Developing Superstars

Here's how to hit a homerun with your staff

Now is the time to start "spring training" for your employees. Like in professional baseball, you wouldn’t start the regular season without a significant amount of warm-up and skill development. Your company’s results will be much better if skills are taught and honed. Now is the time to begin making your employees "superstars."

Getting employees to step up to the plate is easier said than done. Think in terms of what you can do to empower key employees that you’re not doing now. One special development effort could be to include your key management people in training sessions that you sponsor. There are many benefits to having key supervisory-level employees hear the same message at the same time as your regular employees - with you in attendance as well.

Review your employee compensation and benefit plan. What makes a potential star want to excel at your company? In addition to compensation, most of your potential superstars need special development efforts. These initiatives include incentives, as well as a concerted effort to involve these employees in ways that most small businesses are unaccustomed to. Potential stars are worth your investment in developing and implementing these special initiatives.

When I do a consulting visit, I offer the client the option of having me spend some one-on-one time with key players. Some of my clients have said it’s like having a batting coach work with experienced players. These employees already know how to play the game, but having a specialty coach work with them raises their level of performance.

Here are some more ideas:

  • Focus on your employees. Try something different. My company just introduced a newsletter, "Profit Techniques," designed for employees working in an equipment rental business. The title (and the content) serves as a reminder that employees are the key to making a business grow and to becoming more profitable. When I do on-location employee training sessions for clients, I make sure that employees know that they have a vested interest in helping to grow the business.
  • Establish a "culture of rewards" and the system that encourages individual success as well as teamwork.
  • Be a coach - don’t make your employee guess how to become a superstar.
  • Train supervisors to observe employee performance.
  • Hone the selling skills of employees.
  • Follow through on your training initiatives. A commitment to follow through will help to make training stick.
  • Be sure your players are in the correct positions.
  • Measure employee development progress.
  • Give employees feedback.

Surround yourself with very enthusiastic people. Don’t settle for mediocrity at your rental business. If you have a counterproductive employee, trade him or her then sign someone else.

Do something extra-special for your employees. In fact, try several new special things. Schedule spring training now and take the necessary steps to prepare your players for superstardom and your team for the World Series.