High Potential Talent

Khushboo Kaushik is Content Manager at CareerBuilder India. Her expertise of writing can be uncovered in areas- Employer Branding, Recruitment Trends, Employee Engagement, Tech in HR. Also, a lover of poetry & art. Reach out to her at n.linkedin.com/in/khushboo-kaushik-4b525a102

HIPOS – the talent has created a buzz in the recruitment industry. With every next organisation introducing programs to identify and retain such kind of a talent, we thought of acquiring some knowledge about the topic from Oshana Dias- Vice President, Human Resources- Brandix.

Excerpts of the discussion with Oshana Dias- Vice President, HR- Brandix

“The key for us, number one, has always been hiring very smart people.”

– Bill GatesMicrosoft

The war for talent is upon us. There is constant demand for talented skilled individuals in the current marketplace, in fact there is a clear disparity between supply and demand. In this backdrop, it is imperative that companies focus on identifying, developing, retaining and rewarding their best people for the growth and success of their organization.

Who is a high-potential (HiPo)?

Different organizations will have varying definitions of high potential talent, but in broader terms HiPos are the rising stars set to take over future leadership roles in your organization.

As per the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), high potential employees possess three key characteristics: aspiration, ability, and engagement. A high potential individual will have the ability, aspiration and engagement to rise and be successful in senior critical positions.

High Potential Talent
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High potential talent versus High performance

Mistaking a high-performing employee for a high-potential employee can be costly. The term “high performer” is often used in conjunction with “high potential,” however the two are not the same. Research has shown that high potentials are almost always high performers, but the reverse is not always true. An individual’s current performance is not an assurance of the employee’s potential for advancement.

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High potential talent will demonstrate initial aptitude for their technical abilities and will have future potential to make a big impact while high performers stand out in the organization, they consistently exceed expectations, and they will have a track record of getting the job done no matter how difficult it is but may not have the potential (or the desire) to succeed in a higher-level role.

How do you identify the right candidates for your HiPo programme?

Identifying true high-potential is critical for any organization. Investing in the development of the wrong individual could mean the loss of resources, the employee and all the skills you’ve helped build.

The identification process needs to be complimented by a proper performance management tool. Performance management should not be a yearly process but be reviewed at least twice a year.  Different organizations adopt various approaches to conducting talent reviews, but most include a process for high-potential identification. High potentials are sometimes referred to as “top talent” or “top and critical talent”.

Tips on how to identify HiPos (or High Potential Talent):

1. Top vs Critical Talent: It is important to maintain a list of ‘top and critical’ talent and clearly differentiate between the two. It is essential to differentiate the two as it is easy to confuse the two genres. Someone who is critical may not be a HiPo; for example, an individual with expert skill that may be hard to find in the market and therefore is critical but might not necessarily be your next leader.

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2. The 9-box grid: The 9-box grid is another technique we employ to evaluate both an employee’s current contribution to the organization and his or her potential level of contribution to the organization.

3. 360 degree appraisals for HiPos: This is used as a development Tool to help employees recognize strengths and weaknesses and become more effective.  In 360 degree appraisals, the employee’s own self-assessment is compared against feedback from his or her colleagues: direct reports, peers, managers, customers or clients.

What are your plans for your HiPo employees’ future?

Identifying HiPo employees will increase your odds of creating new businesses; key is keeping them engaged so you can retain them. Poor management and lack of growth opportunities can deter HiPo employees.

Suggested Retention Tools

Once HiPos (High Potential talent) have been identified,  have a Career development plan for them. In this plan training needs should be clearly identified. These career development chats will bring out the career aspirations of the HiPo and it will help you to align them with the organisational plans/structure.

  • Ensure the training plan is monitored
  • A % of increment in additional to standard increment should be allocated for HiPos
  • Have a communication matrix in place so that there is regular communication with the HiPos
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Oshana Dias

About Oshana Dias – Vice President Human Resources – Brandix i3 (Sri Lanka)

The lady has evolved in several dimensions of Human Resource Management including Recruitment, Performance Management, Training and Development, Succession Planning, HR Systems, Resource Planning and Employee Engagement in the past decade.

Oshana is currently a HR Generalist who leads a Global HR team & has been responsible for handling the HR function in both the Apparel and IT industries in Sri Lanka. Her greatest success has been setting up the global HR Function for a fast growing global IT startup.

The best trait about Oshana Dias is her passion to bring out the best in people and make a great place to work.

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