High-Potential Employee Identification Playlist | Brian Heger

Talent Management

Many organizations conduct a talent review process—where one goal is to accurately identify (and develop) employees with the greatest leadership potential. However, identifying high-potential employees can be challenging for several reasons, ranging from a lack of objective criteria to limited visibility into these employees. Since I have received many inquiries on this topic, I’ve compiled this one-page playlist of four resources from three thought leaders: Allan Church, Rob Silzer, and Marc Effron. Sample questions explored include: 1) What are the indicators of potential? 2) Should we change how we define and measure potential to align with the changing nature of work and the workplace? 3) Are there different types of potential? 4) What are examples of how high-potential employees can go undetected? Regarding whether the indicators of potential have changed, Marc Effron notes that the core components of potential, such as intellect and personality, still have the same power to predict potential; intellect accounts for 35 to 45%, and personality covers up to 25% of variances in potential. One factor that has likely changed in some individuals is their “motivation to invest discretionary time at work.”  While many practitioners might want to focus on “the number of boxes” or categories used for assessing potential in a talent review, what is most important is that the categories allow for differentiation and that the criteria used for determining potential are informed by the body of research on this topic.