Staff Development  – A superstar in one company is NOT a superstar in another

In a very interesting study quoted in Chapter 5 of The 100 year life by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, it was found that a great performer, a real superstar in one company when “pouched” by another company, doesn’t seem to perform as well.  They tend to soon lose their superstar status and become average, like everyone else.


Because people’s performance is dependent on the people, assets and culture of the workplace around them.  They do not work in a vacuum.   Forming relationships, conversations and sharing information with your colleagues allows superstars to perform their greatness.

How is this relevant to your business?

Don’t be afraid to train your staff in case you will lose them

We all know training new staff members is hard and expensive work.  In the last 20 years, I have lost count of the number of staff members we have trained into great health professionals (Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists).  Why?  Because that’s what our customers deserve to receive a great experience from us.

Unfortunately, that makes them very attractive staff members for other organizations or they have the skills and knowledge to go out on their own.  We know that often, no matter how much training and support you put into staff members, they are with you for a period of time, then they move on.  They, as human beings, needing to develop more outside the walls of your organization and that’s okay.

This does not mean that you have wasted your time, because whilst they are working for you, they are providing the best service possible to your clients, in the way that the clients deserve.  The alternative is worse, untrained staff members providing sub-standard service to your clients.

Secondly, the fear that you will lose clients once they leave is usually unfounded.  Very, very rarely have we lost clients when a particular staff member has left.  If you have built your business so that the customer experience is excellent, clients will stay for that, even if they “loved” a particular staff member.

What training you do you need to provide your staff members so that they can deliver the best service to your customers, even if they will leave someday?

Again, rarely will you lose customers when a staff member leaves (even if that staff member was loved by the customers)

The customer service experience is more than just time with a particular staff member.  It is everything from when the customer first encounters your marketing material or is told about your service via word of mouth.  It is when they walk through the door or first contact reception.  It is about how they feel when they start their first session and how they feel when they leave their sessions.  It is all the background systems and support that makes their journey easy, such as the training put behind the staff and support team, the discussions between colleagues that make everybody’s knowledge and skills better.

What this book made clear is that the skills and performance of the staff is very context specific, so their ability to be a “superstar” is because of the people around them and the systems around them, as well as their own abilities.  When you take that away, they often revert to the mean and become like everyone else.

What it does mean for our organization is that we keep working on developing deeper and deeper career paths, so staff members have a greater choice of pathways to grow as our organization grows.

What makes your business special (that you can celebrate) that is intangible and doesn’t leave when staff members leave?

Life long learning and investment in knowledge and technology

More than ever, the pace of change is accelerating.  Skills, technology and systems are changing faster than you can blink an eye.  It means that to be competitive as a service, you have to invest in these aspects whether you like it or not.

As an organization, we do more training and development with staff than ever before.  Training involves individual training to get staff member’s skills up to standard as a beginning.  Then there is regular training (every Monday) on skills and knowledge development for all the staff members.  On top of this, there is personal development of each staff member with their direct manager to work on their personal skills and finally there’s additional formal training as they move up the ladder.

It’s a lot and it’s not going to be 100% retention of investment within the organization.  You can’t take the skills back when the staff member leaves the organization (no matter what you write in the contract), but that’s not the point.  The point is to make sure your organization’s skills are improving as a group, to further and further improve the quality of the customer experience. 

What training, improved skills and knowledge will improve the customer experience to the next level?


– We are currently looking of a Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologist to join our team at Kew East. If this sound like a place where you can grow your career, please e-mail us admin@mdhealth.com.au or call (03) 9857 0644 to find out more

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