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Strategies for Developing High-Potential Employees

Posted on September 28, 2022
high potential employees

In a workplace setting, “high-potential” describes employees who manifest an ability to grow and advance to a position of leadership. However, many businesses struggle to find and retain potential leaders who can propel their company forward. That’s why, when companies find high-potential employees, they should do everything they can to keep these people engaged and satisfied with their job and the organization.

The last thing employers want is to lose their best employees because those employees feel less empowered or disregarded. So, how can companies ensure that high-potential employees feel fulfilled within their organization?

Read on to learn how companies can retain high-potential employees and develop their skills further.

How to Develop High-Potential Employees

Human resources and development teams are accountable for two main things: the organization’s overall success and employees’ professional growth. So, how can HR and development professionals help teams maximize the abilities of high-potential employees while ensuring their actions benefit the company?

Here are five strategies for developing high-potential employees:

1) Identify High-Potential Employees

When recruiting new employees, it is ideal for HR teams to identify whether a candidate’s goals align with the organization’s vision and culture. Having a common path helps accelerate both the employee’s and the company’s progress. If this common vision is not present from the onset, these employees may later on realize their objective is not in line with the organization’s and decide to leave, taking their acquired skills and knowledge with them.

Similarly, among pools of employees, it is vital for team leaders to recognize employees who exceed their objectives and key performance metrics. This identification process helps an organization spot potential future leaders.

Once high-potential employees have been identified, an organization can provide them with development opportunities to ensure that it has a pipeline of future leaders.

2) Assess Strengths and Weaknesses

Every team member, including the best employees, possesses strengths and weaknesses. To develop high-potential employees effectively, it’s useful to conduct a formal assessment to identify employees’ strengths and weaknesses. In doing so, leaders can put together development plans that help these individuals reach their full potential and contribute to the company in a meaningful way.

Assessments can be in the form of personality and/or skills tests that help leaders determine the strengths and weaknesses of high-potential employees through standardized metrics. Carrying out formal evaluations entails minimizing the biases of other approaches, such as interviews or personal impressions.

Internal company assessments also provide tangible, measurable statistics that can track employees’ progress over time.

3) Practice Employee Recognition

Making high-potential employees feel they are valued in the organization can be one of the most powerful sources of motivation. That’s why recognition should be given frequently and consistently. When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to be productive and engaged in their work. They are also more likely to stay with the company long term.

While most people associate incentives and recognition with cash bonuses or lavish awards ceremonies, employee appreciation does not have to be costly or flashy. Employee recognition can be as simple as a sincere compliment from team leaders or executives.

Employee appreciation can also be a basis for fostering an organizational culture of self-improvement. This is why organizations with strong employee recognition programs usually outperform their competitors.

4) Provide Coaching Programs

Coaching is a highly personalized and specialized solution that aims to provide opportunities for growth in the workplace.

First and foremost, coaching is intended to improve employees’ well-being. It can give employees the motivation and direction they need to get back on track when they feel stuck in a rut. It can also help them develop new skills and ways of thinking that can be applied to their job. This is because a coach can use their expertise to help an individual develop new insights, perspectives, and a growth mentality not previously perceived by an employee.

Coaching can also help in assessing and developing high potentials, in turn helping to create a more positive work environment. In effect, coaching can lead to high-potential employees feeling engaged, supported, and like they belong.

This positive mindset is then reflected in improvements in productivity and performance. Commitment to work and team collaboration also often improves when employees discover purpose in their work.

5) Offer Useful and Valuable Feedback

It is essential to provide employees with feedback on their performance. Feedback can help individuals understand what they’re doing well and where they need to improve.

However, feedback should not be offered simply for the sake of giving it; it should be valuable and actionable.

When delivering feedback, leaders should highlight specific areas where employees shine as well as areas that need attention. Feedback should also include specific suggestions on how employees can improve.

During any type of feedback sessions, it’s valuable for leaders to encourage two-way dialogue, so they can develop a better understanding of these high-potential employees and their struggles, in order to further nurture their career development.

These actions show employees that their employer is interested in their development. Regular feedback can boost morale and motivation, leading to improved productivity.

Nurturing High-Potential Employees Through Coaching

Employees with high potential have the capacity, ability, and desire to succeed in leadership positions. And this can be further honed through coaching programs.

For example, pairing up high-potential employees with a coach who embraces the Co-Active model will help them grow and attain their full potential while also building essential leadership characteristics.

Investing in high-potential employees is crucial, but it is also essential to recognize that leadership traits grow with time through practice and experience. By investing in the development of employees, you can build a future workforce with the knowledge, skills, and passion to move your organization forward.

How do you develop your high-potential employees? Please share your thoughts in the comments area below!

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