3 Ways Bring Out the Best from High Potentials

Bring Out the Best from High Potentials from Behind the Curtains

Are You Doing Everything You Can to Bring Out the Best from High Potentials?
Does your organizational culture and talent management strategy bring out the best from high potentials?  If not, it should.  High potentials can make or break your performance.

The Definition of High Potential Employees
We consider high potential employees as the top 3% to 10% of the workforce in terms of “Results” and “Behaviors.”  Results are exemplified by consistently outperforming their expectations and their peers in varied situations.  Behaviors relate to achieving those differentiated results in a manner that consistently aligns with the cultural norms and corporate values regardless of the complexity or pressure.  Additionally, these unique employees show the attributes required to successfully take on more responsibility within the organization.

Why High Potential Employees Matter
Several studies show that companies that bring out the best from high potentials (HIPOs) are well rewarded.  HIPOs drive a disproportionate amount of organizational results.  One recent study at Indiana University reported that the:

  • Top 6 percent of high potentials delivers 35 percent of the organizations results
  • Top 20 percent of high potentials delivers 80 percent of the organizations results

Treat Your High Performers and High Potentials Differently
All too often the employees who get noticed are the ones who bray the loudest or who are best at navigating office politics. Are these the criteria you want to define your chosen high potentials? Probably not.  When it comes to talent, the squeaky wheel approach does not deliver outstanding performance.

How to Find Your High Potentials
Instead of promoting those who are most obvious, perhaps for the wrong reasons, performance management training experts recommend you look deeper into your employee base to find the real high performance stars who deserve their chance on the big stage.

3 Ways Bring Out the Best from High Potentials
Here is how to find the true, but perhaps hidden, talent for today and tomorrow so you can bring out the best from high potentials:

1.  Be Absolutely Clear About What It Takes to Excel
This includes behaviors, accomplishments and whatever key performance indicators relate to the specific job role and career trajectory in both the short and long-term.  Ambiguity is your enemy here.  Strive for two high performance goals that carry 50 percent or more of the performance weight.

2.  Be Transparent with Information
Our organizational alignment research found that transparency and the timely flow of information is 13.5 times greater for high performing companies.  Actively involve high performers in where the company is headed, where they stand and what their future holds.  You will know you are on the right track when high potentials believe that the information flow across the company is timely.

3.  Be Discriminating
Invest a disproportionate amount of time and energy in identifying and developing the critical few people who you think will lead your organization forward.  Offer targeted learning and career development opportunities.  Look for stretch assignments for them to forge new paths, challenge existing assumptions and push the status quo.

The Bottom Line
High potentials are worth the investment.  Selected correctly, they make better transitions into new roles, improve performance year over year, model the leadership and cultural values that matter most and help to develop those around them.

To learn more about better managing performance, download The Top 5 Performance Management Success Factors

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