How to Clone Your Best EmployeeA good article from American Express’ Open Forum with this title inspired me to add another thought.

Have a star employee? Wish you had more employees like him or her?  If you’d like to really clone that star employee (well, almost anyway), do this:

  1. Sit down with that employee (or employees) and share with them their value to the organization.  Explain that you’d like to have more employees like them, and you’d like their help in making that happen.
  2. Ask this simple, basic, but important question, “What in your view makes you as effective as you are?”  There won’t be a single, short answer to this question.  In fact, this question simply starts the conversation, and a process of finding the answer.  It will also cause the employee to start thinking about both the question and the answer.
  3. Tell them you’d like to add some structure to the conversation.  Introduce the idea of looking at a set of competencies, with defining behaviors, and asking the employee which are most important to their success, in their opinion.  Prioritize them for importance using a simple scale like 1-3.
  4. After this part of the conversation, explain that you’d like to add the opinions of others who know the employee well, and who have regular insight into how they do their job.  Build a survey that will ask them to rate the employee on the competencies and behaviors you have earlier selected.  Also ask them to prioritize for importance as you did earlier.
  5. Use this competency model (yes, that’s what you have now) in your hiring and development processes.  By definition, you have created a “recipe for success” for other employees in the same or similar jobs.
  6. Use this competency model as only one part of your hiring process.  Don’t forget the other hiring considerations for building a diverse (in several senses of the word) team.