In today’s talent marketplace, competition for good talent is intense; however, competition for great talent is fierce. The shortage of skilled talent is real, and the disparity between supply and demand will only become greater with time. Progressive leaders understand that a robust talent bench is quite literally the lifeline to their future success.
With insights gained from the Aon Hewitt Top Company for Leaders ongoing research, we establish that it is imperative for organizations to consider the following key factors to effectively identify high potentials, grow and retain the talent at various levels in the organization:
Define what you mean by “high potential”
While the definition of a high potential may vary from one organization to another; it must not be interchangeably used with high performance. Performance is defined by business results, the behaviors needed to achieve those results and is evaluated from a historical perspective. Potential on the other hand, understands what an individual is capable of and takes into account the predictive performance, character, capability and motivation. Although high potentials are almost always high performers, the reverse is not necessarily true.
Outline the high potential identification process
Objective talent assessments are used to provide an equal platform to employees who compete for a higher role. It is imperative that the identification process gathers information through multiple sources such as managers, peers, psychometric assessments, on-job simulations, structured interviews etc. With this outlook, the process will be able to capture information that can be used for the ongoing development of individuals.
Capture the readiness of the individual
The identification process must also check whether the identified potential has the ability to take on the scale and scope of a higher role. It is important for the organization to consider the readiness and identify any critical gaps in individual capabilities. The organization must plan to bridge the gap before the identified high potential takes on a higher role.
Treat the identification process as an independent part of Talent Development
Once a high potential has been identified, the organization should design a development plan and a career-path for the individual. The development process may include a formal training method, multiple learning interventions, identifying a mentor and also involve a manager to guide the high potential.
Maintain transparency in the identification process
It is important that the high potential is communicated the results of the process. Maintaining transparency in the process benefits the organization as the individual is likely to be more engaged, willing to learn and develop their skills, and hence, will stay longer with the organization.
Regularly review the high potential list
It is essential for the organization to review their high potential list on a regular basis. There are several factors such as the economy, external competition, changes in products and services offered by the organization etc., that impact an organization’s talent requirement. By regularly reviewing the high potentials’ performance the organization is de-risking the talent pipeline and is effective in succession planning – high potential talent should not consider it their birthright for eternity.
The identification and development of a high potential is an integral process for organizations. This enables a continuous supply of a well-trained and a culturally-fit talent pool for the organization. After all, it is not only imperative to hire the best, but also to grow and retain them.