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How to keep HiPos engaged

Over the last few weeks I have been developing my knowledge further around high potential employees, aka ‘HiPos’, which is apparently the acronym for them – personally to me that means something from a 90’s rave scene.

In my last blog I spoke about organisations having a clear and defined process for identifying high potential employees, and whilst I understand that many organisations do have some form of strategy and development plan how do you know if they are engaging so that the talent is retained?

For me I have found that many organisations assume HiPo employees are engaged, which sometimes isn’t the case. Due to the number of different characteristics and behaviours, keeping high-potential employees engaged is more important, but also a bit more challenging.

They can be easily disheartened by poor management and a lack of opportunities for growth, they can also more easily find employment elsewhere should they decide to leave the organisation – remember there is no such thing as a ‘job for life’ anymore.

So what can leaders and managers do to keep HiPos engaged, I found this research from Scott Engler of CEB Talent Angle.

1. Equip your managers to surface critical engagement risks. For example, many managers don’t understand the vast range of reasons that can affect turnover risk. Train your managers on the importance of maintaining a regular, ongoing dialogue with employees (and especially high-potential employees), so they can proactively identify and address those risks.

2. Require HiPos to commit to the organization.Simply telling someone they are a HiPo may not be enough to engage and retain them. Establish a “talent deal” that provides them with a variety of special opportunities, benefits and commitments, but expect organization-defined commitments or responsibilities from them in return.

3. Align HiPo and senior leader expectations for compelling HiPo career paths.HiPos value fair, diverse and structured career paths, so a standard process to help facilitate their movement across the business may be warranted. Ensure senior leader buy-in to high-potential development programs so they don’t get derailed.

4. Provide high-risk opportunities in a supportive environment.HiPos need highly challenging development opportunities that allow them advance their career. But these opportunities need to be carefully managed. HiPos also need a supportive work environment to mitigate their risks and drive success.”

In my opinion I feel if you don’t nurture your high potential employees you will lose them to other organisations, therefore it is vital that you ensure your leadership and management team have the right skills in place to allow your talent to grow.

Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts on this subject.

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