Without the right people, an organization can’t succeed, and in today’s complex, competitive market, it’s not enough to identify staff with the right skill sets. Successful companies look toward the future and ask questions like “Who is going to lead innovation tomorrow?” One of the answers to those questions is high-potential employees, or HiPos. The designation of HiPo doesn’t necessarily pertain to how well a person can perform a specific type of task — there’s a difference between high-potential and specifically gifted. Instead, HiPos are up-and-comers with a high probability of success — which means a high likelihood of contributing to the success of your organization. By identifying and developing HiPos, companies position themselves for a brighter future.
The first step in creating a successful high-potential employee program is understanding what high-potential employees are and why it is so important to develop them.
In their Harvard Business Review article, “Are You a High Potential”, Douglas A. Ready, Jay A. Conger and Linda A. Hill describe HiPos as possessing the following characteristics:
This combination of traits makes HiPos ideal candidates to guide your company into the future. But it also means they need the right guidance and training to keep their vision and goals reconciled with those of your business. Left to their own devices, they can easily get derailed and go rogue. The master trainers at Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions understand the psychology of HiPos. We can help you build an effective high potential leadership program that strategically grooms them to steer your company to long-term success.
According to data from the Harvard Business Review, most organizations are simply not adept at identifying and developing high potential employees. HBR reviewed data regarding 1,964 individuals who were identified across three organizations as high-potential workers. The reviews included feedback from multiple assessors, who agreed that as many as 40 percent of the identified employees were not, actually, HiPos. Instead, companies were identifying candidates with strong technical skills who consistently honored commitments and took initiative. Those are all great strengths for employees — and certainly are traits that might show someone belongs in development or leadership training. They don’t, however, mean someone is HiPo. Why does it matter? It’s not that HiPos are the only employees your organization should invest in. It’s that HiPos tend to respond to training and development in different ways than other talented employees. Therefore, it’s important to align the components of a program to the level and talent set of the employees. Some participants may warrant a workshop only, while others, such as your HiPos may benefit from Shark Tank style capstone projects, or peer-to-peer shared intelligence sessions. Simply put, it’s important to customize the program to be challenging and relevant to the high potential employees.
Our high potential employee assessment and HiPo development programs are nothing like the run-of-the-mill leadership programs you've likely sent your employees to before. We do not host one-day or one-week events where your company leaders mingle with executives from other firms and listen to so-called "trainers" rehash the same hackneyed leadership clichés that, by now, are probably seared into your brain.
Instead, we evaluate your company and its specific needs; then, we build a program from the ground up to meet them. We customize every program using high potential employee development best practices, including:
Your hi potential employees get the opportunity to work with master trainers who specialize in developing high-potential employees. They have helped many businesses get the most out of their workforce and create seamless transitions between generations of leaders. Our master trainers HiPo program experts put their knowledge, experience and vast resources to work for your business.
It’s tempting to believe that talented employees are also faultless, but this isn’t the case. Like other human beings, HiPo individuals are nuanced, and some people initially identified as high potential are actually more suited to stable middle management or individual contributor positions. While it may be an ideal goal to correctly establish employee ability levels in advance of development opportunities, HiPo identification, even with science-backed assessments, is often subjective and ambiguous. Organizations can get caught in an indecision loop and procrastinate on a HiPo development program while attempting to perfect the selection process. In reality, it is more advantageous to actively develop employees and allow the high-potentials to rise to the top. Inevitably, there will be employees identified as high-potentials that fail to grow and others, previously overlooked, that end up being the real high potential leaders.
Not All Leaders Are HiPo Leaders
Interestingly, great managers are not always high-potential employees—even when they perform well in their roles. Recent research by the Corporate Research Forum indicates that most managers who excel at one level don’t automatically achieve the same level of greatness when promoted. These CRF results suggest that business leaders look at other factors beyond performance to determine an employee’s suitability for high potential development.
Talent Doesn’t Always Equate to HiPo
Gifted employees contribute significantly to their employers. Intelligent, innovative and well educated, they deliver work on time and find unique ways to solve problems. Raw talent alone, however, doesn’t make a person high potential. Many talented people prefer to work alone, or lack the desire for a promotion. . Far more indicative of a high-potential personality is enthusiasm for learning, an innate drive to excel, an enterprising spirit and good business instincts.
HiPo Development is Vital
The word “potential” means the capacity to grow, so it naturally follows that high-potential employees have an elemental capacity for growth. Because so many high potential characteristics come with the package, so to speak, it is often possible to identify HiPo individuals long before they reach management level. High-potential employees benefit greatly from early-stage intervention, and carefully constructed High Potential Employee Development Programs can help put them on the right track.
No HiPo is Perfect
Because they’re very driven individuals, HiPos occasionally suffer from stress-related conditions or make themselves ill while trying to excel. High performers are sometimes difficult to control, slightly insubordinate when they feel their ideas are superior to those on the table, and entrepreneurial to a fault. Diva complexes are not unheard of in HiPo circles, and maladaptive behaviors tend to coexist — at least to a point — with brilliance. Thankfully, HiPo programs and leadership development programs can help high-potential employees learn to control some of their less desirable traits, making them easier to work with.
HiPo Programs Customized for Your Company
Online courses and formulaic HiPo training programs may seem like budget-friendly ways to train your future leaders and executives, but they rarely offer sustainable value. Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions’ High Potential Development Programs are custom built for your business and take your organization’s unique situation and strategic priorities into account. We are committed to employing best practice leadership development principles including the seamless integration with your company’s current initiatives and models.
Our comprehensive and “turnkey” programs are infinitely flexible and include your choice of active-learning components including:
Traditional day or week-long high potential employee development programs might seem like an easy way to develop your high-potential employees — after all, that's what other companies are doing, right? — but think about how many such programs you've attended in your career. Then ask yourself, "Am I really a better leader because I attended a few formulaic leadership conferences?"
If you want real results, you need a customized HiPo employee development program custom-built just for your company and with high potential development programs best practices. That's what our master trainers and certified coaches at Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions have to offer. Typically, we work with both large and small groups of high potential employees to create a comprehensive training and HiPo development program crafted around your goals that prime your business for success.
What kind of background do your master trainers have?
Many of our master trainers have 10+ years corporate experience, thousands of hours of executive coaching, and have served as corporate executives themselves or had Fortune 500 companies as clients. In addition, many of them hold advanced degrees such as MBAs and Ph.Ds.
What kinds of results can my company expect?
The goal of our high potential employee assessment and development training programs is to first establish the results you hope to achieve and then design our program to offer the best chance of seeing those results. Perhaps your organization seeks to reduce turnover, or improve innovation, or perhaps your executives are within retiring age and you want to ensure a ready-now bench of competent leaders. We can design a high potential employee development program to address these needs and more. In fact, many of our clients have reported increased productivity, better organizational strength, cost reductions, higher bottom-line productivity and many other positive results.
How much does a high-potential employee development program cost?
Because we custom design each program based on the client's individual needs, it is impossible to quote an exact cost up front. What we can tell you is this: We offer a variety of participation levels that let you choose the intensity and duration of the high potential development program based on your budget and the time your organization has available to invest.
Gifted individuals frequently excel without encouragement, but they do even better when placed in a custom-built high potential development program. HiPo programs are carefully constructed to bring out the best in your most promising people, so your investment pays off in the long run. Well-developed leaders tend to inspire their peers as well as the staff members who report to them directly, and inspired employees tend to deliver consistently great results. In a nutshell, the right executive development program applied to the right people can make your company a leader in its field.
Contact Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions today to discuss your company's needs. We look forward to helping you take your business to the next level by ensuring your future leaders are prepared to excel.