How to recruit and keep superstars

I was asked the other day what I thought my job was, and I think the following pretty much sums up not only my job description but that of any successful entrepreneur.

Being an entrepreneur is simply the ability to have an idea and build a sustainable and profitable business from it, which contributes in a social context too.

You need vision to see where the idea can develop to and the wit to see the pitfalls and challenges that will be faced in the execution of that idea.

Then there’s the ability to communicate in a manner that all stakeholders not only understand but wholly subscribe to.

Then you need to be a talent spotter – who can seek out, recruit, mentor and inspire a great team to help them build their vision.

And then you have to be an evangelist – for your brand, product and service, and seek out an audience who will enjoy the benefits their vision will bring.

And being an entrepreneur is about remaining humble. There’s no ‘me’ in business building – it’s all about ‘we’. 

So if you drill into it – mostly our job is about people.  I am Chief Talent Spotter.  My job is really to discover the superstars that can help me fulfil our vision for Diamond.

And I know that the most fundamental step-ups in my business occurred when we recruited key people – so if you want your business to be successful you need to put recruitment, management, training and retention at the heart of your organisation.

How do we do it? Well it starts like this:

Being a company people want to work for.

We get more approaches than ever and that’s because people see where we are going and want to be part of it.

It starts from our profile and building a company that people seek opportunities at.  We get approached by people a lot and sometimes we find a position for them – rather than a position being readily available.  Because if a great resource comes along it’s worth creating the role to match.  I know one of the key stepping up points in my business is when I took on people we probably didn’t need – but I could see what they could bring.

Make sure the advert clearly outlines the role and what kind of company they’ll be joining

Quite simply – put a LOT of thought into your recruitment adverts. Be very YOU – talk about the type of company, the magnitude of the role and make it the number one pitch for your company. Be fussy about how they should apply, use it as a filter and ignore applicants who send the CV you didn’t ask for or missed the phone call you requested.

Recruit a mixed pool

To build a sustainable business you need a few 100% plodders, a smattering of talent, and a visionary or two. The idea is not to recruit replicants – make sure you are not recruiting just who you are drawn to but people who can fit into the jigsaw puzzle of your business. Lots of different shapes fitting into the big picture.

Expect 100% minimum performance

In my business there are a variety of commitments. Some people commit wholly 0800 to 1800 and that’s it. Email off and phones switched off – but for the 10 hours they are here they are 100%. And that’s enough.

Others are betting their lives and career on Diamond and invest 150% – coming up with ideas outside of work, suggesting change, adding more value than their current salary suggests.

Others are fully committed but lack the strategic bit and need to be told what to do, but they will then do it completely.  And that’s okay but they should all be performing at 100%. Any less and they are not helping you get to where you need to go.  You always pay them 100% of their salary – so expect 100% performance as a minimum.

And make sure the reward is commensurate with the effort. Nothing pisses people off more than feeling one team member is just doing their job and getting the reward of people doing their job and then some. Match reward with effort and very importantly, results. Fixed basic and lots of bonuses is good for this.

Let the team select

In the end recruitment is now about adding to an existing group – so we let our team choose. Franchises vet a candidate before due diligence, other team members come in on final interviews and their opinion really counts.  It’s a great vetting process.

Make them work a day or two for free

This is the number one tactic which has saved us £1000s in bad recruiting. If they are not willing to commit to that one day then we don’t want them anyway. In a day the team can generally get an idea of whether they’d fit in or not, and you get a chance to test their skill set.

Look at individual key motivators

It may be a sense of belonging, opportunity to grow, a job they can forget after 1800, money, praise, air miles – whatever it is a good manager will know what rocks the particular boat of their team members and make sure that is being fulfilled.  One of my team wants to be my replacement – and I welcome that. Others want directorships. For some it’s money. For some it’s status – titles and decision making ability is important. Some need flexibility to do what they want outside of work.  Different strokes for different folks.

Create a sense of culture and belonging – that’s as individual as you are

We are pretty Marmite here and that’s okay. You are either a Diamond – or you are not. We have 12 Golden Rules up on the wall, a Shared Success© mantra that puts mutually beneficial relationship at the heart of the business and a mission statement which is repeated like a chant! People either love it or don’t get it – so they last either less than 3 months or a lifetime. Very few inbetweeners.

Give them ownership

Share the Vision – it’s not just where we are going today, it’s where we will take them and what personal ambitions we will fulfil for them.

Don’t call them employees – call them stakeholders, team members, whatever – it’s all about making it an inclusive experience.  I believe in profit incentives, team benefits and even shareholding – contrary to the opinions of many entrepreneurs, but I say share as much as you can. Share Success and people will give you more than you can ever anticipate.

Remember our key role as Entrepreneurs is to spot, recruit and inspire people to help us fulfil our ambitions. So get your head-hunting hat on and go out and build your team, to help you build your business.

Happy hunting!