The Importance of Developing High Potentials

Why should you develop high potential employees? This seems like a ridiculous question.  Isn’t it obvious why you should develop your high potentials? Yet so many companies take their high potentials for granted.  It’s easy to do.  Think about these individuals in your organization.  They often outwork their peers, get along well with others and, usually, if they want or need to learn something, they’ll take it upon themselves to figure it out.  They ask the right questions, don’t create drama, and are all-in. Let’s call them our HPs.

While HP’s are bumping along getting work done.  Leaders are focused on problems and/or company growth.  What problems need to be solved and how do we create more growth and revenue?  The shining stars aren’t a problem at this very moment, so their development doesn’t even cross a leader’s radar.  And you may ask yourself,  “So, why spend time developing them?”.

But not developing your high potentials will create new problems down the road for your company.  We may not be doing any direct harm by not developing our high potentials, but we also aren’t creating any loyalty between our organization and those individuals.  When another company notices our HP employees, it only takes a light tap on the shoulder to entice them away.  They’ll leave for bigger and better opportunities.

Now your new problem is that you just lost that person who outworked their peers, got along well with others and had the drive to figure things out for themselves.  We all know how difficult it is to replace employees like that.

HP development and solving problems or creating more company growth don’t have to occur in a vacuum.  You can stimulate growth in your organization at the same time you are helping your employees grow and develop.  You can kill two birds with one stone.  As mentioned before, leaders tend to focus on problems.  Yet, you have untapped potential in your HP’s that can help you explore and find new ways to solve problems.  Not to mention new and innovative ways to grow and generate revenue.  Ways that those who have been working in the business for decades may not have thought of.

Don’t just rely on your high potential team members to do the same thing over and over – even when they are really good at it and you rely heavily on them to do it.  At some point, they will max out their growth capacity in that role and hit a ceiling.  They need to be exposed to different experiences and problems to continue to grow. 

Growth occurs when our brains are challenged and stretched.  The same way organizations grow.  They experience a challenge and they adapt. Or they push themselves beyond their previous limits so they can reach new levels of performance and success. 

Growth occurs when our brains are challenged and stretched. The same way organizations grow. Click To Tweet

When you engage your HP employees in the context of solving organizational problems or finding innovative ways to grow the company, you not only generate more diversity of thought, but you also create development opportunities for your HP employees.  It is a win-win. 

Formal development programs provide foundational skills that HP’s can build on but they need real-life situations to practice those skills and enhance the skill transfer.  Your investment is more likely to stick if they get to use those skills in real-life situations.  Your organization will maximize the ROI of formal development programs for your high potentials if this level of engagement is paired with the learning. Utilizing your high potentials becomes a competitive advantage for your organization. So, invest in and develop your high potentials, or risk losing them to someone who will.

Check out what programs we have coming up to develop your High Potential employees by clicking here!