3 Simple Steps to Assess High Employee Potential

3 Simple Steps to Assess High Employee Potential

Written By : Bakkah

26 Jun 2024

Table of Content

We live in a time in which the standard of success in business changes dramatically and becomes more dependent on the HR department's success. Leaders are the most responsible for the success of any business. Therefore, one of the hardest things is to make the right decision when choosing the employees for such leadership roles. In order to facilitate the selection process, the HR department depends on versatile tools, one of them is Assessment.

Since people are the most valuable organization’s assets, high-potential employees are even more valuable. Therefore, it is very important to conduct a potential employee assessment, especially for the leadership role in the organization.

What is potential?

Throughout our journey in helping organizations with their High-potential programs, we found out that a lot of organizations establish such programs without even putting a clear definition for “Potential.” We can define “Potential” simply as: Someone’s ability to succeed in a bigger position or role in the future. To be more specific, we here are talking about someone’s ability to grow and handle a more complicated position with more responsibilities and a larger budget and staff.

How do potential and performance differ?

There are so many organizations that mix between “Potential” and “Performance.” When conducting an assessment, an organization must separate between the two concepts in order to select correctly and to have the results it sought for. Performance indicates the person’s ability to succeed and achieve results in their current job.

Consequently, assessing performance would focus on the employee’s ability to succeed in his/her current role or job. On the other hand, Potential basically focuses on what’s ahead, and potential assessment focuses on assessing an employee’s ability in a greater role.

It’s true that current performance is a very important indicator of potential, but it’s not the only one. In fact, research conducted by CEB reports that “Only one in seven high performers are actually high-potential employees.” As a consequence, mixing the two concepts will affect hugely your assessment results.

How do we assess potential?

Select with care: Organizations need to establish a very accurate selection process in order to avoid the costs of any faulty assessment. The costs will not be in terms of training and developing the wrong people only, but in the results of their work before discovering that they are not the right fit for the position.

In addition, it would undermine the employee’s morale, especially those who deserve the position. Thus, high-potential programs must be established very carefully and must be taken seriously.

Define what the potential is for:

There must be a clear definition of the position requirements before starting the assessment. Many organizations perform assessments and select potential without referring to a specific position profile, which is wrong. The metrics will differ from one position to another.

For example, if you are assessing the potential to lead the HR department, it will differ greatly from assessing the potential to take an international role. Define specific attributes and skills for every position that the candidates must meet when selecting.

These skills may contain technical, social, and even language skills. In brief, make it a very specific and very well-arranged process. Another important point organization must consider when identifying potential, considering not only where the business is, but rather where it is going.

Make it an unbiased decision:

Many organizations assign assessing potential processes to the managers or division leaders, which affects the results dramatically.

In most cases, managers tend to find people very similar to their own perspectives and personalities, which means that people who may have high potential, maybe way better than him/her, but differ from them would be excluded.

Moreover, this will dishearten employees because of the unfair way of assessment. Therefore, this process must be an objective recruiting process.

Having a clear process and clear objective data will make it easy to know if the candidate will be a great fit for a specific position. However, things don’t stop when selecting a candidate; there must be monitoring and following up with the selected candidates. Again, since your employees are the most valuable assets, high potential is your untapped treasure.

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