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3 Ways To Spot Your Star Employees

Why you could be overlooking the greatest talent in your company.

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BY Joel Comm - 15 Aug 2016

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

When you're building success, you know that your business is only as strong as your smartest team member. As the owner of the firm it's up to you to find the best people, employ them, train them and grow them. Your staff have to give everything they've got. That's their job. It's your job to spot what they've got and bring it out.

That's not easy. Giant firms can outsource selection to executive search firms, and they can build human resource departments to carry out assessments and point out where team members can contribute more. But for small firms and start-ups, that talent spotting usually falls on the founder of the company. You have to be able to spot hidden ability as well as make use of it. There are three tell-tale signs that one of your employees has more talent than he or she is letting on.

1. Stars Mentor Naturally

Staff join companies with a range of skills and knowledge. Even when you've hired a pair of PHP coders, for example, they'll arrive with different sets of experience. When you set a task that one of them can do more easily than the other what happens next is important. A star employee doesn't just raise their hand because they know they can do it faster. They also drag their co-worker over and explain what they're doing so that they can do it next time.

Star employees don't just use their knowledge in the company. They look for ways to contribute their knowledge to the company and make the whole team stronger.

2. Stars Listen More Than They Talk

Meetings are the bane of any business day, and not just because they suck up time that could have been spent producing instead of talking. They're also a chance for big-heads to show off what they think are their big ideas.

Average employees see a meeting as an opportunity to impress the boss. So they talk and they talk, hoping to grab attention and dominate the conversation.

The star employees, though, aren't the ones who make the most noise at a company meeting. They're the ones sitting in silence. They know there's no point in discussing an idea that isn't going to happen so they spend that time thinking. They contribute when it's important. They present a novel idea and wait for the reaction. Or they kill a bad idea with a single criticism, then shut up.

Successful companies always value quality over quantity. That applies to the contributions of their employees too.

3. Stars Really Do Care

The biggest challenge for any entrepreneur is to find an employee who cares about the business as much as they do. For the founder, the company is everything. For an employee, it's usually a current thing, the job they hold now until they get a better offer.

Some employees, though, are different. They take as much pride in the company's work as the company's owner. They're focused on its success more than their own and they're willing to make sacrifices to see the business reach its goal.
That passion isn't something you can measure. But it is something you can see and feel. When you see it, promote it!