This video presents general strategies for developing high potentials including stretch and rotational assignments, exposure to new people and parts of the business, mentors, and training programs.
- Identifying high potentials is critical but what's next? How do you develop them? Most likely during the identification process you learned about the strengths and areas for development of your high potentials. You've taken a look at how they influence across the organization, which relationships they've built, and how they've had to apply their skills. But everyone has areas to work on even your high potentials. There are many ways to help high potentials gain new skills and foster strong relationships in the organization.
First and foremost focus on how to give high potentials unlimited learning opportunities, they want this, expect it, and thrive on it. This passion for learning shows up in their personal lives as well as their work. Given their desire to learn, don't forget to tap into their energy for learning as part of the opportunities you give them. They both want and need to be stretched. If they feel that they aren't learning and growing their commitment and performance can suffer.
So let's look at some strategies to use think about what you're already doing to develop your high potentials. Think about what you can add to what you're already doing. The most successful development strategies for high potentials are those that happen on the job, this includes rotations, challenging assignments, turning around struggling teams, and being involved in innovating new products and services.
On the job assignments that require dealing with ambiguity, learning quickly, and stepping up to challenges are the most impactful. Let's take a specific look at rotation programs. In fact 84% of companies used job rotations as the primary strategy to develop high potentials. Rotations give your high potentials a more diverse base of experience and expose them to new perspectives.
Rotation programs consist of giving high potentials the opportunity to work on a different team, in a different office or geography, or on a different product or service. Rotations can range in length from a few months to a few years. A second strategy is to put high potentials to work solving real business problems. You may put a group of high potentials together to do this or give a business issue to a high potential to solve.
Solving problems will expose them to new people and different parts of the business. They may come up with new ideas as they dive into the problem to solve, or an innovative approach to solving it that gives you new insight into your business. Third, use mentors to develop high potentials. This strategy is popular for a good reason. It's proven to be very effective in developing high potentials.
71% of Fortune 500 companies use mentoring programs as a key part of their development strategies. Mentors are typically senior leaders or executives who take time out of their schedules to coach, develop and give constructive feedback. This enables high potentials to gain a deep understanding of the business, and they have a confidential source to go to for advice and guidance.
Another benefit of a mentor program is to build long-term strategic relationships. Pairing a high potential with a mentor also provides many opportunities to transfer knowledge. Individuals working with mentors gain more than the specific competencies they set out to develop. They also improve their leadership and teamwork skills. Fourth, consider sending high potentials to an external training program targeted to their needs and career interests, or build your own focused high potential program.
Training can cover a number of targeted skill areas important to high potentials such as diplomacy, conceptual thinking, resiliency, conflict management, and cultural sensitivity. The best training programs also offer support through social media, online learning, and user groups, but don't forget that training needs to be immediately applied on the job or you won't get a return on your investment and high potentials won't put their new skills into practice.
Finally, set up a forum for high potentials to support one another. This may be a regular meeting where they can explore topics of interest, share lessons learned, and coach each other. High potentials enjoy learning from others who are going through similar experiences. To sum it up, developing high potentials is a necessary and imperative strategy for your company. It's also something that motivates and retains high potentials.
It's a win-win for both the individual and your company.