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High-Potential Employees

How to Overhaul your High Potential Employee Program in Asia

Over 10% of employees in Asia are identified as high potential talent but they don't all have what it takes; HR teams need to carefully select and develop those that can realistically take on a senior job one day

Listen to any half competent financial advisor and they will tell you that when investing money for the long term, clients should spend time locating the right plans to invest the money in, carefully spreading the investments across different asset classes, regions, and industries to diversify the risk, and consistently reinvesting to achieve the right financial goals.

HR teams at large companies would be wise to apply the same reasoning to strengthening their leadership “bench” (the cadre of managers next in line for one of the top jobs) and, to do that, companies need to have a good program for identifying and developing high-potential employees (HIPOs). Three steps will help with this.

  1. Identify your HIPOs: Up to 14% of employees in Asia are identified as HIPOs, but that unfortunately doesn’t mean that many really have what it takes for one of the top jobs.

    Companies need a systematic approach to identify HIPOs, and to weed out the “engaged dreamers”: those who have aspiration and are engaged with the company and their role but don’t have ability to perform.

  2. Thoughtfully develop your HIPOs: Only 5% of companies provide good follow-up after the conclusion of a HIPO development program, which might explain why 64% of HIPOs are dissatisfied with their development experiences.

    HIPOs benefit a lot from the proven 70-20-10 model of development (70% learning through experience, 20% learning from others, and 10% formal learning), and most companies still provide the majority of development through formal learning.

  3. Manage HIPOs by using emotional and cognitive engagement: HR teams should help HIPOs create a personal connection with both the organization and their manager. This will ensure HIPOs understand the organizational mission and that they’re bought into it.

    By looking for opportunities that will expose them to more challenging experiences — by giving them autonomy, greater accountability, and work in high stakes situations — you can increase HIPO engagement by 70%.

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