It must be frustrating to coaching a college division 1 basketball or football team. You and your staff spend years researching and recruiting the best players you can find. They may or may not sign with your team for any number of reasons. But if they do, and you are lucky, you have a player for their entire college career. Of course, if they are really good, they might turn pro sooner, leaving you with a gap in your team roster and nothing to show for all of your recruiting work.
But the same thing might happen to the people you hire for your organization. The best players on your team may be recruited away or seek bigger opportunities.
That’s why you can’t take your hard-working employee for granted. Someone on your team might take very little supervision and need minimal direction, but that’s no reason to ignore them and let them do their work on their own..
Keep, in mind, a 2014 Gallup poll that showed the main reason why people leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated.
And yet, many managers spend a lot of time trying to improve a slacking employee while ignoring the top flight worker.
Consider implementing these ten steps:
1) Make sure you praise outstanding work. Be specific about the project they have worked on and why their work is praiseworthy.
2) Written thank you notes are much better than emailed messages. Nowadays, we get so many emails that they are longer unique and can easily be ignored. But if a manager hand writes a note, there’s a good chance the receiving employee will value it more. I know of one person who took home a letter I wrote to show his wife, parents, and kids.
3) Focus on treating your workers like professionals. Let an employee off to see their kid’s soccer game without having to take personal time.
4) Offer opportunities for professional development. Your best workers want to get better. Let them design and propose a training program that will help them improve their skills.
5) Give the high flying staff member latitude and time to work on a pet project. I heard of an ad agency that gave employees two hours a week to work on a passion project.
6) Let peers make recommendations for recognition.
7) Offer “lunch with the boss.” That could be with you in your role as the manager, but it could be the chair of the Board. The CEO or another person that would make the occasion truly special.
8) Can you arrange VIP parking?
9) Recognize top employees with a certificate for a bonus half-day off that they can redeem whenever they want.
10) You may have noticed that I have t mentioned a monetary reward. Of course, that’s nice, but you might not have that authority to do that. Can petty cash be used for other rewards that will be even more popular? Consider things like unscratched lottery tickets, gift cards to a local movie theater, car wash coupons, Amazon, Starbucks, etc.
None of these ideas will work for the college coach, but they are sure to motivate many of your employees and keep them on your team.