Have the ingredients that make a HiPo changed over the years?
From a leadership perspective, one always keeps looking for people who stand out in their behaviours or performance. They are able to relate the tactical with the strategic in everything that the leaders or the organization is doing. This is what makes these people always stand out as they are able to see a bigger picture.
People with a high achievement orientation, who are never satisfied and have a fire in the belly with an inner drive to work further, come out as high potentials. Such people mostly display certain impatience and contrarian views. They need to develop a high EQ as they go along as there are people around them who need to collaborate to make HiPos successful. No one can be successful alone hence it is very important to have the ability to make people around you, own your success as their own success.
Globalization and high mobility of all factors of production, lowering of trade barriers and free flow of information and knowledge creates a setting in which organisations who succeed inevitably will have scale. In a large organisational context to deliver a complex outcome, seamlessness becomes a key behavioural trait. This therefore is a very important aspect of the HiPos personality make up to be able to reach out across verticals, functions, regions, geographies etc. to network with the right people and to access relevant knowledge.
How important are HiPos to a business?
Unless you’re in a monopoly, in any competitive environment, organisations tend to look at business along two key dimensions, one is the bread & butter stuff which currently would be bringing in substantial revenues and secondly business initiatives that lend a competitive edge to organisation and target future revenue streams. For instance, in the Telecom sector Voice contributes 80 to 90% of current revenues of the larger Telcos but the Data revenues manifesting in budding revenue streams like Value Added Services, Mobile Commerce, Mobile Banking, Cloud Computing, Convergence between Banking and Telecom or IT through telecom etc. are areas that will lead to future revenue streams. People who have the ability to ideate, innovate and are able to contribute in a meaningful way to their respective organisations in such areas will automatically stand out. Whilst contributing through thought processes for future is important, they should not lose sight of the fact that their passport to such attractive and much sought after opportunities will be their demonstrated high performance in current roles.
At Idea we bring in people from premier institutes, compensate them differently and considering them as HiPos, we treat them differently in terms of providing assignments/role but not in terms of employee experience which remains consistent for all employees. The organizational cues, the roles and responsibilities provided to them and the organizational expectations from them are very different.
How do you identify HiPos? Is it based on serendipity or has a structured approach?
Well, it’s a combination of both. We run a well-managed talent management program both at the Group and Business level. We have detailed assessments that help defining the talent pool, segmenting them, reviewing them and preparing individual development plans.
That is the structured part but I’d say that one also needs to keep their eyes and ears open as there is information easily available to all and everyone wants to be seen and heard. In such scenarios, there would be HiPos who won’t come out through the conventional programs but could create an impact otherwise. In such cases, one needs to have the ability to spot them early and provide them challenging roles where they can develop themselves and have the intellectual and operational bandwidth to create an impact helping them learn their weaknesses and strengths. The key to a good HiPo program is always two things: The ability to have the right set of people identified and putting them in the right roles. Nothing can put off a high potential more than putting them in a dead role.