Developing Your High-Potential Employees Program in Raleigh, NC

How to Select and Train Employees for High Potentials Leadership Development in the Raleigh area

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.

Who are 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.

What Do High-Potential Development Programs Do?

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.

The need for executive potential programs and leadership development programs is apparent across industries.

According to an international survey by the Corporate Leadership Council, approximately 75 percent of companies are concerned about staffing leadership positions in the future, with almost two-thirds of all companies identifying themselves as ineffective at identifying potential leaders. Does the use of high potential employee development programs make a difference? A Hewitt Associates study of large companies in the United States shows that the answer is yes. When companies deliberately identify and train HiPos, their total shareholder return (TSR) goes up, sometimes dramatically. TSR continues to increase when companies track the progress of their high-potential employees, performing regularly in the 75th percentile. Not surprisingly, HiPo employees who've been properly identified and trained tend to be promoted more quickly than other employees. Whether this is a result of excellent selection at the identification stage or on-target training and development programs is moot. Whether nature or nurture lies behind their success, the value of HiPo development programs is apparent.

Why Are HiPo Development Programs Vital?

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

What Does a HiPo Look Like?

Because you're in search of potential rather than achievement in identifying employees for a high-potential program, it's all too easy to overlook hidden gems and focus instead on the obvious people. Complicating matters, the capabilities and traits of a HiPo don’t always show up in performance reviews. But if you miss these individuals and don't funnel them into appropriate training, you're likely to lose them entirely to companies where they'll be better appreciated. So, what should you look for when selecting HiPos for a high potential development program? Consider these key factors:

  • A high learning curve. Yes, high potential employees are excellent learners, but there's more to it than that. True HiPos don't just learn. They take what they've learned and turn it into action, and they're able to carry new ideas they've learned in one area and translate them to a different area.
  • A passion for success. Success is more than a pat on the back or a year-end raise for a high-potential employee. HiPos rely on intrinsic motivation in their push for success, and they're willing to make sometimes astonishing sacrifices to satisfy it.
  • An entrepreneurial attitude. HiPos love to explore new territory, even if it means personal or professional risk. They're excited by the challenges that make other employees turn away, and they love being first in line for new opportunities.

Potential Pitfalls to Avoid in Your High Potential Employee Program
A high-potential employee development program is vital to maximize the talents of your employees and plan for future leadership, but it's easy for such a program to lose its way without careful planning and expert knowledge. At TurnKey Coaching & Development Solutions, our professional coaches and master trainers keep a sharp eye out for these potential pitfalls:

  • Misidentifying HiPo candidates. If you focus on employee performance when selecting candidates for a high-potential leadership development program, you're likely to make some unwise choices. Performance at one level within a company isn't necessarily a predictor of excellent performance at higher levels. In addition, some employees may go out of their way to draw attention to themselves in hopes of landing on the HiPo list, and it's easy to fall for candidates who are flashy rather than effective. This does not mean these individual should not be provided development opportunities but a best-practice is to monitor their engagement level and ensure your investment is with the most likely to succeed individuals.
  • The flip side of many HiPos. Many passionate, driven, enterprising individuals also have a tendency to push others out of the way in their drive to meet their goals. These darker characteristics often show up in HiPos, who can sometimes be hard to manage, demanding, insubordinate or rude. In evaluating HiPos as you go about developing potential leaders, it's important to identify weaknesses as well as strengths and to assess whether these weaknesses, typically in interpersonal effectiveness, can be resolved through targeted soft-skill development. Some HiPos can derail their careers when Emotional Intelligence is not developed. An effective program has the ability to tend to the individual needs of your High Potential Employees and address head-on any EQ challenges with proven assessments, feedback loops, coaching, mentoring and acknowledgement.

The Right Coaching for Your HiPos
High potential programs for employees don't just happen, and they don't look like other leadership training programs in their specifics. Many high-potential individuals become bored with traditional leadership training, or they move so fast within a company that they skip right over it. As a result, they may not learn the lessons absorbed on the ground by leaders moving at a more sedate pace. At Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions, we follow high potential employee development best practices in designing our coaching and training programs, always seeking the right fit for these unique individuals. With our customized leadership development training and coaching programs, you can maximize the talent already present in your company while avoiding the pitfalls that can accompany high-potential programs.

When to Hone High-Potential Employees

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.

  • Early-stage HiPo development courses leverage technology, internal mentoring, cross-functional exposure initiatives and existing resources to hone skill in a cost-efficient way. The earlier high-potential individuals begin training, the further they may go.
  • Succession planning initiatives that include middle-management and later stage high potentials can embrace high potential development programs best practices by leveraging the experience and knowledge of more senior employees.  Often this type of program requires more customization and thus a little more investment, but can reliably help talented managers and even executives excel in senior management positions. An effective high-potential employee program does not exclude late-blooming high potentials. In fact, the more experienced hipos add significant value and depth to an executive potential program. We encourage our clients to consider a customized, top-down development approach to capture the wealth of experience gained in a lifetime on the job.

In either case, effective HiPo development programs help drive company growth and give businesses unique competitive advantages.

High Potential Leadership Development FAQs

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.

 

Is it time to plan for the future in your organization?

Contact us at Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions to discuss how we can help you start a customized high potential employee development program today. Call us today at 281-469-4244.

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