Many companies spend sizable portions of their yearly budgets on recruitment, hoping to find star players hidden in the stacks of resumes they receive. When opportunities for growth are limited, internal key players leave to seek better prospects elsewhere. It’s a vicious circle, but it can be broken when businesses learn how to identify high-potential employees and invest in their development. Business owners who opt for customized HiPo training programs improve their companies’ structures, making them more resilient against industry change.
All your employees are valuable, useful and vital parts of your business, and without them, your company would cease to exist. High-potentials are upwardly mobile employees with the capacity to move easily through the ranks and positively influence the staff members they manage. Also known as HiPos, these unique individuals are relatively rare and achieve consistently good results under challenging circumstances. When correctly identified and trained, HiPos can help shape the future of your company for the better.
Most industry leaders believe that all employees benefit from competency development training programs designed to help them harness their talents. High-potential employees are frequently already in charge of other people — or they’re earmarked for management positions — so HiPo development programs usually have a positive effect within your company. High-potential Development programs work like this:
Stage One: You identify your HiPo employees and create a list of potential course objectives and attendees.
Stage Two: You implement a custom-built high potential development program in which participants benefit from one-on-one mentorship, individual feedback and development planning, face realistic challenges during simulations or shark tank style workshops and gain access to multidisciplinary training opportunities.Stage Three: Newly energized and inspired, HiPo employees drive growth and move your company forward.
To remain competitive and drive growth, businesses are almost universally better off developing talent from within rather than hiring external candidates for newly vacant managerial or executive positions. Recently, however, a survey by the Corporate Leadership Council found that only 25 percent of respondents felt confident that they would fill all open leadership positions within the next half decade. Worryingly, a concurrent report by the Conference Board revealed that only about 34 percent of companies effectively identified future leaders within their ranks. Some of the confusion may revolve around an inability to distinguish talent from high potential. While both types of employee are vital for business success, only HiPo employees reliably travel up through various management levels to executive status. Gifted individuals often prefer solving problems on their own; high-potential employees work in groups and encourage the people they manage to excel. Talented people may be innovative but lack serious ambition; high-potential employees come with a built-in desire to excel and have naturally exceptional business instincts. According to a recent Hewitt Associates study, when HR managers and existing top-level executives consistently identify and develop high-potential employees, companies tend to see a jump in shareholder returns. Even greater returns begin to happen when businesses track their employees’ successes and use them to build progressively more powerful high potential employees development programs.
Forward-thinking organizations set themselves up for success by providing well-constructed, high-potential employee development programs for their high-performers. By offering your HiPos a plan for managing their careers and creating a path for promotion, your organization not only builds more competent employees but cultivates a greater probability of business success. HiPo training programs make your most promising employees and leaders more effective by teaching them how to leverage their natural talents. In turn, HiPos generate new ideas, encourage other members of staff and generally strengthen your business from within.
During high potentials leadership program, trainers frequently tackle the following topics:
When equipped with the above three skills, high potential employees bring even more to the table and your business benefits accordingly.
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:
If they’re exposed to the right potential development training program, high-potential employees thrive no matter when they’re identified.. Developing high potential employees requires thoughtful consideration of where they are in their careers; as newcomers may require a different approach than an employee with more experience. Thoughtfully designed high potential leadership programs treat these two HiPo types differently to ensure optimal development.
Early-stage high potential employee development programs may combine 360 feedback, coaching, and mentoring with technology-enhanced learning tools and group-reinforced training methods. When they’re caught early, HiPos usually develop quickly and often provide their parent companies with years of service.
Late-stage HiPo employee development programs require greater sensitivity in the set-up phase. It’s important to foster engagement by leveraging the experience of more senior employees. When encouraged through recognition and personalized learning goals, more experienced employees often help create a rich learning environment.
Taking time to fully customize a program is considered an important high potential development best practice and by taking advantage of the group’s collective wisdom, high potential programs for employees can achieve impressive results.
In short, company owners should invest in both early-stage and late-stage high-potential employees to cultivate success.
Q: Why should I give high-performing employees special attention?
A: All employees benefit from excellent training courses, and business leaders looking to achieve real success should invest in every employee. By identifying high potential employees and crafting a plan to retain high potential employees, HiPo development programs create a succession strategy and ensure the underlying structure of a company can survive beyond the current executive team. Additionally, in a rapidly changing business environment, employees require specific training and encouragement to ensure innovation, interpersonal effectiveness, and the other leadership competencies required to create a lasting competitive edge.
Q: What is the payoff of a high potential assessment and development program?
A: During high potential training courses, attendees learn how to hone their instinctive skills and how to communicate effectively with others to achieve success. When training programs conclude, attendees emerge with new enthusiasm, fresh ideas and vision for the future. More specifically the ROI of retaining high potential employees yields reduced employee turnover costs, knowledge capital retention, and greater returns due to employee engagement and competency.
Q: What do effective high potential employee assessment and high potential leadership development programs look like?
A: High potential leadership development programs vary depending on the participants, the company goals and budget. High potential employee development programs best practices include leveraging more experienced HiPos and customizing the program to be strategically aligned with the long-term goals of the organization. Best practices include using relevant high-potential assessment tools and online 360 feedback tools, personality assessments such as the DiSC or MBTI plus individual development planning, coaching, mentoring, shark-tank style capstone projects and group coaching, to name just a few options. TurnKey Coaching & Development Solutions specializes in custom-engineered high potential talent development programs that deliver multifaceted learning opportunities to help participants advance.
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.