Your employees are valuable resources and assets for your organization. As such, they are one of the main determining factors for the longevity and success of your products and offerings. The best minds, developers, designers, writers artists, speakers, and strategists are already present in your current talent pool, you just have to identify and develop them. Also, it is much cheaper to develop someone who already understands the culture, landscape, and language of your company than to hire them externally. This learning path will clarify why it is essential to your success to devise successful and impactful programs to develop executive potential among employees in lower-level positions.
A common misconception when identifying high potential (HiPo) employees is to confuse high performance for high potential. Some individuals demonstrate high performance in their current position, and that is where they should stay and grow. High potential employees demonstrate "the ability to build and lead teams that can consistently outperform the competition", according to Hogan Assessments. Bersin by Deloitte describes a high potential employee as one who has "the potential, ability, and aspiration to hold successive leadership positions in an organization".
It is cheaper to develop an existing employee to their potential than to find a new hire and risk much more than lost revenue on a failed experience. Also, ensuring your HiPo employees have a clearly defined road to the top with focused development is just smart business. Henry Ford explains “the only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” Henry Ford is credited as saying, In the real world, however, limited budgets force organizations to be much more selective, which explains the growing interest in high potential (HiPo) identification. An employee’s potential sets the upper limits of his or her development range — the more potential they have, the quicker and cheaper it is to develop them.
These hidden superstars within your company can be identified by observation and more reliably, data, and they are usually noticed by their performance and personality.
In order to identify your High Potential employees, you should establish clear criteria that define which behaviors, achievements, and KPIs your organization equates to high potential. Set clear criteria for promotion that define unambiguously what behaviors, achievements, and KPIs you equate to high potential. While some professionals suggest you should look at ability, social skills, and drive, others suggest you should measure aspiration, ability, and engagement. The resources below clarify how to identify your internal superstars.
It is essential to the process that you use objective and reliable methods to assess performance for several reasons including fairness and transparency. Some professionals suggest you perform a work sample test where you observe candidates performing the tasks and duties that make up their job. Others suggest coupling this with psychometrics test to measure their emotional intelligence. There are also standardized tests that measure conscientiousness, achievement motivation, and ambition. Lastly, by performing a group analysis of assessment outcomes your organization can help identify common leadership gaps, strengths, and develop a structured development plan.
If you recognize key components HiPo employees exhibit in one of your employees, but they do not meet their targets, you can train and boost their performance by providing support if you see fit. One industry rule says that you need to have 3 types of experience to learn, using a 70-20-10 ratio: 70% challenging assignments, 20% developmental relationships and 10% coursework and training. Utilizing this method, you can develop a strong HiPo leader. Professionals also found executive engagement to be an indicator of HiPo success. "We assign a general manager or a top-level executive to that person as a mentor. They get structured and challenging assignments to stretch them as a leader," as well as leadership training, explains Bill Horwarth, president, MAG Americas. "We give them feedback and coaching as they go, and we offer them graduate-level training." This method is a leadership lead approach to developing their top talent.
Past or current performance provide snapshots of moments of success, but they should be viewed as just that. These moments do not speak to the potential of employees and they should not be the sole indicators of future success. Personality is an important indicator of success, especially when it comes to having to lead others. Also, how an employee demonstrates emotional intelligence is one way to gauge how well they have the capacity or potential to be a strong leader in your organization as a HiPo employee.