How To Keep Your Top Performers Motivated when Stretched Thin

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By: Corey Loehr, Chief Revenue Officer
Your top performers are people you can rely on, but even the best get stretched and may suffer from burnout. So here’s what you can do to keep their fires burning strong.
As a leader, you want people around you that you can rely on. Unfortunately, at times when you have staff shortages, your team’s top performers may become overloaded with work. While the work needs to be done for your business to succeed, these team members can quickly become burned out if you aren’t careful.
Burnout is not something you want anyone to experience, especially not your top performers. So try these easy-to-implement and specific things to keep them motivated.

A little appreciation for top performers goes a long way.

Never underestimate the value of appreciation. You probably know what it feels like when someone expresses gratitude for what you do. For example, you’re dog tired after a long day and still has work to complete, and someone says, “Thank you for what you did today.” Then, suddenly, you experience a shot of energy that will get you through the remainder of your shift.
Take the time to express your appreciation for your top performers. First, talk to them individually, on a quick call, or via text message. Then, call them out in an online team meeting. Mention what they have accomplished and how you appreciate their leadership in these challenging times.
You may not be able to give these top performers a pay rise, but a Starbucks coffee card is easy to pick up and is something they can use. Don’t substitute words of appreciation with something of monetary value, though.
Genuine gratitude has a more significant impact overall.

Set up a roster to take one task off their plate

Knowing your top performer is always there, ready to take on whatever needs to be done, is what you appreciate most about them. So consider how it will help them if you set up a roster and take one task off their plate once a week.
Not only does this show them you appreciate them differently, but it also helps ease their burden and gives them some breathing space. Burnout happens when employees are constantly working and thinking about work.
Any time you can give these workers a break from work, in even a small way, helps. Even consider going into the Fitness Center and completing that task yourself. Your top performer will appreciate you pitching in at times when everyone else is taking more than their share of the workload. 
Be part of your team, not only as their Manager/Owner. Support your top performers when you can by getting your hands dirty.
 

Ask your top performers how they are feeling.

Show you care about your top performers by asking how they are feeling. For example, listen to them and share if they are feeling overworked. Genuine empathy as a leader goes a long way. It creates connectedness with the team member and is another way of showing appreciation.
Caring and being empathetic are ways of building a true team feeling, that sense of “We are all in this together.” That in itself tells your top performer that while they are busy and doing extra, it is worth it for the team and the outcomes you are all striving to deliver.
Never be afraid to express or share feelings. For many years, talking about emotions was frowned upon in business, yet the people on your team are people with feelings, and ignoring that is equivalent to missing part of the person working for you.
When your top performer shares how they are feeling, ask if you can do anything to assist them. Of course, as their leader, your aim is to support them as much as possible.

Ask them what motivates them.

Motivation is a very personal thing. Different people are motivated by different things. For some, it is money. For others, it is appreciation. The only way to know what personally motives your top performers is to ask them. Talk to them about motivation and the sorts of things that motivate them. Please take note of those and put some of them in place.
Often as a leader, we think we need to know what motivates others. That is not true and does a disservice to the team, not just our star performers. Put yourself in their shoes. Wouldn’t you have appreciated your boss talking to you about what motivated you previously? And maybe it wasn’t a boss you wish had asked this. Perhaps it was a teacher, or coach, or even your parents.
The bottom line is that the only person to know what motives a person is that person.
By doing at least one, if not all of these things in this list, you show your top performer that you care about them and acknowledge their contribution to your Center, the team, and the members. This goes a long way to supporting them to feel seen and appreciated when going above and beyond in tough times.
 
About the Author
Corey Loehr is the Chief Revenue Officer and a Director of OneFitStop. Since 2018 Corey has lead revenue growth and the development and execution of strategies for the practical adoption of innovative fitness business solutions. OneFitStop has a simple, but powerful vision to change the way the fitness industry operates, by providing the best-known solution capabilities to manage fitness business operations.  Prior to joining OneFitStop, Corey spent 15 years leading sales at Intel, leading a team in the Asia Pacific – Japan region, to drive sales growth in the Retail, Hospitality and Consumer Goods vertical industries.