Potential After the Pandemic | The Talent Strategy Group

Talent Management

As we approach the two-year mark of the Covid-19 pandemic, organizations continue to evaluate and adjust workforce and talent practices to better align with the changing nature of work and workplace. And while much attention has been given to changes in talent and workplace practices such as performance management, retention, and recruitment, firms are increasingly asking: should we change how we define and measure potential? This article by Marc Effron provides a science-based argument for why the core components of determining individual “potential” have the same power to predict potential as they did pre-pandemic; two of those components are intelligence and personality. Marc notes how the science on individual potential tells us:1) Intelligence is the largest (anywhere from 35 to 45%) predictor of potential. Chart 1 illustrates how “those who move higher in an organization score higher, on average, on assessments of general mental ability, deductive reasoning, verbal reasoning and deductive reasoning.” 2) Personality is the second-largest predictor (predicts up to about 25% of our success at work, and higher amounts in select roles). And since these two factors don’t meaningfully change after a certain point in one’s life (e.g., intelligence established by your late teens; personality established by adulthood), they are still useful and stable predictors of potential, despite the disruptions over the past two years. As Marc notes, one factor that has likely changed in some individuals is their motivation to invest discretionary time at work.” Said differently, shifts in worker priorities and interests have implications for the motivational component of potential. Several other ideas are discussed. For an informative book chapter on the components of potential, check out Rob Silzer’s and Allan Church’s—Identifying and Assessing High-Potential Talent: Current Organization Practices— in Strategy-Driven Talent Management. 

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