Reward your top performers by getting rid of mediocrity


Writing about employment, management, leadership, mentoring, training and compensating employees is not easy for Uganda for the country has 83% graduates unemployed and this is where the problem starts.

When you have such a large pool of educated young people who are unemployed, you make many mistakes.

Uganda is very well known for nepotism.  You get a job depending on who you know and how you know them. Qualifications are hardly looked at and many people end up in jobs they are not qualified for.

If you are lucky and you end up in a job you are qualified for, brace yourself.  You might end up working alongside someone who has no skills for that job but likely makes more money than you, is favoured by your employer, will be promoted before you and you are basically a nobody since the employer feels that they are doing you a favour by giving you the job and keeping you employed.

I address myself to all you Ugandan bosses, managers, supervisors, business owners, etc…  Exactly why do you think the performance is poor in most of what you do?  You hire brilliant people and walk all over them including insulting them or slapping some of them at work.  You yell at university graduates the way you yell at your kids (and you should not yell at kids).  You want to retain the employee and yet force them to work alongside idiots? You want the employee to be dedicated to you and yet you do not pay them a living wage?  I could go on but I have written a lot about these things in the past.

Below is some advice from American Express:

Your best employee comes into your office Monday morning and gives their two weeks notice. Your heart drops and you start to panic. How will you replace such a stellar performer?

Hopefully you haven’t been faced with this scenario. And if you keep reading, you may never find yourself on the receiving end of such bad news. That’s because the following is some of the best advice on how to retain your rock stars. Take this list to heart and you may land a top dog for life.

Learn their language

You may think you know what motivates your top employees, but have you sat down and asked them? Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm in Chicago, sets aside time on a regular basis to learn what motivates his best employees. Then, when they do a good job, he rewards them accordingly.

“I have one guy who loves sporting events; I can’t give him enough tickets,” he says. “I have another sales person who loves to share her stories with me. She wants time with the CEO, to get my insights, so I schedule about 30 minutes every few weeks and that time keeps her happy and motivated.”

Involve them in company decisions

The more invested an employee, the more likely they will stay, so “bring them into the inner circle,” suggests Ralph Neal, vice president, educational services at Employers Resource Association in Cincinnati.

Consider bringing your top dogs into strategic planning meetings. Let them offer suggestions and seek their opinion about issues that will affect the organization as a whole, he adds.

“They will appreciate being part of the business planning process; it can be a big motivator,” says Neal.

While Gimbel agrees with this suggestion, he also offers a warning: some top performers don’t want to be involved.

“It all comes back to spending time with them and getting to know what they are thinking,” he says.

Give them ownership of their work

A micromanaging boss will only drive away a high achiever. Lori Dernavich, an employee performance advisor based in New York City, suggests letting them complete tasks on their own.

“Allow them to have a say on how to solve a problem; managers shouldn’t have all the answers, so give them a chance to own it,” she says.

Get rid of low performers

Top staff members don’t want to hang out with unmotivated, low performing employees, says Gimbel. Consider showing your bottom feeders the door.

“The majority of really good producers would rather work more than clean up the mess of an underperforming employee,” he adds.

Help design their career path

Don’t assume you know the desired career trajectory of a top performer, says Dernavich. Work with them on a personal development plan. Even if you can’t give them everything they want, your eagerness will land you a few brownie points.

American Express

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Martha Leah Nangalama

Moncton, Canada

I have an IT and Business background

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