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Firms are failing to retain high-potential employees

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The study showed that true HIPos who demonstrate the attributes to be successful leaders turn to competitive organisations willing to invest in their development.

The CEB explains that in order to keep top talent in-house and maximise results, companies must re-evaluate and reinvigorate their leadership programmes. 

By correctly identifying HIPos and engaging them with the right training, firms can improve the success of their programmes more than ten-fold.

Eugene Burke, chief science and analytics officer at CEB, said: “There is mounting pressure on companies to realize the value of any talent investment made, especially HiPo programs which deliver future leaders for the business. Too often resources, training and career opportunities are directed at employees who lack the aspiration, engagement or ability to be effective at the next level.

“This misidentification is preventing those with the strongest potential from reaching senior roles and could restrict an organisation’s future productivity, innovation and performance.”

The CEB suggested four ways to improve the caliber of leaders and create incentives:

1. Redefine ‘potential’

Adopt a clearer definition that accounts for the key attributes employees need to have in order to rise to more senior roles: the desire to assume senior positions (aspiration), manage and lead others effectively (ability), as well as having the commitment to realise their career goals with their current employer (engagement).

2. Measure potential objectively

Rather than relying solely on subjective manager nominations or evaluation, organisations should adopt a systematic process for identifying HiPo talent through objective talent assessment and evaluation.

3. Ask for commitment in return for career opportunities

Proactively evaluate engagement and act to mitigate flight risk among HiPo employees by evaluating their engagement today and their longer-term commitment to the organization in the future.

4. Create differentiated development experiences

Typical HiPo programs provide opportunities for incremental skill building but fail to prepare HiPo employees for realistic future roles. The best organisations help HiPos learn new skills, but also apply existing skills in different roles by exposing them to high-impact development experiences.

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