How a Superstar Protégé Could Boost Your Bottom Line

Increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year.

I stumbled across this statistic earlier today, while I was reading an article about hiring statistics.

I was impressed…even though I had no idea what ‘employee engagement’ actually meant.

According to Google, an ‘engaged employee’ is fully absorbed by — and enthusiastic about — their work, and so takes positive action to further the organisation’s reputation and interests.

Seems pretty straightforward. If an employee is excited about the work they’re doing, and truly believes it’s important, they’re more inclined to care about the company they work for — and find ways to help it grow.

But if you hire the wrong employees, no amount of employee engagement ‘investment’ is going to boost your profits. That’s why you should be looking for ‘superstar protégés’.

I didn’t come up with that term; it’s one of Mark Ford’s. Below, Mark reveals an eight-step strategy for finding, hiring and, ultimately, keeping superstar protégés for your business.

Grow your business faster by finding and hiring a superstar protégé

There is nothing more critical to your success than the choices you make about the people you work with.

I know at least a dozen people who developed businesses larger than $100 million, and I can say that every one of them had at least one — and often two or three — key people who were critical in the growth of those businesses.

I know at least a dozen more businesspeople who built multimillion-dollar businesses ‘themselves’. But even they had key employees they relied on heavily. It’s just that these guys didn’t want to see how they were helped.

Executives and entrepreneurs who rely only on themselves may have brilliant moments, but they seldom have long-term success. And what success they do have is certainly less than they could have had with the help of others.

In every successful business I’m in or ever was in, I’ve always had the benefit of strong partners and superstar employees.

It will be no different for you. If you want to maximise your potential in your career, accept the fact that you need the help of others. The better your support group is, the further and faster you will go.

Finding your own superstar protégé

So how do you get great people to work for you? How do you snag that rare person who can help you grow and improve your company?

It’s not easy, but it can be done.

Step one: Accept the work

Finding mediocre people is easy. Finding good people is tough. Finding superstars — that takes a lot of focused work.

The first step in finding a superstar is to accept the fact that it is going to take time and effort. It may last weeks or months, and there will be lots of dashed hopes and frustrations.

No one else is going to be able to find the superstar you need. So allocate the time on your calendar to do the work.

Step two: Demand the best

In order to get truly great people to help you build your business, you need to reject any candidate who is less than great.

This is easier said than done. When you are eager to find a superstar, you are going to find yourself wanting to believe candidates may be better than they are.

So set the bar high.

As a business owner, I’m looking for ‘intrapreneurs’ — employees who can potentially run a division or even the whole company. In my experience, such people come to you in all sizes and shapes. And many of the best come without any relevant education or experience.

So my rule in setting the bar high is to identify people who are as good as, or better than, I am in at least two important ways. Ideally they should be smarter than me, more interested in learning, more ambitious, and harder working.

Step three: Take two or three

Another mistake I’ve made was hiring people after a single interview. My rule now is to have at least a second interview and preferably a third. Meet in different venues each time and talk about different things.

Step four: Get a second opinion

When you think you’ve found someone good, ask them to have a meeting with someone you trust and admire. That other person doesn’t have to be in your business or even in your industry. However, they must be someone whose intelligence and intuition you trust.

Step five: Take a trial run

It is sometimes possible to arrange for some part-time freelance work before making the hiring decision. This can tell you things no amount of interviewing can. So if it’s possible, do it.

Step six: Extend the trial

If possible, hire on a three- or six-month trial basis. You are looking for a superstar. Sometimes good people can fool you for a while, but they won’t forever.

Step seven: Teach them everything you know

Having hired your potential superstar, you should start mentoring them immediately. Expose them to as much of your business as you can. Let them work temporarily in several departments (including customer service). Tell your key people to teach them. Set up regular times to answer their questions.

Step eight: Cut them in on the future

When you are interviewing the superstar, let them know that you aim to put them on a fast track and hope to see them achieve their maximum potential. Let them know you are willing to be good to people who are good for the business, but try not to make too many specific promises.

Once you know they’re the right person, sit down and let them know that you want them to rise up to the top, have a lot of authority, and make a lot of money. Again, you don’t have to be specific at this point, but you should be prepared to give them a percentage of the profits they bring you.

Step nine: Be fair in compensation

I’ve seen many businesspeople lose superstars because they were simply too cheap or stingy to offer them what they should. My rule is to give them a base pay that is slightly higher (by maybe 5% or 10% of the industry average) and a percentage of profits that they have contributed to.

Again, you shouldn’t lock in firm numbers unless you have to. Things change in business, and they change more and faster in a growing business. So try to keep the promises loose enough to make adjustments. But don’t be cheap.

The work is worth it

Start looking for your superstar now. It doesn’t matter whether you are the founder, owner, CEO or even a division manager. If you are in charge of a business activity and you want to grow it, your best bet will be finding a superstar to help you.

Michelle Hammond

Editor’s Note: Hiring superstar protégés is just one way of building wealth. Mark has spent more than three decades dispensing wisdom like this…and now he’s compiled it into the most comprehensive wealth-building program in existence…

It’s called the Wealth Builders Club. It includes everything from extra income blueprints (which have the potential to generate thousands of dollars per month) to investment strategies outside the stock market, plus several of Mark’s bestselling books. Click here to learn more.

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Michelle is the Director of Wealth Builders Club Australia, a club for the ‘not yet wealthy’. Working alongside Wealth Builders Club founder and multimillionaire Mark Ford, Michelle is committed to enriching the lives of WBCA members by bringing them original, insightful ideas on wealth building, career advancement, and lifestyle.

Previously, Michelle worked as a business journalist, focusing on the Australian start-up sector.

Money Morning Australia