What is high-potential, and how do you identify it?

Fernando Judzon
Posted by Fernando Judzon on Dec 15, 2021 10:30:00 AM

We hear it everywhere: how to foster talent, how to identify your high-potential employees, and more. But have you ever thought about the definition of “potential”? Many companies create programs, plans, and strategies to identify their “high-potential employees”, but once you ask them what potential is, the answers are quite vague. So, based on our experience, here are a few suggestions to help you narrow down the search and be more effective.



- It is difficult to spot something in your staff if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for.
Start by asking yourself: “what do I mean when I talk about talent? What am I expecting from employees labeled as «high-potential»?” You should create a clear plan and definition of what your requirements are. Try to write down a list of skills, abilities, and traits, but also be willing to adapt those needs to every particular case and position in the company. You could also include evidence-based data, such as professional research and studies to make it more objective.

- Make sure recruiting is trained to identify what you consider “high-potential”
Once you define what you are looking for and what your strategies for identifying potential are, you must make sure that all your recruiting and HR staff are aligned with that vision. You should also train team members and anyone in a managerial position to have an “eagle eye”, constantly on the lookout to spot those team members who really stand out and have the potential for more.

- Create programs to ensure talented staff actually reach their best potential
Some people will feel comfortable working on the same project for a long time, while others are constantly seeking new challenges. Try to encourage your staff to find new projects that appeal to their skills and interests. In this search, the company’s role is crucial, having eyes and ears to discover what team members are looking for and guiding them throughout the process, from identifying what they like, to adapting to a new role that can be more challenging at first. Encouragement and active help are some of the most important things you can do with your staff.

Most companies talk about potential, but very few actually know what they are looking for and how to find it. Being able to set clear targets can be the key to actually retaining your best talents and giving them the right place to grow. People need to feel valued, looked after, and also feel like they have a say in what is happening with their career progress. It is every company’s responsibility to take the search for potential seriously, involving all the actors during the process.

Topics: Talent

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