Finding Your Superstars
You must be proactive if you are going to attract superstars to your team. A college football coach goes after coveted high school seniors by sitting at the kitchen table with the recruit and mom and dad. You can hire people by placing ads but you run the risk of attracting walk-ons. Superstars need to be pursued. Here is a proactive strategy to increase your odds of adding stars to your team:
Create a superstar list. Write down the names of 12 people that you would like to work with. Don’t limit the list to people who could fit a current need on your team. Just choose stars, no matter what their specific gifts are.
Now here’s the key step … CALL THEM!! Tell each of the 12 that you have selected them to be on this elite superstar list and the reasons why. They will be appropriately flattered and motivated to want to help you build your team of stars. They may personally be in a season of their lives where they will join you. But even they are not, they will be able to point you to other stars to pursue. Stars know how to identify other stars.
If you already have a team that you are building upon, ask each of your team members to create their own superstar list of 12. Encourage them to proactively reach out to those stars even when you are not in an official “hiring” mode. Developing relationships in advance of the moment of need is extremely productive. Create a budget of both time and dollars so that you and your employees can cultivate superstar relationships. Remember, superstars need to be pursued.
Look for three types of people for your superstar list:
- People with potential
- People with proven skills
- People who are what we call “power brokers"
Hiring people with potential allows for growth into a position and keeps the employee motivated over a longer period of time (this works even at executive levels in your company). It’s also less expensive. Hiring people with proven skills will allow you to quickly fill in areas where your team is weak. Power brokers have both skills and can wield influence in your community or industry.
Posting on Job Boards
If you want an influx of resumes to make your selections from you can consider posting your open position on internet job boards. Your company will get worldwide or regional exposure depending on what sites you choose. This can be helpful for you to gain an understanding of the average candidate that is currently actively hunting for a new job. You can use this information to compare to the stars that you are cultivating through your proactive strategy.
It’s even possible that you will find a diamond in the rough. But realize that you will need to budget a good deal of time and energy to sift through all of the responses and you have an obligation to respond to every person who submits a resume.
Many of the large job boards have automated this process to make it as efficient as possible: Post your open position on a national job board like Monster, CareerBuilder, or HotJobs.
Keep Your Superstars
Remember the great advantage that small businesses have. You’re small! You can be more personalized. Create an environment that is unique, flexible and customized. You can! Bigger companies can’t.
Three Strategies to Retain your Stars
Ask your team what they want. Instead of traditional cash-oriented perks, some may prefer a gym membership, others a flexible work schedule. Customization is a great way to compete against bigger companies who can offer your employees bigger salaries and better benefits.
Recognize the whole team
People are attracted to small companies because they like being a part of an intimate team. Be careful about singling out only a few people on a regular or long-term basis. This can be more hurtful than beneficial to a small team's chemistry.
Communicate more than you think is necessary
Special events like monthly barbecues and field trips to ball games are terrific but make sure you pay special attention to the little day-to-day communication. It’s so much better to over communicate than under communicate, especially with a small team.