Marc Anthony & J.Lo: HR Consultants on Keeping Star Employees

by | Jul 20, 2011 | Blog, HR Consultants

  • Amy Letke

    Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success. Contact us for more insights - 502-753-0970 or

Can you believe it? Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez announced they’re ending their seven year marriage!

As a business professional, why should you care about the dissolution of just another celebrity marriage? As your human resources outsourcing and consulting firm in Louisville, Kentucky, we’re here to tell you why!

Your business could face the same problem if you aren’t careful! Read on to find out.

Gossip websites are speculating that Lopez’s star power just got too big for Anthony to handle. He wanted to control her shine and Jenny from the block wasn’t going to let that happen. After “months of nonstop arguing,” the couple announced they’re going their separate ways. Let’s have a moment of silence.

Okay, moment over, now what can we learn from this?

In our previous blog, we wrote about how Hugh Hefner handled losing his star employee. One reader commented:

“You need to make it a point to know what your employees want and need and try your utmost best to meet them if you could to avoid losing star employees in the first place. Always keep in mind that it is cheaper to keep a star employee happy than to train a new one.”- HR Software Solution

Great idea!

So today, we’re giving Marc Anthony (and all employers) a lesson in letting your star employee shine while still holding onto their star power.

First, a science lesson. Celebrities and star employees aren’t that different from real stars (yes, the celestial objects up above us).

Let’s flashback to that high school or college astronomy class you were forced to take.

Here’s a quick quiz to test your memory:

Which star will live longer: a bigger star or a smaller star?

The answer: a smaller star. Surprised?

Here is a very simplified explanation (after all, we are HR professionals, not astronomers): While bigger stars have more fuel, they have to have to burn more fuel faster to maintain their equilibrium. A smaller star has less fuel, but it burns through it as a slower rate. Therefore, smaller stars live longer!

What does this have to do with your company? Employers need to be aware that their big star employees can burn out! Follow our steps to avoid this from happening:

Acknowledge accomplishments:

Give credit where credit is due. In a recent magazine article, Lopez said a key to making her marriage work with Anthony was their constructive criticism of each other. While constructive criticism is a good thing, you also need to applaud the efforts of your employees. Maybe Anthony should have encouraged Lopez’s projects instead of trying to squash them. Now, the employer must realize that all star employees are not the same and will want to be treated differently. Some employees want the silver watch while others don’t. Your star employee may want a sophisticated dinner in his/her honor while another may just want a $500 cash bonus. Who knows, a gracias comment or a verbal pat on the back might suffice. The employers need to ask what kind of accolades their star employee likes to receive.

And about that “constructive criticism” – remember that everyone has feelings, and often our star players have even more sensitive ones than they let show.  Employers must never forget our cardinal rule: Praise publically, criticize privately. No exceptions.

Recognize Responsibility:

Recognize what level of responsibility the star employee is comfortable with. Lopez likes to run the show. While she still may be Jenny from the block, you cannot deny her diva status. This may have proved to be a little too much for Anthony to handle. As the employer, you need to ask if your star employee wants to run the show. Or is your star employee more comfortable behind the scenes letting their talents run wild but letting someone else be the manager? Employers need to play the role of agents to make sure their star is comfortable. We’ve all heard ridiculous stories of diva requests ranging from making sure her feet never touch the ground to having puppies to dry her hands on (has anyone seen that Glee episode “A Night of Neglect”?) We are not saying employers should give into every strange request of their star employee. But if you want your star employee to shine, you have to give them room to do it. Don’t make them a producer when they just want to sing.

Revisit Their Star Power

What made your star employee a star in the first place? It’s a little hard to pinpoint what made Jennifer Lopez famous. Lopez got her start by dancing on the television comedy program “In Living Color.” Her star power got a little stronger after she starred in “Selena,” a biographical film that won her an ALMA award for Best Actress. Then, she shot to the top once she released her first album “On the 6.” J.Lo has always been a jack of all trades, so Marc Anthony should have realized that she likes to be involved in a million projects at all times. Right now she is working on a Kohl’s clothing line, a romantic comedy “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” and her return to judging duties on “American Idol.” In order to keep you stars where they are, revisit what made them stars (and subsequently what made your company substantial profits).Where does your star employee want to be and where do you need them to be? Maybe your star employee wants to go back to the days when she was just dancing or maybe she is more comfortable acting or singing. Find out where they see themselves going and help them get there.

If you want to hang on to your star employees, you need to acknowledge their accomplishments in a way that they are comfortable, recognize their responsibilities and tailor them to maximum success, and finally, revisit what made them stars in the first place to see where you should go from here.

Don’t forget: Maybe your stars need to slow down before they burn out. Have your star employees start training the employees under them so their knowledge can spread throughout your company. Even if your star employees do slow down, your company can still benefit from their knowledge.

Tell us: How you do hold on to your star employees?

If you need help with your star employees, Integrity HR is here to listen! We can help you with all your human resources consulting and outsourcing needs.

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