Feet of a person with an arrow indicating their high potential

July 10, 2023

7 Ways to Develop High Potential People

High performers excel in most organizations: they exceed their targets, tackle difficult projects, and excel at their tasks, but does this mean they have potential? Not necessarily. However, this mistake is very common and can cause us to overlook high-potential people.


What is potential?

A person's potential is the talent that has not yet materialized in a consolidated manner but which has the potential to be developed. Each person has their own strengths and can therefore create added value for the organization.

A high-potential employee has the ability, aspiration, and commitment to exceed the requirements and expectations of their current competencies and/or goals, or even to occupy leadership positions in the future. And where is the key? The key is to implement well-managed talent management so that high potentials see a future for themselves in your organization. In other words, that talent does not go unnoticed and that everyone feels fulfilled.


What are the characteristics of high potential individuals?

High-potential employees grow quickly, aspire to higher roles, receive ongoing training, and are key contributors to succession planning. It is important to involve them in decision making, set clear goals and align their aspirations with the needs of the organization.

These are some of the characteristics of high-potential employees:

  • Initiative
  • Commitment
  • Aspiration
  • Hunger for knowledge
  • Seek positive and negative feedback
  • A dose of non-conformity and a strong desire to excel


How do we help high-potential people develop?

High potential people typically make up 3% to 5% of an organization's workforce, so knowing how to work with them to help them develop professionally is critical. 

Early identification: It is important to identify high potentials as early as possible. This can easily be done through aseessments of potential, performance, competencies... and, of course, with the feedback from managers.

Action Plan: Once you have identified your high potentials, it is essential to create an individual development plan for each one. This includes identifying areas for improvement, learning opportunities and challenges that will allow them to grow and develop.

Assign them to strategic projects: High-potential people should be assigned to high-impact projects in the organization. This gives them the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge, take on additional responsibility, and prove their worth.

Build on their strengths : Once you've assessed their competencies and identified their strengths, apply those strengths to their assignments. Continue to train them in their best skills through courses or mentors. For example, if a high-potential employee seems to excel at influencing others, offer them advanced courses in team leadership.

Select the right mentors: Provide high potential employees with experienced mentors. These mentors can provide guidance, support, and advice based on their own professional experience, which will help accelerate employee's growth and development. Continuing with the previous example, if an individual excels at persuasion, offer them mentorship with someone in a team leadership position.

Opportunities for advancement and growth: High-potential people must have access to opportunities for advancement and growth within the organization. This can be through promotions, departmental changes, or additional responsibilities. It is important to focus on their motivation by providing them with a clear and challenging path within the organization. You can easily manage these promotions through a succession plan.

Recognize and reward: Recognize and reward the performance of high-potential employees. A bonus is just one of many incentives, you can offer different benefits such as training, flexibility, remote work…

Remember that each person is unique and has different needs and aspirations. It is important to maintain open and ongoing communication with high potentials to understand their goals and provide the appropriate support for their professional growth and development.