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Valuing Your high potential
December 18th, 2013

 There are employees who do their jobs. Then there are employees who do their job well and have the ability to develop into leaders and exude remarkable capabilities. A research by HBR shows that high potentials represent the top 3 to 5% of a firm's talent. They are considered to be intelligent, ambitious, talented and highly motivated. Not only do they work within their job requirements but also stretch to go beyond. Not everyone is worthy of being a leader though. When training new managers and leaders, it is important to identify the right employees as high potentials. Upon identification, the firm must ensure to provide them with the necessary tools they require for their on- job needs.

This should be done. However, this is not being done, effectively.

According to a study, about 25% employers are seen as ineffective in their ability to retain high potential employees. Only a little more than half opined their organizations were somewhat able to retain high potential employees. With such instability in the economy, one should be aware of the fact that competitor companies are luring high potentials with attractive job roles and hefty pay packages.

This is unsettling. The need of the hour is to find remedial ways to retain these valued employees.

Many firms and/or managers within those companies disregard training and development as hindrances for work and barriers to being productive. The parochial perspective of viewing employees as resources and utilizing them for the work at hand is still widely practiced. They are being thought of as easily replaceable and available in plentiful - easy come, easy go. Now, think of a skilled employee at your firm and think of the difficulty in replacing that valued employee. The time, effort and resources needed to train a replacement should be contemplated in this context. And suddenly, finding a replacement doesn't sound like a good idea after all. Moreover, in all this fiasco if you are losing a high performer to your competitor then it definitely magnifies your overall loss.

This necessitates the need for high potential employee retention through proper talent management practices in place. If the firm does not provide those ever ready and self-actualized high potentials with challenging assignments, growth opportunities (wages, promotions and responsibilities) and letting them play an active part in their ongoing development then all it is busy doing is providing a talent pipeline for its competitors.

Some of the talent development tips specifically for high potentials:
• Conduct frequent meets with the high potentials. Keep a track of their progress, obstacles and career advancement needs. Be solution oriented and provide the best environment for them.
• Encourage the high potentials to participate in the training and development activities that already take place in the firm and also arrange for them active coaching and mentoring sessions with the leaders of the firm.
• Empower high potentials to contribute to the organization by providing demanding assignments, constructive feedback and involving them in work with tangible results for the firm.

It is highly imperative for us to engage ourselves in high potential employee identification and provision of tools they need to succeed. Although it involves investment of significant time and effort on our part and distraction from the work we are assigned, the result is well worth the exertion. Our firms will be better off, the sooner we realize this and put actionable endeavors towards retaining high potential employees.