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.
All employees play vital roles in their employers’ successes: Naturally, some people outperform others, and they tend to be seen in a more favorable light by line managers and HR personnel. “High potential” and “high performance” are not interchangeable descriptors, however. High-potential employees form about 3 to 5 percent of any company’s workforce, and the following characteristics can make them easier to identify:
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.
When you can use a high-potential program to target these employees, this results in satisfied individuals who are more likely to stay with the company over the long-term. Of the current crop of millennial workers, who made up 53.5 percent of the labor force in 2015 according to U.S. Census Bureau data, 91 percent said they plan to stay at their current job fewer than just three years. With such high turnover rates, it’s vital that companies first identify talented individuals and then invest in HiPo leadership programs to combat attrition. When a company is able to engage in accurate high-potential employee development programs, they benefit from:
Systematic high-potential employee identification also erases the perception from other employees that high-potential employees programs are not applied consistently, or that only a few employees are targeted for HiPo programs. To ensure high-potential programs are applied consistently and that appropriate participants are identified from all levels and departments, companies can engage in the following steps:
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.
at your organization with help from Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions. Call us today for a complimentary organizational development consultation: 281-469-4244.