Flashing Yellow Light Time: Overworking Your Top Performers
The essence of much of the work I do is providing Supervisors and Managers with more Tools to do their jobs at a high level. Part of the foundational logic of my facilitation style is to engage with my participants and make it safe for them to share experiences and their “supervisory” journey up to the point of the Training I am delivering. And, one of the characteristics they all share with each other is that they are/have been “decision-makers” and they “get things done”.
Oftentimes, the reason their employer has invested in “training” is to equip them to be able to perform at even higher levels. (Or, said another way: If the only tool you have in your “Supervisor Tool Box” is a hammer, then too often, all problems encountered look like a nail.” Metaphorically speaking of course. IKR
Want a real-time example? Well, here it comes. How are you dealing with this scenario; with a turnover that is high and climbing? And, with “recruiting” taking longer than you have ever experienced in the past. And, oh, by the way, the push for maintaining productivity is ever-present. How are you dealing with it?
Is your game plan for meeting production or service level goals just to add more and more to the workload of your Top Performers? Be careful. There are firms out there that track “why employees behave the way they do” and why they decide to quit. Well, you probably already know (Hint, I’ve shared the data in prior newsletters.) The number one reason is “THE SUPERVISOR”. And now, those researchers are looking into “Why TOP PERFORMERS QUIT?”. They are finding more and more feedback that says the “TOP PERFORMER” group is saying their reason for leaving is “being overworked”. They are FEELING it.
My prescription for dealing with this workforce condition includes: Don’t just presume that they know you consider them a Top Performer. Recognize it again and again. Stay even closer to this group. Interact conversationally, not long philosophical discussions; rather show any interest in them. It’s called Respect, Trust, and Valuing. Make sure they know why you are having them do extra. And, you might even “invite” them to become more involved in “setting new hires up to succeed” by sharing their skills and knowledge of the job to be done.
Yes, you’ll have to invest your time in describing what this will look like individually. Yes, in some cases you’ll be trying to connect with your/Top Performers’ egos; so that they can help to reduce turnover and increase retention. And, yes, that’s also being selfish about delegating successful onboarding to more than just YOU.
And, if these efforts are successful to even a small degree, increased retention might just mean more people staying and less “overwork” for those “PERFORMERS”.