Without the right people, an organization can’t succeed, and in today’s complex, competitive market, it’s not enough to identify staff with the right skill sets. Successful companies look toward the future and ask questions like “Who is going to lead innovation tomorrow?” One of the answers to those questions is high-potential employees, or HiPos. The designation of HiPo doesn’t necessarily pertain to how well a person can perform a specific type of task — there’s a difference between high-potential and specifically gifted. Instead, HiPos are up-and-comers with a high probability of success — which means a high likelihood of contributing to the success of your organization. By identifying and developing HiPos, companies position themselves for a brighter future.
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.
Recent surveys by Training Magazine and Clear Company shed new light on HiPo employees’ needs and HiPo programs in general. When combined, their data shows an interesting juxtaposition between what high potential employees look for in a job and what they often get when they’re hired. According to the Training Magazine data, for example, 97 percent of all HiPo respondents said that they actively seek companies with Hip Potential leadership development programs while on the hunt for a job. The Clear Company analysis reveals, however, that 55 percent of HiPo employees actually drop out of their companies’ HiPo programs within a couple of years. Why does this happen? Because high-potential employees naturally push themselves toward ever-increasing success — and would presumably want to stay in a high potential leadership development program that helps them achieve this success — the TM and CC data seems to indicate a fault within High potential employee programs themselves.
A critical success factor for effective high potential development programs, is first the ability to properly identify your HiPos and understanding that high performance does not always mean high potential. Many organizations use the nine-block method for high potential identification, while other companies use performance reviews and supervisor nominations. A best practice approach includes these methods and also integrates job-benchmarking assessments and high potential assessment tools. All of these methods are useful and TurnKey Coaching & Development Solutions is happy to recommend a process and advise on best practices. When companies do identify HiPos correctly and then offer them tailored HiPo development programs, the results are often outstanding. According to another Gartner study, high-potential employees exert about 21 percent more effort than their peers, and the more training and learning opportunities they receive, the better they do. HiPos also love working with and encouraging others to fulfil their potentials, whether those other employees are HiPo or not. Inspirational managers are, without a doubt, invaluable wherever they’re found. The long-term effects of high-potential development programs become clear when existing executives retire or resign. At that point, well-trained high potential employees rise to the occasion, filling your executive roster with ready-for-action talent. In short, a well-conceived high potential development program for employees benefits your company now and also in the future.
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.
HiPo programs can help businesses plan in advance for future vacancies created by retiring executives. When businesses take advantage of existing internal talent, they reduce the need to hire and train external candidates. The small initial investments company owners make in custom high-potential development programs pay off very quickly. Lower recruitment costs and optimized business structures lead to larger profits and a widespread increase in employee morale. To sum things up, high potential development programs help businesses both in the present and in the future.
at your business with a unique high potential leadership development program from Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions.