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Developing High-Potential Employees

Whatever your industry is – it's likely you're constantly growing and expanding. With the increased need for computer skills, industry-specific knowledge, and best business practices, it's important for your employees to stay at the top of their game. Stagnancy isn't valued in the workplace, and employers are on the lookout for employees that have an extra set of skills – also known as high-potential employees. If such employees aren't recognized and cultivated, they're more likely to leave the company without notice, also known as ghosting– and that's the last thing any employer wants to see!

What are high-potential employees? 

High-potential employees (HIPO) are often employees who have extra skillsets that set them apart from their coworkers. They often show a high level of leadership and are excellent at working autonomously. HIPO employees vary in age, but they can be considered high-potential none-the-less. The crucial part of having HIPO employees is evaluating them to learn what areas they could improve in so they will make for a more well-rounded employee, and maybe a potential manager.

It's much like a classroom – some kids struggle with certain subjects while others may excel in the same subject. If they're all placed in one classroom together, the excelling students often get bored and antsy if they aren't being challenged or channeling their talents in healthy or useful ways. The workplace can be very similar to the classroom – employees that are high-potential but aren't treated as such may get bored, feel underappreciated, and consequently be on the lookout for a new job.

Take Action

If you have identified a few high-potential employees, be sure to take action and let them know you notice their hard work and talents. You must be careful as you don't want other employees to feel less appreciated. However, making sure high-potential employees feel seen is crucial to gaining their trust. It's important to ask if there are any ways you can help them reach their goals whether it be certifications, desired extra responsibilities, or pushing them to the next level. High-potential employees are naturally motivated and want to learn more – so giving them these opportunities will increase the chance of them feeling challenged and appreciated.

As you work on providing opportunities for HIPO employees to shine, be sure to take notice of personal traits or habits that could hinder them professionally. If you can identify their weak areas, you can help them develop those skills more thoroughly, thus making them a stronger candidate for future promotions.

Plan for the Future

You don't want to find yourself with managers leaving, retiring or being promoted before you have a replacement for them. There are always unforeseen changes, however, it's important to pay attention to the plans of your leadership team. If you know they're wanting to retire, or potentially start their own business, keep your eye out for HIPO employees and perhaps give them more responsibility that will prepare them for that specific position. It's often better to hire for leadership positions internally, so if you can adequately prepare – you're likely to have the position filled in no time while making your HIPO employee feel valued for their hard work and dedication.

Identifying the employees that need a good challenge to do their best work is an important part of helping your company expand. If you can get these kinds of employees, you're in good shape!

Stellaris is dedicated to partnering with businesses to provide organizational and HR consulting expertise and guidance. If this sounds like something you may be interested in, contact us!

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