Business success trickles down from the top. Enthusiasm starts at the upper echelons of a company, and it spreads through the ranks, empowering department managers, salespeople, customer service reps and other vital staff members. Because of this, it is vital to ensure that your executive roster remains filled with competent talent over time. When people retire and vacancies present themselves, many companies opt to fill them by placing ads on external sites, hoping for an influx of gifted applicants. Unfortunately, studies have shown that businesses stand a better chance of long-term success by training and developing potential leaders from existing high-potential employees.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Training high-potential employees can be a way to turn around the leadership development path at your company. The earlier you can identify high-potential employees, the more likely your organization is to benefit from their development and training. At TurnKey Coaching & Development Solutions, we're ready to help you develop a customized HiPo development program that helps you identify these up-and-coming stars and harnesses their potential without burnout or loss of morale. Now is the time to implement a high-potential employee development program so your organization can be ready for tomorrow.
with a comprehensive employee development program delivered by Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions. Call us today for a complimentary consultation – 281-469-4244.