4 Ways to Keep Your Rock-Star Employee Pumped

Very often in the corporate world terms from everyday vernacular find their way into the conference room, and in the world of Recruiting, the term that has become synonymous with a top candidate is “Rock Star”.  These are the candidates that companies are always willing to review.  I often hear “we will consider over that salary for a “Rock Star”.  The “Rock Star” is the high potential, the go-to guy, the work horse, the “A” player, the… I think you get the idea.  If you are lucky enough to recruit in and hire a “Rock Star”, the joy of landing them in your team quickly turns to managing this person in your environment.  You now must balance keeping them challenged and motivated while constantly keeping tabs on your treatment of them versus the rest of the team.  Luckily, here are four ways to help keep yourself in check while keeping your All-star (there’s another one) happy.

  1. Let them spread their wings – Rock stars tend to be natural leaders and are comfortable working autonomously, so let it happen. When you see an initiative that is starving for some leadership, especially a project that may be near and dear to your heart (or annual objectives), let them take the lead.  They will love the chance to impress you and work closely with you while helping the organization with one of its critical projects.  And give them their space along the way, they must be allowed to work freely, only enhancing their efficiency and job satisfaction.
  2. Make them (unofficial) mentors – Rock star team members are considered role model employees and managers often suggest that they would like to “clone” them, so then do it! Pair other team members with them so they can learn the tricks of the trade and have some of their intangibles rub off on them. Being immersed in their culture can only help to show the other team members the “how” to get things done.
  3. “Pay” for performance – High achievers are not averse to having a carrot out there that they are made to feel like they cannot reach. Create a bonus or compensation plan that encourages them to stretch and earn when they reach that mountaintop.  If you are not able to create a custom bonus or compensation plan, then perhaps you can leverage your company’s reward and recognition programs to find them less direct ways of compensation.  If not, then create awards that can be earned quarterly or annually and you can create a trophy or plaque and maybe include a team lunch where it is presented.
  4. Value their Opinion – Key employees tend to be experts at what they do and almost always are passionate about their point of view. Seek their counsel, include them in your decision making and use them as a sounding board to bounce ideas off.  Getting the second opinion of someone whose work you trust is helpful and it will help to strengthen your relationship and make them feel like a part of your inner circle.


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