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How Do You Identify A High-Potential Employee?

A high-potential (HiPo) employee is someone who has the ability and potential to grow and take on more complex and challenging roles in the future. High-potential employees are valuable assets for any organization, as they can contribute to its success, innovation, and competitiveness. However, spotting high-potential employees is not always easy, as they may not have the opportunity or experience to demonstrate their full potential. 

Here are some characteristics and behaviors that can help you identify high-potential employees in your organization:

  • They have a high cognitive quotient (CQ), which means they can leverage their intellect to solve problems, learn new skills, and adapt to changing situations. They are curious, analytical, and creative thinkers who can handle ambiguity and complexity.
  • They have a high drive quotient (DQ), which means they are motivated and energized by their work. They have a clear vision of their goals and aspirations, and they pursue them with passion and perseverance. They are proactive, resilient, and willing to take risks.
  • They have a high emotional quotient (EQ), which means they can recognize, understand, and manage their own and others’ emotions. They can communicate effectively, empathize with others, and handle stress and conflict. They are self-aware, self-regulated, and socially skilled.
  • They have a strategic skill set, which means they have the skills and competencies that are critical for the organization’s success or that deliver a disproportionate level of value in accomplishing strategic goals. They are experts in their field or niche, or they have the potential to become one.
  • They are good listeners, which means they give their full attention to the speaker, maintain eye contact, and ask thoughtful questions to show that they care and understand their perspective. They are open-minded, respectful, and receptive to feedback and criticism.
  • They are problem-solvers, which means they can find creative and effective solutions to various challenges and issues. They adopt a growth mindset, which means they see problems as opportunities to learn and grow rather than obstacles to avoid. They use various tools and frameworks to help them analyze problems, generate ideas, and implement solutions.
  • They are authentic, which means they are themselves and showcase their unique personality, values, and strengths. They don’t try to imitate or conform to others, but rather embrace their individuality and authenticity. People appreciate and respect them for being genuine and original.

These are some of the characteristics and behaviors that can help you spot high-potential employees in your organization. However, you should also consider other factors such as the context, culture, and goals of your organization when identifying high-potential employees. You should also provide them with opportunities to develop their potential further through mentoring, coaching, training, feedback, and challenging assignments.

Always bear in mind one important thing: High-Performers are not always High-Potentials and High-Potentials are not always High-Performers.