The 7 Things High Performers Want At Work

In All, Social Recruitment, The Human Resource by Rebecca PhamLeave a Comment

employee-recognition-and-incentive-programs-to-increase-engagement-and-productivityA high performer can deliver 400% more productivity than the average performer.

Ignore your high performers and they will seek alternative opportunities that provide more challenges, growth, and rewards. Your competitors would love to have them.

Keep your best workers by meeting these 7 things a high performer wants and needs:

1. A challenge

Studies found that presenting challenges to high performing employees helps increase employee’s productivity, their perceived value of work and desire for continuing accomplishments increase.

High performers love challenges and problem solving is second nature to them. It’s important to present challenges to your higher performers here and there and not drain them with repetitive work – high performers are the first ones to get bored with what they perceive as a routine task.

2. Learning and Development

High achievers have a stronger tendency to direct their own learning. Many high performers, and in particular younger employees, are not motivated solely by money or by impressive titles.

They want to do meaningful and interesting work that matters to them. Therefore, they are often not impressed by promises of raises or promotions unless these advances are accompanied by new responsibilities and challenges.

3. Feedback

Do you or your managers sit down with employees to discuss their performance frequently?

Fifty percent of high performers say they expect at least a monthly sit down with their managers, but only 53% say their manager delivers on their feedback expectations.

Relying on annual or semi-annual performance reviews as the primary feedback mechanism is not enough. Your high performers are likely to need a more frequent boost and will begin to show signs of under-appreciation.

4. Competitive Pay

While money isn’t necessarily the biggest motivator of high performers, it does make a huge difference in terms of retaining high performers.

According to studies conducted by the Harvard Business Review,  high performers cared significantly more about both base pay and bonus pay than average or low performers, and this is one of the most important contributors to employee satisfaction among top employees.


5. Recognition

The biggest complaint of high performers is the lack of differentiation and are more likely to leave a company if they feel under-valued.

Make sure your high performers knows how much you appreciate their contributions and talk explicitly with them about the impact his/her work has had on your team or organization.


6. Flexibility

A highly contributing factor to job satisfaction for high performers was flexibility and location.

Studies found that high performers were less inclined to relocate than poor performers. Figure out ways to give your high performers maximum flexibility if you don’t want them to leave, even in your current location.

Make sure they have options for career advancement and the ability to acquire diverse experiences by assigning them short-term assignments and leading virtual global teams rather than relocating.

7. Career Advancement

It’s important to talk to employees about their career goals and let them know that this is open for discussion. To make sure your staff member doesn’t seek growth somewhere else, work with her to set stretch goals that will move her out of her comfort zone.

Add new responsibilities to her plate when she’s ready for them, and talk explicitly with her about how she can continue to grow within the company.



In spite of all this, you might not be able to keep your high performers forever. But by being thoughtful and strategic about the retainment of your best employees, you can often keep them fulfilled and contributing at a high level for much longer.


Project Manager of @Workible, Obsessed with Marrying HR with IT, Lifelong Learner & Dedicated Foodie. Beware of cheesy life quotes! 😉

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