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Identifying High-Potential Talent in the Workplace


Tue Aug 06 2013

Identifying High-Potential Talent in the Workplace

The cornerstone to an organization’s growth from within strategy is identification of high-potential talent.Organizations confirm the criticality of high-potential identification to stay competitive, yet current processes are lacking results. A recent leadership survey conducted by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School found that while many talent management professionals reported a high demand for high-potential talent, nearly half (47 percent) said their current high-potential talent pool did not meet their anticipated needs, and 65 percent said they were only slightly or moderately confident in their organization’s ability to fill mission-critical roles. That same survey found that 84 percent of talent management professionals said the demand for high potential employees has increased in the past five years due to growth and  competitive pressure. 

Having a strong pipeline of high-potential talent is vital to organizations because it builds an organization’s competitive advantage for the future (Snipes, 2005). Organizations continue to struggle, however, with how to effectively identify, attract,  and retain high-potential talent in their organizations; a 2011 AMA Enterprise survey  found that just a little more than half of survey respondents said their organizations  were somewhat effective in their ability to retain high-potential employees (Nikravan, 2011).



The dissatisfaction talent managers report regarding their organizations’ effectiveness  in identifying and developing high-potential employees may be caused by the lack of  formal high-potential programs in organizations. The AMA Enterprise survey found  that most organizations lacked formal high-potential programs. Even those who report  having a formal high-potential program in place seem to lack a high level of satisfaction with its effectiveness; the UNC Kenan-Flagler survey found that only 29 percent of respondents reported being “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their  organization’s current process for identifying high-potential employees.

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