Tapping High Potential Employees across Levels

The cliche goes that the collective effort of good employees is what makes the company great.

Therefore, if an entrepreneur wants his company to actually achieve the success that he has envisaged for it, then it all eventually boils down to identifying employees that will deliver.

A High Potential employee is one that delivers consistently, one who is in sync with the company’s policies and ethics, and one who is driven to outdo himself with each performance. While hiring the rightly skilled employees is a hurdle most companies face, identifying the best of the hired lot and retaining them is an even bigger challenge.


1.       Define ‘High Potential’

It is essential for every entrepreneur to have a clear definition of a ‘high potential’ employee. In text book terms a high potential employee is marked with characters like unparalleled motivation, quick learning abilities, the ability to adapt to adverse situations and deliver, and one who has an enterprising spirit.

According to Shrenik Gandhi, Director of Blues N Coppers Events Pvt. Ltd, “A high potential employee is one who believes in inclusive growth. Such an employee has to consistently provide a very high Return on Investment (ROI) to the company in terms of productivity and of course, revenue.”


2.       Don’t confuse high performance with high potential

Very often, people confuse a high performing employee with a high potential one. A high performance employee is one that delivers consistently over a period of time. He meets the targets set for him and performs his duty with diligence.

A high potential employee on the other hand is one who not only lives up to excellent standards, but displays characteristics that are inherent to leaders. He will go out of his way to get the job, display leadership skills as and when required and perform well across multiple assessment criteria.


3.       Spot them Young

The key to tapping high potential employees that can add great value to your firm is to spot them young. A good entrepreneur will always keep an eye out on the employees who work for him. By this it is meant that he will look acutely into their performance, their dedication to the firm, their zeal and their ability to grasp and adapt. If and when you spot such an employee, it is in your and your company’s best interest to take to him/her and nurture them and hone their talents.


4.       Scout for employees with soft  skills

If you thought that an employee who meets or exceeds his targets every month is a high potential employee, then you are not thinking in holistic terms. Soft skills are as important in determining a high potential employee as are quantitative capabilities of the person. This point is reiterated by Daniel Fernandes, Co-Founder & Head, Comedy @ Beyond Entertainment, “Soft skills are critical in establishing and maintaining long term relationships with external customers, vendors or co-workers. A high potential employee must have the knack of getting the best out of himself and the people he works with, which is done by establishing an environment of trust, comfort and positivity. If you are not liked, it is difficult to deliver results, no matter how good your hard skills are.”


5. Passion and Goals

When recruiting potential employees it is important to identify the ones who have a goal in mind which is in tune with the overall business goals. This will help the business in growing further and the employee in realising their dream. Natasha Fernandez, a HR executive with an Investment consulting company says “When i recruit people for the company, after the functional heads have met the person, i spend a few minutes in understanding them as a person, their goals, objectives and how driven/passionate they are. This helps the company because 1. The employee will not quit or start looking for other opportunities and 2. They will be a valuable asset as they will motivate others and push ahead”.

Armed with these tips you are sure to identify and work towards retaining your High Potential employees.