How High-Potential Employees Become the Next Generation of Leaders

Posted by SRA Admin on Apr 21 2016


Human capital is a huge part of a growing organization’s success. Your employees are the blood that keeps your business going and provide the precious pool of future leaders. Every company needs people with the capabilities to be future leaders for organizational success. You already have a process in place to identify high-potential employees, but how do they become your next generation of leaders?

If you’re tasked with creating or updating your high-potential employee process, this blog will help you improve the system and nurture your employees to leader status. Turnover is an unavoidable part of every business, but to retain and cultivate future leaders, adopt these easy practices.

Formal Acknowledgment

Chances are you already have a process in place to identify high-potential employees, but does your assessment end in recognition? Do you formally set these people apart from others? Did you know that if you fail to recognize your best employees you are essentially opening the door for them to leave?

To avoid your best employees leaving, make sure your process is transparent and clear. High-potential employees deserve organization-wide recognition and a tangible career path. To make sure these employees do not feel like they’re being set up for failure, outline their next steps for training, development, and growth. Being upfront helps retain your high-potential employees. Studies show if employees are not recognized as high-potential they have a hard time seeing themselves as future leaders. Avoid any confusion and make sure you clearly acknowledge which employees are high-potential before you begin grooming them for a leadership role.

The Right Training and Opportunities

After you have recognized your high-potential employees appropriately, make sure they have access to the development they need. To be a future leader, they need to have training from their boss and opportunities to work on special projects to prepare them for that role. Don’t be afraid to invest more time and resources into these individuals.

Along with these unique training opportunities comes more responsibility. High-potential employees will crave the ability to make decisions, and if you see them being a future leader, they will need to be able to function in this role. With each step in their career path, high-potential employees need more job shadowing, projects related to their future role, and responsibility to make important decisions. Without coaching, increased communication, feedback, special developmental projects, and extra mentoring this high-potential employee will not be ready for a future leadership role.

The Autonomy to Continue the Talent Pipeline

Positive mentoring and job commitment are contagious. Employees identified as high-potential can become your next talent developers. In one survey, 86% of participants agree that they detect and develop other high-potential employees in their business.

By nurturing future leaders correctly, you’re guaranteeing your pipeline of talent keeps flowing. The effort you pour into high-potentials will overflow from them into other employees as they share their newfound expertise with co-workers. Don’t be surprised if with this increase in responsibility and experience you find these high-potential employees holding their co-workers and even their bosses accountable.


Having a diverse pool of high-potential employees is key for current and future success of your business. Don’t stumble where others have fallen, make sure during your process you are formally rewarding and recognizing your high-potential employees. If you fail at this simple task, your lack of transparency could increase the chances of your best people seeking other employment. The right incentives and training will ensure your high-potential employees become your future leaders and continue the talent cycle in your business.

Topics: employees

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