We were recently engaged to find a senior manager for a client, and their CEO sent me a message which said “hopefully you’ll find us a superstar!”
This got me thinking – what is it that makes someone a superstar employee?
Every company has its superstar employees who seem to get more done, get better results, give a better service in a shorter time scale than their colleagues.
I’m very fortunate to have worked with a good number of superstar employees who helped to propel an earlier business that I founded in to a multi-million pound company in just a few years.
What is it that sets superstar employees apart from others?
In this article I outline what I think are the main characteristics of a superstar employee.
Superstar performance is behavioural and motivation related, and nothing to do with having an aptitude for the job.
At the heart of every superstar employee there is a natural motivation towards the type of work that they do. They really enjoy what they do, which helps drive them towards performing to the highest level possible.
Nobody can perform to the high standards that superstar employees do if they don’t love their chosen profession. People who undertake jobs that they dont really want to do will achieve mediocre results.
However, motivation isn’t something that can be “managed” or “trained” in to people. They either have it or they don’t. it is intrinsic, built in to them as a result of their upbringing.
So, remembering that superstar employees are self-motivated, it is important that they don’t become de-motivated.
Superstar employees care about the companies they work for and they behave as if they are an owner of the company.
Break them in half and you’ll probably find the name of the company running through their core!
They will usually give an employer a decent length of service before seeking pastures new, often putting up with career plateaus for a short time to see if things start to move again. Things have got to be pretty bad before they up sticks and leave.
Everybody experiences stress, failures and set backs, but superstars don’t let these diversions get them down and have a negative impact on their performance.
They pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get on with the job in hand. They stick at it until they get the desired outcome.
The last thing any team needs is a “Flake” (someone who crumbles under pressure!).
Superstar employees don’t job hop. So, unless it is really intolerable at work they keep going towards their career goal and don’t let anything knock them off course.
They know it is not a good idea to be moving jobs every 6 to 12 or 18 months, and get labelled a “Job Hopper”.
Obviously if they have picked up the experience they are after, and career progression is limited with their employer, then they move on to keep moving up, but that is not likely to happen until 18 months to 2 years in to their employment at the minimum.
There are potential superstar employees out there today, who, despite your fantastic program of incentives and benefits, are highly self-motivated. Go find them and hire them!
Photo credit: cartoon by Nick Maher. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.