates a “hiding-in-a-crowd” feeling and discourages participation. In addition to filtering your invite list, let people know what you want from them in a meeting. When you have a role to engage in, meetings are an honor rather than an obligation. Fewer people, who know exactly why they are at a meeting, creates an environment for productivity. 


Every productive meeting has an agenda. If you’re struggling to come up with an agenda, consider whether the meeting is actually necessary! Sending out the agenda ahead of time can make your meetings more productive, particularly if you need meeting participants to brainstorm or form an opinion on an issue beforehand. If you try to introduce a complicated question in a meeting, attendees must quickly try to process the question and generate ideas. Better ideas are likely to come from more extensive processing time prior to the meeting. Capitalize on your time together by giving attendees a list of questions to ponder and investigate ahead of time. 

In addition to setting an agenda, you must follow the agenda! This can be difficult if you have a particularly chatty group. As the leader, you need to set up and enforce some norms for success. Perhaps you devote the first 5 minutes of a meeting to non-business-related chatting, and then turn your attention to the purpose of the meeting. Even so, you may have people who have a difficult time staying on track. This will require you to kindly but firmly guide the group back to the relevant topics at hand. It’s the leader’s job to keep the meeting focused on the agenda, and many people will be grateful when you do. 

Action Items 

End each meeting with a summary of what’s happened and a list of action items. Each action item should have a due date and a person responsible for completing it. Discuss the summary and action items at the end of the meeting, and then follow up with an email directly after the meeting ends. This provides meeting attendees with a written record and reminds them of their responsibilities. 

Wrapping Up 

By auditing the attendance list, setting and following an agenda, and ending with action items, you can capitalize on meeting time. Over the course of a year, following these best practices can have a major impact on a company’s bottom line.  Additionally, when enough meeting leaders implement these changes, the norms and attitudes around meetings will begin to shift. Attendees will start to expect more from meetings: both to get more out of them and to bring more energy, ideas, and expertise to them.  

Our Manage 4 Performance platform helps companies be more strategic about meeting time. When you join M4P you will unleash a competitive advantage through saved money, saved time, and better ideas. Book a demo today to learn more!  

Post Categories: Blog | Insights
Date Published: Aug 11, 2022
Post Categories: Blog | Insights
Date Published: Aug 11, 2022