This video discusses how to identify high potentials in an organization and which strategies are most effective including reviewing track record, manager feedback, succession planning tools, and formal assessments.
- 92 percent of companies don't have a systematic process in place to identify high potentials. Without a clear and consistent process to identify them, there's the risk that the right individuals aren't identified, or that key individuals who can have a real impact on the business are overlooked. So let's explore how you can identify high potentials in your organization. You may use a structured, informal process where you bring leaders together to talk about your key employees, or you might use a more formal process called a talent review.
Either way, the goal is to identify those employees who consistently stand out, who outperform others, and who can be promoted more quickly than their peers. You're looking for individuals with a drive to succeed, career ambition, superlative skills, and a commitment to your success. An easy way to start is to look at individuals with a strong track record over time. Once you've identified this group, take a closer look.
See who has accomplished more than others by taking risks, seizing new opportunities, and embracing challenges. And remember that high potentials have a strategic perspective about the organization, and are highly trusted and respected. You can test the list you now have with the question, "Would these individuals come to mind first when I have a larger role I need to fill or when I have a promotion opportunity?" You'll typically have a smaller list of individuals identified at this point.
An important aspect of your conversation, or talent review, is to get a shared perspective and agreement on who your high potentials are. You don't want to rely just on the direct manager's assessment. So this is the time to get feedback from others. Reach out to others who know this person, and ask for specific and thoughtful feedback. Ask if these individuals stand out from their peers. Ask them if they could see these employees being successful in a more complex or higher-level role.
Now, you may have a pretty good list of high-potential candidates. And at this point, you might start to see which specific roles your high potentials could be in line for, and how ready they are to step into them. This is called a succession planning process. The bottom line is that you want to have at least one person who's ready now to step into your most senior roles, and those roles that are critical to your business. Succession planning might also help you pare down the list of who you consider high-potential.
Some individuals might fall off at this point if you can't see them moving into other roles in the organization. Finally, you may choose to conduct formal assessments to validate those you consider high-potential. This select group might go through a series of evaluations to determine their long-term potential. This objective data can help you better understand the individual's strengths and areas for development and if they fit the high-potential criteria.
Remember, it's important to not confuse performance or productivity with potential. For example, you might be tempted to quickly promote a successful sales manager to lead a highly visible team. That might seem to make sense initially. However, if this person doesn't have the ability to do what it takes to lead strategically or doesn't have the ambition to influence across the organization, the individual might fail in this new position.
Understanding this person's potential is critical. With a structured process in place to identify high potentials, you can target your investment in development, focus on getting candidates ready for promotions, and in the end, maximize their contributions to your business. High potentials may only be five percent of your organization, but although small in number, they can have a significant impact on the business. Remember, if you don't know who they are, you can't fully benefit from what they have to offer.