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How to Engage and Inspire Your A-Plus Talent

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

High-performing employees typically work harder — and often better — than their co-workers, so they can rightfully expect that their employers will show appreciation by offering them stimulating work, recognition, exciting career paths and the opportunity to prosper.

Throughout my 20-plus year career as a dietary supplement industry executive, I have found that establishing clear values, accountability, the right culture, high-performance expectations and the opportunity to thrive creates pathways for high levels of success — for the organization and its future leaders.

1. Create a clear vision and clear values for your organization.

Treat your vision and values as your foundation. They should provide your organization and everyone associated with it the “why” you are in business and “how” you are trying to accomplish that vision. Your A-plus players will view this as the basic structure for how success will be achieved.

Vision and values also guide company leadership in making decisions. As the business leader, you should encourage employees to communicate these concepts to current and future clients and customers. Additionally, openly sharing them can help the company attract the “cream of the crop” job candidates who possess like-minded values.

A core value, such as work-life balance, can attract talented prospects who may be looking for an employer that will be inclined to treat them as whole people with real lives.

Related: Employee Experience Matters More Than Ever. Here’s How to Elevate It.

2. Create an accountability chart, showing clear responsibility and ownership over the major areas of the business. 

An accountability chart helps your A-plus players see where they fit into an organization and also allows them to see the entire organization’s accountability to plot their path if they find something that interests them. 

You want to welcome your A-plus players to explore areas where they could make an impact. I encourage you to share data and allow employees under the tent. It will help them truly understand how the organization is performing. Identifying and quantifying the value of the most mission-critical roles in any organization is vital to matching talent to value. 

3. Foster a culture where management understands that the pieces of the puzzle need to be given a chance to thrive. 

Delegating and elevating — while setting clear objectives with reasonable but challenging expectations — will bring out the best in your A-plus employees, but having the right corporate culture in which employees can succeed is vital.

According to research from Gartner, only 31% of HR leaders believe that their organization has the culture it needs to have. Additionally, many employees say they have encountered tensions in their company culture, which does nothing to help a company with its recruitment or retention strategies.

It is said that when companies get corporate culture right, it can be one of your most powerful recruiting tools. 

4. Insist on high performance — and reward it. 

Praise those who uphold your values, praise those who consistently overperform, recognize that performance, and, equally as important, foster a culture that does not accept repeatedly substandard performance. 

Taking the time to very clearly communicate performance standards helps all team members understand that work is expected to be consistently done correctly and well. 

Also, regularly and publicly praise and reward notable achievements and high performance.

Related: How Praising Employees Can Help Your Business Thrive

5. Allow your A-plus players the chance to thrive.

Precisely because they work harder (and often better) than their peers, A-plus players expect their organizations to treat them well — by providing them with stimulating work, lots of recognition, compelling career paths and the chance to prosper if the organization does.

They are right to expect it. Invest in your people and they will invest in you. 

Retaining top performers is the fastest and most effective way to help your business to thrive along with your team.

Related: 5 Keys to Retaining Your Best Employees

When you consider that nearly 60 percent of employees accept a new job that offers a strong career path with more opportunities, these are exactly the motivated people who can earn those opportunities and embark on those career paths at your company. 

People who focus on their career paths will have a greater drive to continually perfect their skills and go beyond performance expectations.

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