Training new leaders for your organization is a vital task, but it's not always easy to identify those with leadership potential. A program designed to tap the talents of high-potential individuals, sometimes called a HiPo program, can make a substantial contribution to the future of any organization. When high-potential individuals aren't recognized and challenged, they're likely to leave for greener pastures where their worth is acknowledged and where they see opportunities for leadership development. Yet few organizations go out of their way to identify, train, and utilize HiPo employees. Developing a high potentials leadership program is one proven way to motivate these employees to make long-term commitments to an organization in a way that maximizes results not only for the company, but for the employees as well.
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.
One of the reasons companies struggle to discern between high-potential employees and other high achievers is that they sometimes look the same, especially if all you consider on a regular basis are performance metrics. In fact, a potential HiPo that hasn’t been developed is actually likely to have lackluster performance metrics, especially if they’ve done the same task for some time and are bored with the work. At Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions, we encourage executives, managers and HR staff to look beyond performance metrics. Through regular communication and working side-by-side with your staff — and even participating in team development programs with them — you can better identify individuals who have traits associated with HiPos. Some traits to look for include:
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.
It can be tempting to believe that high-potential employees simply succeed by themselves, but, in fact, they benefit greatly from targeted learning and development. A carefully constructed high potential development program can help gifted individuals stay on track, stick to long-term goals and make the most of their abilities. Moreover, well-conceived HiPo programs help truly talented employees advance into fantastic leaders you can count on as your company evolves. In short, when you make a relatively minor investment into your most promising employees, you’ll likely receive big dividends later on.
at your business with a unique high potential leadership development program from Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions.