Properly identifying high potentials

Using performance ratings as proxy highly problematic
By Igor Kotlyar and Len Karakowsky
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/13/2011

Any successful organization must place a premium on leadership development. Companies are increasingly investing significant sums in cultivating leadership talent. Most are actively seeking to grow future leaders in-house, which involves identifying and developing high-potential employees (HIPOs) — high-achieving employees with the potential to lead an organization into the future.

High-potential employee programs typically identify three per cent to 10 per cent of a company’s most promising employees through an annual nomination process. Those identified as HIPOs are provided with accelerated leadership development opportunities, such as rotating stints in a company’s business divisions, stretch assignments and mentoring. Many companies in the United States and Canada have some form of HIPO program in place.

These kinds of programs make sense for a number of reasons.