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I4CP: Retaining Hi-Po’s

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The following was contributed by Erik Samdahl from the Institute for Corporate Productivity and highlights results from a recent stufy of theirs.

The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), the company I work for, recently did a study on how companies gauge and retain high-potential employees. These “HiPos” are the bread and butter of organizations, as they are the employees who can really cause a positive impact in one way or another.

The i4cp study found that 69% of the 469 responding organizations have a high-potential assessment process in place, and most of those organizations say a development plan is part of that process. This is all well and good… however, less than half (47%) of the companies with HiPo programs are diligent about measuring the effectiveness of those programs.

Companies need to focus more on measuring the success of their programs and identifying new ways of retaining these employees. Presumably, a fair amount of these high potential candidates know that they are in demand, and thus are more likely to leave a company sooner rather than later. Career changes are common these days, and with the baby boomer generation beginning to retire, companies need to figure out how to retain their most valued and up-and-coming employees.

The good news is that organizations should be able to adjust quickly to improve the measurement of their programs, since a massive 83% choose to keep them in-house. Here are some ways to measure HiPos, based on various studies and articles:

  • First seek consensus on what factors constitute high potential, then “use round tables or other collaborative decision-making methods to vet individual manager’s nominations.” (Training magazine)
  • High-potential talent should be selected based on current performance “coupled with clear criteria that evaluate and measure future performance,” recommends Jeff Snipes, CEO of a leadership development firm. Identification and development of candidates should begin within the first two to four years of employment.
  • Both HR and business line managers should be involved so that assessments are driven both from day-to-day performance and company’s overall criteria and vision.
  • PeopleSoft and Executrack have been popular tools to automate identification of HiPos, though only 30% of respondents say they use automation tools.

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