Two Ways of Ensuring Top Quality High Potential Employees

How do you develop a High Potential employee?

High Potential employees are typically groomed for promotions.  Their direct boss, the head of human resources, as well as executive leadership, follows their performance.   Most progressive companies spend time and resources developing processes to review the pool of high potential candidates in an effort to ensure qualified promotions from within the company.  These processes are a good step and may include customized management seminars, as well as yearly profile reviews, but does that mean they are doing a good job of developing individuals?  Let’s review two ways to ensure you develop top quality high potential candidates, not just processes.

1: Train your senior and middle managers to develop employees.

Some companies have the policy of not telling anyone who is actually on the high potential list; not even the direct manager of the high potential employee.  This policy has pros and cons for a multitude of reasons, but leaves the question…is this person actually being developed or are they just prequalified based on their past accomplishments? A high potential is someone who will excel when given the tools and opportunity.  By training your managers to develop people through individualized professional development planning, you are providing all employees with the tools and opportunity to excel.

2: Hold your managers responsible and accountable for employee development.

When high potentials are put into a system of development programs they can get lost unless someone is looking out for them as a mentor.  By holding managers responsible for this role for each of their employees, your pool of high potentials will grow and evolve.  One way of doing this successfully is putting professional development as a performance objective for each member of management.

Management should not only be about managing results.  It should be about developing people to achieve better results.  Think about it and take a look at the managers in your company.  In what order do they prioritize their job when it comes to the following: managing up, managing reports, hitting their own performance objectives, developing their employees.  If developing employees is last, they may hit business objectives short term, but are those results as good as they could be?  Ask yourself how business results can improve if the order of priorities shifts to employee development.


Written by Lisa Woods, President Lisa Woods Consulting & Founder of


Lisa is a successful entrepreneur, world-class marketing strategist, and dynamic business leader with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth. Throughout her career, Lisa has been influential in integration techniques, organizational and cultural overhauls, financial turnarounds and developing employees into exceptional leaders, results driven managers and passionate team contributors.

Strategic Consulting ǀ Management Consulting: Strategy Realized

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