Whether you need to fill leadership positions now or you’re looking for future managers and innovators, identifying and developing top talent within your organization is critical. Some of the individuals most likely to succeed in leadership roles are known as high-potential employees, or HiPos. These gifted individuals tend to have natural communication, leadership, critical thinking and risk evaluation skills that help them see the big picture and navigate learning opportunities and change quickly. By identifying and investing in these individuals, you can ensure your organization has innovative team players and leaders at every level. Your HiPos benefit from employee development programs by learning to leverage their skill sets and natural talents for personal and company growth.
High-potential employees are a relatively rare breed. They’re people who rise successively through multiple management levels, inspire the individuals in their departments and achieve consistently good results. When business owners identify high-potential employees — also known as HiPos — early on, they can develop their most promising leaders via HiPo programs. While all employees deserve effective training programs, high-quality High potential development programs are especially vital to success because they strengthen company structure and prepare businesses for the future.
Essentially, well-conceived HiPo development programs take individuals with great leadership potential and develop those management skills to the max. Department heads and other leaders identify high-potential talent, typically through proven employee potential assessment tools and then invite the HiPos to enter a leadership development program in which they are granted access to interdisciplinary learning opportunities, given real-world challenges to solve and are coached and mentored on a one-to-one basis. Your high-potential candidates then use their newly honed skills to excel in their existing roles and advance smoothly through the ranks.
One of the best peripheral payoffs of a great high potential employee development program is its effect on other employees, who reap many benefits when their managers go through advanced training and development initiatives. High otential development programs frequently cause positive paradigm shifts when they’re properly implemented, making both individuals and the companies they work for more successful.
In a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, 98 percent of companies surveyed said that they deliberately identified high-potential employees. However, half of respondents said that they spent less than 10 percent of their time actually developing those potential future leaders. If the HBR study is a reliable indicator of the wider marketplace, then we can conclude that a sizable proportion of all companies don’t adequately leverage their existing talent bases. The first step on the road to high-potential employee development is HiPo identification. Though different companies have different criteria they use to ID talent, most businesses agree that HiPo personnel share the following characteristics:
Naturally talented people are tremendously useful and add value to any corporation. But talent isn’t enough to guarantee either personal or overall success. Talent is a tool: when used correctly, it can broker deals, cut through red tape and break quarterly sales records. When neglected, however, talent alone doesn’t breed accomplishment.
High Potential employee development programs help kindle talent and drive success in three distinct ways, particularly if HiPo employees are identified early in their careers:
High potential leadership development programs focus on methods for success as well as results. In the regular business world, bonuses and accolades frequently depend upon results alone, but in the high-potential world, methods matter too. High-potential managers don’t use negative reinforcement or bullying to make staff members work harder, for example — even if those tactics break sales records.
Effective high potentials leadership programs help guide early-stage high-potentials as they make developmental decisions. The earlier high-potential employees go into a HiPo development program, the more quickly they’ll develop and the further they’ll go. When companies develop high performing individuals expediently, they set themselves up for ongoing success.
High potential employee development programs help prevent burnout. When left to their own devices, driven individuals often push themselves to the brink of total exhaustion. High-potential development programs help HiPo employees pace themselves, so they stay healthier in the long term and remain loyal to the company.
To create effective high potential development programs, trainers must understand the hardwiring behind HiPo individuals. At first meeting, HiPo employees are often mistaken for more conventional high achievers, but they are actually quite different from their talented peers. HiPo employees are certainly gifted, but they possess more than just raw talent—and their nuances are sometimes hard to see. Identifying your high potential employees can be a daunting task. Employee potential assessment tools like the nine-block grid are helpful, but are subjective and far from perfect. There are important characteristics that high-potentials possess and more sophisticated high-potential assessment processes capture. A few of HiPo characteristics include:
Consider the Top 10 %
Many organizations identify their high-potential employees by simply asking the supervisors for their top 10%. Then within an HR facilitated nomination committee determine which of the 10% would be ideal candidates for employee development. A high-potential leadership development best practice approach includes rolling out a pilot program for the first year, typically including training, assessment and feedback, and either one-on-one coaching or peer-to-peer coaching. Cultivating Prosperity with a Custom-Designed High Potential Development Scheme
Many businesses go for ready-made training programs in the belief that they offer good value for money. Conversely, truly savvy company owners opt for custom-designed HiPo programs, which help high-potential employees develop fully and according to strategic priorities. The master trainers and employee development experts at Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions work with both small and large groups of high-potential employees, training and teaching them how to expand upon their existing skillsets, how to work successfully in teams and how to reach the top of the business ladder.
Most businesses identify high-potential employees at two key points: early in their careers and when individuals are promoted into senior management positions. Opportunities for growth abound at both junctures, though a high potential development program and corresponding training methods used may vary.
In either case, effective HiPo development programs help drive company growth and give businesses unique competitive advantages.
Q: Why are high potential employee development programs so important?
A: Whenever possible, all employees at a business should be given access to high-quality training programs. Having said that, high-potential employees require special attention because they function as key players in your company and hold the power to influence others. Furthermore, developing high potential employees has been shown to reduce turnover, improve innovation, and positively impact the bottom line.
Q: What makes a HiPo development program great?
A: Superior high-potential programs are tailor made for your particular company and built to help your particular batch of HiPo employees succeed. An effective high potential program should consider your company’s mission, values, leadership competencies, and strategic trajectory.
Additionally, a qualified high potential program partner will customize the program to meet the needs of any level of employee while still challenging your most experienced HiPos.
Your high potential employee development program should be built using best practices and include various components such as high potential employee assessment tools, feedback and development planning, one-on-one coaching and/or peer to peer coaching, leadership competency instruction, real-business simulations, shark tank style capstone projects to build business acumen, internal mentoring, and cross-organizational introductions, etc.
There’s no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ HiPo program. Instead, we encourage you to give TurnKey a call at 281-469-4244 to explore the right components for your employee development needs, budget, culture, and strategic priorities.
Q: How do High Potential Leadership Programs benefit my business?
After a successful high-potential employee development program concludes, participants return to their roles with renewed vigor, tackle challenges with fresh enthusiasm and advance to new management positions with greater confidence. The comradery built within the program, amongst their peers, continues to thrive and supports greater networking and interpersonal effectiveness.
Providing your high-potential employees with a career plan and development opportunities fosters a happier culture. And, according to a recent Columbia University study happy company cultures have a turnover rate of 13.9 percent on average; compared to their counterparts with lower morale, where turnover is more likely to be in the 48.4 percent range.
Furthermore, according to the Department of Economics and the University of Warwick, happy employees are 12 percent more productive than average employees. The research also showed that unhappy employees cost American businesses more than $300 billion annually.
The case is strong to take your high potential employee development goals seriously.
Studies have shown that companies who choose to invest in their people — particularly their HiPo employees — do better, both in the short term and in the long term. High-potential individuals who receive training are much more likely to stick with their employers and tend to feel more inspired when new challenges arise. In turn, they inspire their peers and the staff members they’re entrusted with. In conclusion, when you choose a tailor-made HiPo development program and apply it to the right individuals, your initial investment rapidly pays for itself.
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.