6 Ways to Motivate Your Employees When They're Feeling Burned Out

How managers can re-inspire and re-energize their top performers
November 19, 2015

Top performers are crucial to a company’s success and continued growth, and while they may have produced consistently in the past, no one can keep moving at full speed without running out of gas at some point. The best employees can burn out. The best managers can help.

So instead of just hoping a top performer will start producing again, here are six things managers can do to help them get revved up:

1. Find out what motivates your top performers.

Understand your top performer’s individual motivators and create incentives specific to them. For example, if a person likes awards and recognition, be sure to provide more praise than normal. If they are motivated by face time with leadership, make sure to give them that extra one-on-one. Maybe they are motivated by teaching others; in that case, give them the opportunity to mentor or coach newer team members.

2. Switch up responsibilities.

If mangers sense a top performer is at the risk of burnout, they should give them a special project based on what interests them. This shouldn’t be something that will consume their time or add to their workload, but rather something that adds accountability and ownership to their current role. For example, make them a point person for an internal initiative, like leading a volunteer activity or organizing a company-wide sports team. This will add variation and re-inspire them.

3. Add competition.

For the most part, top performers like competition. Just as in sports, if you’re playing against a team that isn’t very good, sometimes you play to their level. If a manger is worried about a top performer being burned out, bring in someone else at their level to up their game, to challenge them and motivate them to be the best again.

4. Reinvest in them.

Managers need to show they care about their top performers and about their success at the company. When employees feel invested in, they most likely will be more loyal to the company and want to work harder. Spend more time with them, provide them with training courses or give them the opportunity to continue their education outside of the office.

5. Go back to what worked.

Look at their current processes and see if they are different from what they were doing before as a top producer. If it’s different, they should go back to what worked.

6. Be empathetic.

Don’t assume your top performers aren’t producing due to lack of motivation or work ethic, because it could be that they are dealing with personal issues or problems. Set up a one-on-one and ask if anything is going on inside or outside of work. It’s important to have a candid conversation and create a game plan to help them overcome any current obstacles.

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