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How to Hire & Cultivate Rockstar Employees

How to Hire & Cultivate Rockstar Employees

Founder and CEO of Jazzercise, Judi Sheppard Missett reveals the secrets to hiring the best employees to drive your business forward.

Hiring people to work for you in a business you’re passionate about is no easy feat. The hiring process itself requires several key steps to ensure the right fit. Then, there’s the management morass, a topic on which numerous books have been written. Here’s how to hire, then develop, good people into Rockstar-level talent that drives your business forward.

Hire for attitude, train for skills. At Jazzercise, we consciously look for people with a caring attitude; born connectors who are naturally warm, empathetic and creative. Why? Our customers come to us in all shapes and sizes, fitness levels, and life stages, including tender transitions. Define what those important qualities are for your business and why.

Passion is also important. Passion for your business and passion in the candidate’s area of expertise. Shared commitment to your mission lends itself to the camaraderie that makes for a caring and motivating culture. And passion for her specialty will fuel her to find joy in her daily existence. Which, in turn, will likely inspire that hunger for ongoing growth and accomplishment.

In the interview, pay close attention to how the conversation flows, and where it hiccups. Consider whether this is someone you’ll want to spend time with, because when you hire, you’ll do a lot of that!

Encourage and empower. Once the hire is made, it’s critical to provide the knowledge, skills, and training needed to succeed. How do you cultivate skills and attitude that reach next-level job performance? Use these 5 steps to encourage and empower your good candidate to become a Rockstar employee.

  1. Give meaningful work. Stanford University researchers tell us that providing people with meaningful, purposeful work is important to well-being and long-term happiness. In addition, purpose has more to do with attitude and approach than with whatever the actual work your company does.
  2. Provide ongoing training and be clear about expectations. Clarify the standards and expectations for all aspects of a role, then provide whatever support is needed for your employee to meet them. Our training challenge with Jazzercise instructors is to move them beyond the fitness fun and flesh out their expertise with physiology, customer service, performance and community-building, to mention a few. Each role has its own set of demands. Define those and work to support employees in reaching goals and meeting those demands.  
  3. Connect and communicate openly. Before Jazzercise implements any significant program, update, or change, we communicate the what, why, and how first. People respond better when they understand your point of view and can see that the goal is a winning situation for everyone. And, for Pete’s sake, talk to your employees. Fostering more and better connections among people is one simple way you can improve your communal sense of purpose.
  4. Recognize achievements. Say it loud, proud and publicly. Tell people when they do well, then tell others about the achievement. At Jazzercise, we have several ways to recognize success. Employees can nominate each other and be entered into a drawing to win cash at our quarterly meetings. Managers can choose to present “Wow” awards that range from pre-paid Visa cards to gifts that are specific to the employee’s hobbies. We’ve even awarded craft brew – more than once! These are only a few of the many, many ways to recognize when an employee reaches a new pinnacle or provides an assist that helps another employee do the same.
  5. Leave them alone. If you’ve done your hiring job, you read your new hire’s resume, stayed attuned to her during the interview process, asked not only about her skills about also about her life goals, and then called her references. Once she has the job, let her do it! Empower and encourage people to create and manage their own success. Let them come up with their own ideas and run with them. Empowered people are often far more likely to take responsibility for fixing any missteps or mistakes.

After 50 years in business, the best hiring and management advice I can really give is this: lead by example. Even if that means wiping down counters or taking out trash. Model your values. Help others connect to them and to you. I can affirm, without question, that your company will be stronger and last longer if you do.

To learn more from Judi Sheppard Missett, pre-order her new book today!

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How to Hire & Cultivate Rockstar Employees

Judi Sheppard Missett is a fitness icon who, at just three years old, discovered a passion for dance that would eventually fuel a global dance fitness empire. After an early life spent honing her dancing skills and a career as a professional jazz dancer, Judi had an epiphany: why not combine the art of jazz dancing with the science of exercise to help others achieve a healthier, happier self-image and life? The wildly enthusiastic response from her first 15 students inspired her to launch Jazzercise, Inc., the world’s leading dance fitness program with a cumulative $2 billion in global sales.