Tag Archive: High Potential Development

  1. How Can Talent Assessments Connect People to their Passions (And Help Your Company in the Process)

    With so much technology on the market and so many exciting avenues to pursue, HR is in a position to impact the business like never before. The challenge is not, what can we do, but rather, how much can we do to drive the business forward? This will depend on alignment with business strategy and smart HR tech investments.

    Organizations are taking a new approach to measuring things like quality of hire and employee engagement. New technology makes it possible for companies to track where employees are spending time, how they’re performing job tasks, and what their potential for success is – today and in the future.

    Some of the most exciting trends in HR tech are in the vein of discovering hidden talent, connecting people with their passions, and hiring not just to fill a role, but to set someone on a trajectory for lifelong success.

    Thanks to rapid innovation in the market, we’re seeing an explosion of new releases and platforms that are helping to turn these trends into tangibles. Even assessment software, which hasn’t traditionally been the flashiest piece of technology on the market, is becoming a game-changer for HR and employees everywhere.

    Here are 3 ways talent assessments will make your initiatives – and your employees – more successful:

    Find every person’s best fit

    Often, talent assessments are used in hiring as a way to measure fit to the job or fit to the company (or both!). By assessing hard skills, soft skills, or cognitive abilities, hiring teams are armed with insight on a candidate’s potential for success.

    Recruiters and managers can also start to see how a potential hire might fit on the team, as well as skills gaps they might be able to fill by adding this candidate versus another.

    If you’re hiring for a sales position, for example, an assessment will tell you how a candidate ranks on must-have soft skills like work intensity and follow through. An assessment might also tell you how strong he or she is in sales knowledge, such as prospecting and overcoming objections.

    Ideally, the assessment would then roll up the results into one overall score, with the ability to drill down into each different skill set.

    But say a candidate isn’t a great fit for the job they applied to. In a tight talent market, employers can’t afford to throw out applications. Rather than simply tagging someone as a poor fit, new assessment software allows recruiters to match candidates to other open positions in their company.

    This way, recruiters can make use of every candidate in their applicant pool, fill more jobs, and help more people improve their livelihood. It’s a win-win all around.

    Discover pathways to future roles

    Once you’ve got the right people in the right roles, you can sit back and relax. Just kidding! As good practitioners know, hiring is just the beginning of an employee’s *hopefully long and productive* journey with your company.

    This is where the pre-hire assessment comes back into play. One assessment can help guide the next several years of an employee’s journey. That’s why many employers see it as “the data that keeps on giving” – it continues providing value long after the hiring decision has been made.

    First, assessment results can be used as onboarding guides, helping new hires get up to speed quickly based on their strengths and opportunities in the role. Then, after ramp up, assessments can help employees and their managers see what’s next.

    Say your sales hire is killing it – hitting quota every quarter and helping the entire team succeed. She’s raised her hand for a sales manager position, and looking at performance, she’s the most deserving of the promotion.

    But, leading a sales team requires a very different skill set than what’s she’s using today. Your top salesperson is about to move into untested waters, and if she fails, you could lose her for good. Using an assessment, you can see her potential for success in a management role, along with development suggestions to make the transition easier.

    Together, the salesperson, her manager, and others from L&D can identify an employee’s ideal career path and steps to get there. The assessment creates the perfect scenario where promotions are based on skills, not just performance, and every employee has the opportunity to grow.

    Illuminate hidden skills and strengths

    Similar to promotions, decisions about who is considered a ‘high potential’ are often subjective. In many cases, putting someone’s name in the hat for a hi-po program depends on how important development is to a given manager.

    In a system like this, great people get overlooked. And isn’t HR’s goal to engage and retain as many employees as possible, not just a select few?

    Assessments can improve how you select people for hi-po programs, and thanks to tailored development plans that now come with assessment results, you can drastically scale participation in hi-po programs.

    Equally important, assessments can help re-define what you mean by ‘high potential.’ Does high potential mean potential for leadership in your company? If so, what are the mission-critical skills and competencies your leadership teams have today, and what will they need in the future?

    Assessments give you instant insight into the skills and competencies that matter most in your business, ensuring that no one is overlooked. You may find more than one diamond in the rough. Perhaps a quiet contributor today becomes a pivotal future leader.

    So, rather than let an employee’s potential wither away – or worse! – lose them to a competitor, you can use assessments to discover hidden talent and tips the odds in your favor.


  2. Managing High Potential Employees: 9 Derailers to Watch For

    High-potential employees are your company’s future. In today’s tight labor market, you can’t afford to lose a single one of them.

    But here’s the challenge: High potential employees are more likely to leave than average employees. In fact, high potentials typically only stay with a company for about two years.

    If you can improve your ability to retain and manage high potentials, you’ll benefit from solid business growth and strong performance in the market. If you can’t, then all your energy (and dollars) will be spent replacing good employees.

    Being a high potential employee doesn’t mean there’s an easy road ahead. They will face many challenges as they grow in their careers. To better manage your high potential employees and help accelerate their development, watch for these potential derailers:

    1. Appears stressed, overworked, or beginning to burnout.

    2. Resisting change. If the person has been successful a certain way, change may look like a platform for failure.

    3. Blaming others for their mistakes or failures. They don’t want to look bad because they know other people’s expectations of them are high.

    4. Taking on all the work themselves because that’s what’s made them successful so far. They’re used to being independent and taking the initiative.

    5. Lacks trust in his or her team. They’ve been recognized for their work and dedication, and they don’t want to let that go.

    6. Spends most of their time completing tasks versus thinking strategically about ways to improve the business.

    7. Lacks important knowledge about other functional areas and/or the long-term goals of the organization.

    8. Doesn’t seek out opportunities to connect with others, or is unable to effectively engage and influence their superiors.

    9. Lacks visibility across the organization.

    The people closest to your high potentials and most likely to spot these derailers are your organization’s managers. How confident are they that they can mitigate these derailing behaviors? According to a recent poll, only 6 % said ‘extremely confident.’

    Managers have a huge influence on the career trajectory of your high potential employees. For insight on how to equip them to be better coaches, as well as strategies for retaining high potential employees, watch out webinar on-demand: How to Get the Most Out of Your High Potentials


  3. Leadership Development Programs

    Strategies for Smarter Investments in Leadership Development

    U.S. companies spend nearly $14 billion annually in leadership development. However, only 6% of leaders say they’re confident that their leadership pipeline is ‘very ready.’

    Why are leadership development programs not producing well-equipped leaders? This was the topic of a recent webinar featuring Martin Lanik, author of the business bestseller, The Leader Habit, and Sarah Glass, I/O and leadership development expert. After the presentation, Martin and Sarah answered audience questions on leadership development strategies, leveraging data for leadership development, and more. Learn more with Martin Lanik and Sarah Glass’ Q&A.


    1. What’s your recommendation on where to target leadership development? In the high potential population, or across all leaders?

    Martin: I recommend thinking of leadership development as a funnel. First, you want to assess everybody to get a basic understanding of what you’re working with, and establish a baseline. From there, you start prioritizing. Maybe there are some business needs that are more critical than others, and based on that, you identify in which areas (and in which people) you invest the most money.

    For example, you can use a leadership assessment across your leadership population, then use a leadership simulation to on a select group, and reserve your high-touch development strategies, such as executive coaching, for those employees who are most ready to take on critical leadership positions in your organization. The diagnostic piece is really key here. Without any assessment or analytics, you’re going in blind.

    2. In leadership development programs, what data is typically shared with the organization versus the individual?

    Sarah: Most of the organizations that we work with are leaning toward transparency. The idea is to share as much data as possible with the individual so that that person has an opportunity to understand their own baseline. Data that you share can help generate self-awareness, which is such a critical factor in a person’s development journey. There has to motivation and intent behind development, and the realization that it’s going to lead to a better result. Otherwise, you’re not going to see significant change.

    This doesn’t necessarily apply to something like a bench strength analysis, or anything with data in the aggregate that you’re using to make organizational decisions, but having data that’s visible at the individual level is definitely important.

    3. How much additional data do you get from a leadership simulation?

    Martin: The benefit of doing a simulation, compared to other types of assessments, is that you see the person in action. Rather than predicting, you’re actually witnessing their behavior. This is especially important when you think about a person’s readiness to move into a next-level position. The simulation allows you to place an engineer or a sales person, for example, into a management position—in a safe environment—and see how they tackle leadership challenges. This is as close as you can get to crystal ball—seeing how successful someone can be and how ready they are.

    To learn more about leadership development programs, and your organization’s role in helping leaders form positive leadership habits, watch Martin and Sarah’s webinar on-demand: Transforming Leadership Development From a Program to a Daily Practice

  4. Top 5 Emerging Priorities for HR Leaders

    A recent people management survey asked over 600 HR executives, “What are your top people management initiatives for 2018?” The answer revealed common themes, as well as emerging trends in HR.

    The 2018 survey, which was also conducted in 2017 and 2016, added a third year of consecutive data to the study. In 2018, employee engagement took the top spot as priority #1 for companies of all sizes (over 1,000 employees and under 1,000 employees). Company culture came in second for companies over 1,000 employees, and third for companies under 1,000 employees.

    These results are consistent with the culture and engagement initiatives we’re currently seeing across HR. Both company culture and employee engagement made it in the top three people management initiatives in the survey for three years running – which isn’t a huge surprise. What’s interesting, though, is the emerging priorities we’re beginning to see for the future, such as:

    1. Recruiting and Talent Acquisition: How to source and select talent in a cost efficient and effective manner.

    2. Change Management: How to manage HR priorities through mergers and acquisitions and/or strategic change.

    3. Inclusion and Diversity: How to recruit, develop, and retain a diverse workforce. One survey respondent said,

    Everyone in our industry is talking about diversity, but the numbers aren’t moving. We’re going back to the drawing board to change this, ” said one HR leader.

    4. Remote Workforces: How to manage workforces that are increasingly full- or part-time remote. Another survey respondent said,

    80% of our workforce work remotely or from small satellite offices. We’re struggling to maintain consistency in our strategy and culture,” said another HR leader.

    5. Retention of High Potential Employees: How to retain and develop high potential and high-performing employees.

    Do these HR priorities align with yours? Get ready to pay close attention to these areas in the near future. For a full recap of the results from the 2018 People Management Survey, watch our webinar on-demand.

    Top 5 Emerging Priorities for HR

  5. 3 Types of Employee Turnover – Which One Matters Most?

    If the constant battle to reduce employee turnover makes your head hurt, you’re not alone. Business leaders are looking to HR to deliver big results, but sweeping statements from the boardroom, like “REDUCE TURNOVER OR ELSE,” leave your team with an enormous task ahead of them.

    The first thing to understand is that not all turnover is bad. By focusing on one facet of turnover, rather than all turnover, you can have a much greater impact on your organization’s turnover rate—and more importantly—on the quality of your workforce.

    3 Types of Turnover

    • Desirable: When you lose a bottom performer, or even a toxic employee.
    • Okay: When you lose an employee in an easy-to-fill job, a short-term contract job, or a job with a short learning curve.
    • Regrettable: When you lose a top performer or a high-potential employee, especially to a competitor.

    How to Stop Regrettable Turnover

    Most regrettable turnover can be traced back to poor job fit and poor culture fit. Fortunately, job fit and culture fit are HR’s wheel house, and there are several things you can do to improve the way you match people to jobs.

    • Define what it means to be successful in your company. What do top performers have in common? Which aspects of your culture are essential for success? Look for these qualities in new hires to ensure a strong fit.
    • Encourage strong employee/manager relationships. A top reason people leave a job is because of poor managerial relationships. When you have the right managers in place, and use analytics to improve team dynamics, you’ll see less turnover across your workforce.
    • Ease the transition from one job to the next. Job transitions are danger zones. Make sure your employees are equipped with the skills and competencies they need before moving into their new role.
    • Foster employee growth and development. Top performers are most at risk of turning over when there’s a lack of development opportunities. And this is a widespread problem—according to an engagement survey, only 25% of workers feel they have ample opportunities for career growth.
    • Be transparent about employee development. Oftentimes, companies keep their list of high-potential employees confidential. But if you never tell a high potential they’ve been identified, how will they know what to focus on? Communicating your development plans shows that you’re invested in employee growth, and that you have long-term plans for keeping people challenged and engaged.

    So while there are several types of turnover, regrettable turnover is the one you should be focused on. This is where you’ll have the most impact. To learn more about measuring turnover and building an strategy to reduce turnover, watch our webinar: Why Turnover is the Most Misunderstood Metric in HR.

  6. Stop Promoting the Wrong People

    What’s the difference between a successful promotion and a failure?

    To answer that question, you have to take a hard look at your high-potential development program.

    Even if you have a good way of identifying high potentials in your organization—using objective metrics, not manager recommendations, because research shows that managers get it wrong 60% of the time—you still may be missing a key piece of the puzzle.

    Just because an employee has potential for success in leadership doesn’t mean they’re ready to step into a leadership role right now.

    Usually, people are called high potential when they perform well in their current role. They bring in top sales. They receive high customer satisfaction scores. They’re enthusiastic about growth opportunities, and they impress their superiors with a “go get ‘em” attitude. But at the next level up, roughly 40% of these star performers will fail. Why? Because they’re not ready.

    How do you know who’s ready and who’s not?

    Looking at current performance is certainly an important factor. No one would suggest that you promote a low performer over a high performer. But what you need is more insight—a sneak peak of future performance before making the final promotion decision.

    The best way to do this is with leadership simulation, which puts employees in real-life scenarios similar to what they would face in the new job. By role-playing challenges they would likely encounter at the next level up, employees are able to demonstrate their readiness for a more demanding role.

    Not only do leadership simulations show you how employees work through scenarios in real time, they also measure three key drivers of success:

    • Leadership skills
    • Personality fit
    • Learning agility

    It’s important to remember that leadership is a series of a transitions, and being successful at one level doesn’t guarantee success at the next level up. Positions at the executive level, for example, will require different skills and personality strengths than positions at the mid-manager level.

    That’s where leadership simulation can continue to provide value as a selection and development tool all the way up the ladder. Having future-oriented metrics on leadership potential and readiness will help you break the cycle of bad promotion decisions and put you track to better succession planning.

    Learn more

    Check out this webcast on succession planning to see how you can layer data-driven strategies—including live virtual simulations—to predict future performance and fuel your strongest leadership pipeline yet.