Don’t Try and Hide It

This entire series is based upon a very touchy subject – identifying and retaining your high potential employees.  We all know that this is a vital part of our personnel strategy, and makes the most financial sense.  But actually identifying those high potentials and how to communicate their value can be disconcerting.

In our last blog we talked about how to identify your high potentials, but the question of who identifies those high potentials is very important.  Fernandez-Araoz, Groysberg, and Nohria found that most people greatly overestimate their ability to discern employee quality.  If you consider your staff, I’ll bet you can agree that most managers are dreadful about predicting an employee’s future success.  This is largely when those predictions are based on intuition alone.  Accurate assessment is fortunately a learned skill.  The right person can use the right prediction model and can assess an employee’s future promotions with 85% accuracy.  Models will vary according to your specific needs and organizational goals.

As you go through this process, transparency is key – a study conducted by Anthony J. Fresina and Associates featuring 225 corporations across 10 industries found that 78% of those companies did not inform high potential employees of their status but that 90% of them figured it out.  More important, informing those employees of their status increased productivity and retention.  Conversely, you must prepare those employees not on the fast track for that disappointment.  Both groups of employees should be notified privately.  Again, if you have an assessment driven qualitative criteria to point to, it makes both discussions less complicated.

In our next blog we will look at constructing a development program for those high-potentials.



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