HiPos in the digital age: Answering the what, why and how?
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Disruption of technology is inevitable but what we need to focus on is the speed of disruption and how it is affecting our organizations. HiPos, i.e. High Potential Employees are a crucial aspect of any company and the early movers while adopting the technology. This topic was addressed by Prashant Pandey, Country Manager, Right Management India at the Mumbai HiPo Week Masterclass organized by People Matters in association with Right Management.
As explained by Prashant, HiPos are often defined as people who would act extraordinarily in ordinary situations and vice-versa. But in today's time, HiPos are expected to perform extraordinarily in extraordinary circumstances. So the definition hasn't changed much, but the complexities have, and this is the challenge currently faced by companies. Prashant Pandey shed light on the problems and solutions to this through a survey conducted by Right Management.
Assessing and identifying HiPos
Earlier the debate revolved around performance vs potential but with the coming of technology the criteria to define a HiPo is changing. There are 4 Critical Ps that you need to focus on when you're on the journey of identifying a HiPo. Performance, Potential, personality, and perception (Leadership brand) are the four things you need to asses to pick out the HiPo in any team. Previously, IQ and EQ were being measured, but today we need to take DQ (Digital Quotient) into consideration as well.
Competencies required by the HiPos to thrive in the digitally disruptive era
Learning Agility is the number one requirement in the list of skills. It was not a new one and has been on the list for quite some time but talking about the digital age; it is now topping the charts. The second one is creativity and innovation. While AI is taking over, creative ideas are something that is coming from humans and is needed by organizations to bring about change. The other competencies in order of ranking are Problem-solving, Change management, Data analytics, Emotional intelligence and Social Media skills.
Changing roles and business expectations from HiPos
While the more significant purpose of the HiPo in the digital age may still revolve around strategy, execution, and people, the nuances have changed. The strategy has shifted from years to months, time frames for execution have shrunk, and people are becoming more tech-savvy. Specifically, in terms of HiPo HR, the focus needs to shift from an operational to a strategic role. HRs need to concentrate on employee experience and talent management. HiPos now need to build a personal brand in the social media space to gain visibility.
Shifts the organizations need to undergo to develop a sustainable ecosystem for the HiPos
Now that companies have identified the HiPos, it is essential to create a well-crafted sustainable environment for them. One of the first things companies need to do is build a culture of personalized learning through mobile and web apps. There are many tools out there in the market that will help in assisting you to customize specific learning programmes for each employee. The other options to adopt are assigning business critical projects, cross-functional exposure, learning through social media, inter-organizations learning and opportunities to interact with CXOs and Thought Leaders.
Motivators for HiPos in the digital era
89% of the companies believe dynamic career experiences, vertically and horizontally, across the organization and geographies is something that keeps HiPos extremely motivated. While 67% talk about empowerment to do new work and 75% say, focus on variety and flexibility keeps them motivated. Some other options are organizations should provide catalytic learning opportunities, give career path transparency and accelerated growth and importantly show them the positive impact they are creating in the society through their work.
In conclusion, organizations have recognized that digital is going to be a big disruptor and they look at the impact from a different lens, like that of the customer behavior or speed of innovation. The problem lies in the fact that only 1 out of 10 organizations believe they are ahead of the curve concerning leveraging digital for breakthrough innovations. The majority embrace technology either in response to an immediate business need or in response to events in the industry.
Regarding HiPos, the readiness of a majority of high potentials to lead in the digital age is suspected. They will need focused development inputs to be fully equipped to deliver on high expectations. To create a better environment, organizations need to create shadow boards of HiPos. HiPos are not required to adopt the technology but rather be capable enough to take a call on what kind and when a new technology is needed.