Identify and develop high potential employees

Definition of high potential employee

You are asked to choose somebody from your direct reports who has high potential. Your first question might be - "potential to what?" Should it be career progression? Or professional growth? Development of soft skills? And if choose somebody from your direct reports, would your boss approve it?

Formal recognition of high potential employees can significantly impact their performance and motivation (and sometimes impact motivation and performance of other employees). So it is really important to have a working definition on what is a high potential employee, what methodology is used in identifying and what's the purpose of this exercise.

Our system helps to identify employees who can be successful as future leaders and highly likely would be able to meet new types of challenges.

1% of employees that bring 10% of all results

Any company requires a certain level of performance from their employees and many companies use KPIs for performance management. Companies need to identify high performers and make them feel welcome in the company - research shows that 1% of the best employees deliver 10% of all performance.

However, high performance today doesn't mean high performance tomorrow. New business environment dictates the need for agile and versatile professionals who can adapt quickly and switch between areas of expertise, rather than demand for highly specialised professionals.

Our ratings based on learning agility help to identify employees with cognitive flexibility.

High potentials are usually high performers, the opposite is not always true. So when the organisation only invests in high performers it misses the opportunity to find future leaders who can be excellent in non-standard, future situations. It is better to use the rating based on the learning agility together with data based on performance.

10% of employees who can be good managers

The second task our learning agility rating can help you to solve is to identify employees who would effective as managers. Here the implementation is based on the theory of Elliott Jaques, one of the most original business thinkers of modern era. According to Elliot Jaques, in evaluating future managers it is better to use mental processing capability as predictor of future performance, not IQ, knowledge and experience.

The longer the planning horizon, the more complex the environment to analyse for making decisions, the more complex thinking is required. This is what differentiates a good manager form individual contributors.

Each employees has the level of complexity they feel comfortable to deal with without instruction. It correlates with learning agility. We will discuss it in detail in the next article.

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