Keep your superstars engaged

Guest editorial
By John Formica
Top-Selling Author
The “Ex-Disney Guy” 

This article was published in the June 2019 edition of NTEA News.

John Formica — part of the 2019 Executive Leadership Summit speaker lineup — has successfully coached hundreds of small businesses and tourism communities to build customer loyalty for life, increase visitors, attract more customers and create ‘Whistle While You Work’ team environments. At the Summit, the former Disney leader will outline his experience, best practices, and proven leadership and success strategies.

Do you have one or more superstar players on your team? If you do, you are very fortunate. My coaching clients and audiences often ask me about how to keep them engaged. We always want to do our best to keep them on our teams. We don’t want to see superstars take their talents, enthusiasm, energy and experience to another business.

How do you keep your superstars engaged? Paying them more money can be one option. I certainly hope you are in a position to pay your superstars fairly, but we all know, in a small business, it can be a challenge.

Here are the top 10 strategies I’ve used while at Disney and other companies to help keep our superstars engaged. Consider how many of them you’re using to engage superstars in your business.

  1. Communicate and check on them regularly to make sure everything is going well. Provide regular updates and feedback on their tasks, responsibilities, projects and workload. Sometimes, our superstars are often given additional projects, responsibilities and work because they are so good.
  2. Conduct brainstorming sessions with them to obtain their thoughts and ideas on recurring problems, opportunities and creative solutions. Make them feel important to your team and business.
  3. Learn from them and their frontline on-the-job experiences. They can provide you great value; let them know it.
  4. Give them help and support to pursue any professional training opportunities.
  5. Satisfy their needs and wants so they are not looking for another job. Look for ways to reward their efforts. Ask them how they would like to be recognized and rewarded.
  6. Keep them challenged by empowering them with short-term special projects and leadership opportunities. Make sure you coach and guide them along the way.
  7. Teach them your expertise and skills.
  8. Ask them about their long-term goals and pursuits and develop a plan to help achieve them.
  9. Brag about them to others. The word will get out how special they are to the team and business.
  10. Thank them always and often.

We all know how important our superstars are to us. The role they play in our small organizations can be the difference between a successful business or not. We need to do whatever we can to keep them engaged. Their success is our success. Don’t take them for granted. Having superstars in our business is one way to make sure our customer experience is always magical.

Learn more about Executive Leadership Summit lineup and register at