How to Identify High-Potential Employees?

High-potential employees are crucial to the company's future success. But here's the problem: many businesses suffer from a high strain identifying, developing, and keeping high-potential employees (HIPOs) within their teams. It makes them difficult to thrive, especially today, where both physical and online markets have a neck-to-neck competition. 

Harvard Business describes high potential talents as people who outshine their colleagues in many different situations and settings both in a momentous and dependable manner. In fact, studies revealed that organizations consider HIPOs about 50% more valuable than other workforces – with over 20% output scales and 90% extra effort to attain business goals. 

High Performing vs. High Potential – Are There Differences? 

This is a common misunderstanding among organizations. Note that high performing talents are just as valuable as high-potential ones and may possess similar skills or attitude. However, they are largely different persons. According to The Politics of Potential, only thirty percent of high performing employees are considered potential leaders. For example, a top performer sales agent can meet or even exceed the monthly target sales. However, they may lack the critical attributes needed to train and develop other people to reach a similar sense of accomplishment. 

Simply put, high performers are employees who know how to do the job well.  They are reactive, have a dedicated focus on refining the task, and prefer to follow. On the other hand, high potentials are those looking to expand and cultivate in the organization. They are proactive leaders and have an innate desire to explore the business. They are engrossed in finding and seizing opportunities as well as taking action and risks that will boost their value in the team. 

How Do You Develop High Potential Employees? 

Your future leaders could be sitting in the lowermost level of your company – fully equipped to grab the next career path. But unfortunately, you are overseeing them, especially those who do not possess ‘attention-grabbing' skills or simply because they do not bear a resemblance to your company's traditional leaders. 

Remember, not all HIPos are engaged and active. Each has unique potential, and it is up to you how to detect their special skills. You should take any opportunity you can have to spot them before they totally slip on your hands. Though, how would you identify these high-potential employees? What should you look for, given that there's no definite checklist or criteria to keep to? 

Fortunately, managers no longer need to depend on extemporary observations or instincts alone when recognizing high potential. Several approaches and software tools are available to make the assessment process and performance management highly convenient and precise. There is a sequence of steps involved one must follow. For example, you need to make development plans for all employees to help accelerate their progress or conduct extensive evaluations for each top-performing employee's identification. 

The Problem with HIPO Program

High-potential employee programs are considered an obsolete approach to developing talent. While some provide sufficient results, most give confusion among management departments. That's because they are often designed below par, plus the company culture and several important factors are not taken into account. So, the result? Managers eventually end up choosing a set of employees that do not actually fit the leadership roles. 

Biases do exist as well, which human resource and hiring managers do not fully recognize. Technical expertise is mostly overestimated. But in reality, soft skills also contribute to a person's success as a leader. These could be anything from smooth communication to team members and clients to ethical standards and values. 

Some estimates indicate that around forty percent of employees who are included in the program perform otherwise. This is huge distress to the HR team since they don't have clear information about the expectations, while a lost opportunity for prospects. When they feel abandoned, they may likely leave the company, which the team might suffer a bit. 

In this case, the talent marketplace could provide you with relevant aid in helping you identify high potentials. It is an excellent platform that promotes internal mobility by fast-tracking the workforce's ability, flexibility, and agility. 

What is Succession Planning Software & Why You Need It? 

Succession planning software is an essential tool for HR managers as it gives them a clear insight on how to replace a resigning or retiring employee. It identifies and develops future leaders who can be successors of the company. Terminal illness, retirement, and resignation are some of the manager's main enemy. No one can predict when a high performing employee will leave your team. This causes commotion to the business. 

With proper succession planning software, you can have a smooth changeover between the old or retiring and new leadership. It ensures the person you are eyeing to climb the corporate ladder is definitely a competent one. Give your talents long-term career growth, which is perhaps one of the main advantages of adopting the software. This will make them stay in your company. 

It works by assessing succession and the readiness of the potential candidates and then comparing their internal expertise. The assessment is done regularly. As soon as you discover their skill needs, you can perform a gap analysis to know the right training program. This will allow them to learn essential skills to handle such a big team. Evaluate their leadership potential and overall performance. In the end, help them build a career development plan and prepare for the senior role. 

Consider the criteria you usually use when choosing high potentials. You can also use it to focus on fulfilling the required skill sets – allowing you to find out if there is a perfect room for growth. There is additionally a feedback feature provided by the software. Using it, HR managers can collect high-potential employees' performance feedback from colleagues, line managers, and supervisors. 

While these benefits may easily tempt you, keep in mind that succession planning software is not the same. It should feature training requirements identification, seamless integration with human resource software, and make the entire process short, straightforward, and flexible.