Identifying High Potential Employees

      HR professionals and other leaders have experienced significant shifts and challenges in their work environment and priorities as they respond and adjust to the events of the past year.

      Some organizations are thriving, some are sinking, and some barely notice a difference.

      On top of the pandemic, the demographics of today’s workforce present several unique challenges for organizations.

      Not only are tens of thousands of baby boomers retiring every day, but the younger employees that should be taking up crucial leadership roles are notoriously difficult to retain - most Millennials, Gen Z and Gen Y plan to stay with any single employer for five years or less.

      KPMG’s recent CEO Survey noted that “talent was the top threat” to businesses right now.

      Without a deep leadership bench to draw from, it will be impossible for organizations to sustain their success into the future.

      Given all of this, it’s no surprise that identifying, developing, and retaining top talent is one of the top priorities for organizations today.

      Over the past 20 years, we’ve helped organizations develop programs for their high potential employees that build key leadership skills, improve job satisfaction, and increase retention.

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      Characteristics of high potential employees

      The following are some criteria to consider when trying to identify high potential employees:

      •  They are high-performers in their current role
        • Are their current job evaluations above average?
        • Do they often exceed expectations and/or add value in other ways?

      • They demonstrate good communication and collaboration skills
        • Many high-performers are great individual contributors however are not strong team players.
        • Have they proven their ability to build strong relationships?
        • Do they have influence and impact with their peers?

      •  They demonstrate alignment with company values
        • Performance isn’t everything.
        • How does their behavior embody company vision and values?
        • What’s their level of integrity in difficult circumstances?
        • What’s their ability to respectfully challenge when something is not aligned with company values?

      • They seek feedback on their performance and take initiative to develop their skills
        • How often do they actively seek feedback on their performance?
        • How open are they to unsolicited feedback?
        • How do they act on the feedback given?

      •  They volunteer for projects and initiatives.
        • People who willing take on additional tasks are giving a clear signal they are engaged with your organization and eager to contribute more.
        • How often do they raise their hand when volunteers are requested?
        • How often do they ask for stretch assignments?

      ROI of high potential employee development programs

      As an HR leader, you have your eye on the people and skills your organization needs today and into the future.

      As leaders move up and move on, it is important to have people who are “ready” for those open roles.

      Giving your top talent additional development opportunities is one of the best ways to deepen their relationship with your organization while improving their performance.

      Companies with highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable and score 17% higher on productivity. 

      We work with organizations to create high-value development programs for your high-potential employees with a goal to ready them for new levels of opportunity and keep them engaged in contributing to your organization.

      In some cases, we create formal career development plans and discuss career paths while in others we focus solely on growing specific leadership skills and capabilities that they will need at the next level of leadership.

      This ensures your people are ready when you need them, and your organization doesn’t suffer from unfilled leadership roles and untapped potential.

      Given that retention and engagement are two of the biggest and costliest problem areas for many organizations, being able to track and report on these metrics provides additional evidence for the value creating a program focused on developing your people.



      If you want to learn more about high potentials, check out our Essential Leadership Coaching Guide!