According to a recent Gallup poll, between 17 and 20 percent of American workers are “actively disengaged” at their job, essentially going through the motions from the time they walk in the door until the time they leave.

These aren’t employees who are committed to a job they don’t love to support their life outside of work, or put their kids through college. These are folks who truly despise their job, like Peter from Office Space.

While that statistic is troubling enough for employers, consider the possibility that one of these “Peters” is actually a top-performing key cog in the operation.

It is absolutely vital for companies to keep their star performers engaged. Doing this not only keeps them from leaving, it also pushes them toward reaching their potential. Below are a few suggestions on how you can truly engage your best employees.

Give them a sense of ownership

Top professionals prosper in settings where they have a sense of ownership or control. Allow your best employees to feel invested in the company by offering them freedom to make decisions whenever and wherever possible. While turning over the keys to the car in some areas means less control for management, they’re likely to see their best workers become more engaged and operate at a higher level.

Prioritize transparency

Keep open lines of communication in your manager-employee interactions. Keep your employees informed about what’s happening in the company and how their work affects their customers. Give them an opportunity to have input and recommend ideas.

Provide meaning and purpose

Create long-term objectives that will give your top workers a sense of purpose.

An effective way to do this is through Google’s “80/20 policy”: Allow the best employees to spend some of their time on innovative projects or efficiency reforms that align with company objectives. Over time, the innovations these employees come up with could save valuable time and money, or even produce a new revenue stream.

This policy also gives workers a sense of autonomy in how they choose to spend their day, as well as a sense of pride and ownership when something they are working on pans out and is adopted by the entire company.


In addition to regularly recognizing the contributions of your best workers, you should set up a system that allows workers to nominate one another for recognition. Hard work, innovation, customer satisfaction and leadership are all good reasons for employees to nominate each other.

This policy not only engages your workers with the company, it strengthens the bonds among your team members.

Establish a mentorship program

Research has shown employees who help others just 10 to 30 minutes each day feel more competent, confident and effective. They feel they’ve achieved something, and, therefore, they can do more down the road.

At NSC Technologies, we regularly help companies find their next top performer. If you’re currently looking for a highly skilled, experienced professional to add to your team, please contact us today.


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