Organizations are increasingly realizing that in today’s dynamic environment it is difficult to ascertain growth drivers. Hence, the dependence on talented individuals who can foresee opportunities and lead the businesses in the right direction has become very high.
As a result, a lot of companies are placing disproportionate attention on developing those employees who they think will lead into the future. Trends related to talent shortages, economic slowdown etc create an ever changing environment which translate into continually evolving criteria for adjudging employee potential.
It is not uncommon to have a very different set of individuals becoming a part of a company’s talent pool every year as the list gets refreshed due to change in evaluation criteria. Most employees wonder - How do I get and stay on my company’s high-potential list?
While companies struggle to deliver the best for their identified talent; onus is also on the identified high performers to perform better and better as the bar for expectations has been set high. Law of diminishing returns applies here too making it increasingly challenging to make it to the top. While the number of coveted positions remains almost constant the efforts aspirants need to put in increase dramatically, not to mention the internal rivalry and competition.
HiPos in spotlight
Early in one’s career, getting noticed is all about mastering the technical expertise that the job requires. But as one grows, one needs to broaden that expertise. Competence is the threshold for high performance but credibility needs to be proven. Those vying for the coveted high-potential labels must demonstrate a shift from being at-level performers to exemplars.
High potentials can get off-track for a number of reasons. Some of the reasons for losing the high-potential status are under par performance in the new role, behavior unacceptable as per the company’s code of conduct, and a significant visible failure. Sometimes it’s acting impulsively to accept seemingly great opportunities which may have no long-term career payoff. But an awareness of where one is falling short is the first step in the journey to change. Some people are naturally more aware of their environment than others, but others can improve upon this by invest time in oneself and introspection.
It does feel great to be recognized for one’s work but the high-potential status comes at a price. HiPos are envied as well as admired, both of which can be sources of stress. A true HiPo understands this and strives to reduce stress and animosity with peers.
Bringing in a mindset change
Most of us are proponents of transparency and there are a lot of advantages associated with making the HiPos aware of who is on the high-potential list for succession planning and leadership development.
Every high-potential strives to climb the corporate ladder quickly and is eager to become a leader. But they require advocates, in their leaders, who can guide them in the right direction and help them overcome the challenges.
HiPos these days don’t enjoy the luxury of remaining HiPos without putting in a lot of efforts. While the needs of companies and accordingly criteria for HiPo determination keep continually evolving; a keen eye for estimating business needs, developing a quick grasp on new things and ability to involve and influence stakeholders are some of the qualities which will always keep HiPos in good stead. And talent managers have a key role in ensuring that a conducive environment is built in the organizations.
There is no cookie-cutter method for creating a successful program. But credit goes to those companies who experiment with new approaches because they are not just fronting the global war for talent but also setting examples along the way.
Disclaimer: This is a contributed post. The statements, opinions and data contained are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of People Matters and the editor(s)