High-potential employees, or HiPos, as they are more commonly referred to are the trickiest segment in the organization to identify, manage and reward. With research showing that HiPos could add up to 3.5 times of their total compensation, organizations are investing more in HiPo development programs, and more than any other talent development program or initiative in the organization.
So who are high-potentials and how do you identify them
The first step towards identifying high-potentials is creating a benchmark. For creating that benchmark, the employee assessment metrics must align with the business metrics and organizational goals. And though most organizations have very different methodologies for identifying the HiPos, one of the most effective is using the Performance Appraisal system as the first cut. For that matter, an effective HiPo development program must also integrate within it a ‘Performance Appraisal’ system which complements it. As has been discussed, performance appraisal needs to shift from grading and rating employees against one another, to a system that is personalized to the employee. And with digitization, the performance appraisals are fast shifting to a year-round process. With this shift, organizations have more opportunity in terms of designing the journey of a high-potential employee.
Using design thinking to create HiPo experience journey within organization
Design thinking is a system wherein a solution is designed keeping the employee at the center of the organization. With different generations today working under a single roof, design thinking could help further to develop personalized high-potential journey. The first step here is to map the existing journey of the employee in concern. The next step would be to identify the touchpoints wherein the employee engages with the organization. Then, when all the touchpoints are mapped, the next step is to identify the areas where the experience is less than satisfactory for the employee. Those are the areas where the organization could intervene.
One of the biggest challenge that organizations today face is mapping the aspirations of the high-potential. An integrated approach to solving this issue comes from discussions and feedback with the employee and digitizing the year around appraisal system within the organization. The other major aspect of the HiPo journey design is providing opportunities to the employees, especially which involve work in cross-functional teams and job rotation.
Use of data and analytics to make the journey more meaningful
With the plethora of technology tools available to organizations today, generating employee data and then using it to further generate meaningful insights could actually help in designing the journey of the HiPo. While most organizations do not make the HiPo list public, the fact that data and analytics can be used in designing their journey will ensure that the process is completely transparent for all the people involved in the HiPo program, and also for the senior most leaders in the organization.
The data will give insights of not just their performance but also help get insight with regards to how are they feeling while working in the organization. If you have an integrated system then you can also generate data about their L&D requirements which will also give you an indication with regards to their results. A challenge that most organizations today face is that despite investing in HiPos, the HiPo many times feel dissatisfied with support and the direction that is being given to him. Now, if the organizations generate data and insights with regards to his interest then it is more likely that the investment will be in areas that are also seen as fruitful for the employees.
Constant engagement and leadership priority
Further, a year-round engagement system is necessary to ensure that the employees remain engaged with the leadership in the organization. One of way is to obviously ensure that the channels of communication and feedback are open throughout the year. Secondly, a way that senior leadership can ensure that HiPos understand their importance in the organization, is by talking to them frequently and getting their feedback on the areas which require change. For some, this is part of reward in itself, while for many other organizations it is an opportunity for them to help understand what would be considered a reward by the HiPo.
Integration of the HiPo journey design with R&R strategy
After the organization has mapped out the HiPo journey using the principles of design thinking. It is important that they further integrate the organizational R&R strategy with the technology which helps them map that journey. Herein, you will find through gamification of the portal which the employees use as a touchpoint with the organization, the data points with regards to the rewards points and how does the HiPo plan on utilizing them. The other point is about defining the compensation and pay strategy in your organization. Though there is a lot of debate with regards to pay parity, but the organization as a unit can decide if they would want to reward the HiPos within the team in terms of compensation. Another way to reward the HiPos would be to ensure that they are engaged in the work that they have and challenging them, by putting them to work on interesting and challenging projects. This could be something which would be specific to the HiPos.
(With the appraisal season not too far, People Matters brings to you a series of articles to help you gear up for the season. Be prepared, '#MarchIsComing'.)