Articles by Smart Recruit Online

How to Reward Top Performing Employees

top performing employees

By Ben Barlow

In any workforce, there are nearly always people who outperform their peers. In fact, it has been estimated that 80% of collective output can be created by 20% of top performing individuals, so it is clear that this type of ‘super’ employee can be crucial to any business/organisation.

Whilst they may be hard to come by, keeping them in the business as long as possible will likely massively help improve operations and help it grow at a faster rate. As such, here are some of the ways you can reward high performance employees.

Pay Rises

There is no doubting that an employee which adds so much value to a business more than deserves to be well rewarded for their work. Most companies have a fairly standard pay review scheme in place which allows employees to improve their pay periodically, and this can also be a great opportunity to praise top performing employees.

Many businesses link pay rises to performance, so top performing employees should be eligible for significant pay rises, in order to spur them on and encourage continued high productivity. This should also encourage them to stay loyal to the business.


If you really want a good employee to stick around, then you will need to make them a central, integral part of business operations. Like pay rises, promotions can let your best employees know that you recognise their hard work and want them to have a greater responsibility.

Whilst there may be a standard promotion ladder in place, it may be worth considering fast tracking truly outstanding employees in order to cement their role in the business, whilst offering them valuable training opportunities as and when they are feasible.


Whilst bonus schemes should be clearly laid out from the moment a potential employee searches for a job, it could be worth adding a few small additional bonuses for your elite employees, such as better parking spots and perhaps some vouchers.

Rewards evenings can also be a fun, informal way of rewarding your top employees, whilst encouraging other employees to boost their own performance. Some small extras can go a long way, so it is well worth looking into some more creative ways of rewarding the most productive workers.

Often, high performing employees perform well because they have a genuine love of their job. That being said, rewards are a good way of recognising such employees and encouraging them to keep up the good work.



High Achievers Club

Creating an elite group of top performers that everyone aspires to be in can increase productivity amongst the weaker performers by as much as 20%.

For months 1-6 a summer holiday with bonus cash to spend can be a great way to reward and inspire and the stories that follow these events often become the legendary internal marketing that money can’t buy.

And for the 2nd part of the year, a Christmas shopping day, again with bonus money to spend. Throw in a Champagne breakfast and lunch at a Michelin restaurant and who in the company wouldn’t want to be there.


Rewarding activity

Sometimes rewarding the activities and the behaviours that directly lead to increased productivity can be the most effective way of boosting the business.


Sharing the rewards

Rewarding the entire team for overall performance is a great way of developing a team culture and for non sales people to share in the success. For the people that contributed most, they have the satisfaction of knowing that it was they who delivered and subsequently the team get to benefit. This can lead to a form of idolisation within the business and can if managed effectively, help inspire others and maintain the efforts of the superstar who now wishes to remain on that pedestal.



About the author

Ben is a BA Marketing with Content graduate and has worked as a freelance finance writer for the last five years. With a particular interest in both business and career-related topics, he has been writing content for numerous publications across the globe. In his spare time, he enjoys playing snooker, football, going for runs and reading with a keen interest in a variety of business and finance topics.