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How to Keep High-Potential Employees
While perks and trinkets are nice, they won’t keep the best people from jumping ship when the economy fully improves.
Some employees are better than others. They consistently and significantly outperform their peer groups in a variety of settings and circumstances, exhibiting behaviors that reflect their companies’ values and illustrate a capacity to grow. These high potentials are the top 3 to 5 percent of a company’s talent, according to the Harvard Business Review, and some argue they require special treatment.
While devoting a disproportionate amount of resources to the selected few might cause learning leaders to overlook the potential contributions of the many and dampen the motivation of those classified as mediocre, companies that are not paying attention to or challenging their stars are at risk of losing them.
“When we seek to develop high potentials, we undershoot,” said Gregg Thompson, president of Bluepoint Leadership Development. “We create leadership development programs for high potentials and don’t stretch them. These programs should be very, very difficult. They should have incredible rigor and target where employees want to go rather than focusing on where they are today. If you stretch people, they know there’s something special about them, even if they fail in the process.”
According to “Identifying and Developing High-Potential Talent,” a 2011 study by AMA Enterprise, a division of the American Management Association, one in four employers is seen as ineffective in retaining high-potential workers. Slightly more than half of survey respondents reported their organizations are somewhat effective in their ability to retain high-potential employees. Identifying and developing future leaders is an imperative business function, but most companies don’t have formal high-potential programs geared toward identifying and developing their strongest employees.
“The capacity to learn is the distinguishing feature of successful leaders these days,” Thompson said. “Leaders [who] are succeeding today are not the ones [who] know the most, they’re the ones that learn the fastest and have an urge to be developed. Organizations who don’t focus on bringing their employees up are going to lose a valuable asset.”
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
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