Hiring new employees is always a gamble. Even if they are impressive during the interview process, there is no guarantee they will eventually become a top performer in the organization. Because of this, business leaders are constantly looking for the best ways to assess potential employees—they want to understand how their team members will contribute to the overall organization and identify top performers and potential leaders. Many use the so-called none-box model to map past performance against future leadership potential. The model identifies those with the most promise, and those individuals are usually the ones an organization will invest the most in terms of training and talent development programs. But are these methods valid? Workplaces have evolved, and so too should the way potential is measured. One window into employees’ leadership potential is understanding how they influence others within their organization. The larger their sphere of influence, the more potential that person has to be a leader. This can be measured through gamified systems of “kudos,” where employees can give online accolades to one another. At Microsoft, the employees’ system of sending digital “cheers” to one another was studied over a six-month period and found that the number of cheers an employee received was highly correlated with a high network influence. This means the company was able to recognize them as potential top performers.
Influence Informs Performance