Understanding the Value of High-Potential Employees

Posted by SRA Admin on Apr 6 2016


Ideally, you have many high performing employees in your business; they do their job well, and they know their responsibilities inside and out. But did you know that employees like this are not inherently high-potential? Those who work hard and perform well may not desire to be a leader in the company, or necessarily care that the company does well in the future.

While high-potential employees are always high performing, the same can not be said the other way around. High-Potential Employees (HiPOs) bring value to the company in many ways besides simply getting their job done. To identify who is an HiPO employee, look for the following three key characteristics and you will easily discover these individuals’ value to your organization.  


HiPOs aspire to rise to higher ranks in the company. Most employees want to advance in their career for a pay raise, but an HiPO seeks to have the power to shape the ways things operate. They desire autonomy and independence to complete tasks and execute their responsibilities. Furthermore, since they want a higher position, they understand far more than just their role. A high-potential employee knows the business as a whole, your competitors, and the bigger picture. This type of employee is essential to your business because every organization needs strong leaders and people in management roles that are interested in shaping the company’s future from a high-level perspective.


Now, beyond the aspiration to do more for the company is the HiPO’s ability to put her money where her mouth is. This type of employee has the skills and traits that align with your organization's mission, direction, and values in addition to the ability to be effective in leadership and managerial positions. For example, they can handle multitasking in a fast-paced environment, they know how to assess risks, and the can effectively make calculated decisions. You will see this person take initiative and, more importantly, responsibility. They’re proactive workers and rarely make the same mistake twice.


High-potential employees will have the ability to be a future leader at your company because they care about the business, not just about completing their job. Engagement in the business is critical for identifying an HiPO, or there becomes a risk that you may pour time and resources into an employee who may end up working for one of your competitors! HiPO employees who are engaged show interest and passion for the company. They know that their current place is the right organization for them to reach their career goals. You will notice that these people are team driven and active in company meetings. Engagement is the best indication as to whether an employee is going to stay with your organization.

Recognizing and nurturing high-potential employees will lead to a stronger business down the road. It may seem difficult to distinguish a high performing employee from one who is high-potential. Remember HiPo employees are always high-performing, show aspiration for leadership positions, have the ability to perform in those jobs, and are engaged in the company. By nurturing these employees, businesses can experience tremendous ROI and breathe easy knowing the future of their organization is in capable hands.

Topics: employees

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