October 2017
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The Science of Identifying High-Potential Employees

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

In a world of unlimited resources, organizations would likely invest in everyone, but given the finite nature of the business world, the question of how inclusive or exclusive companies should be in developing their employees’ talents becomes important. This has led to a growing interest in the field of high-potential identification. An employee’s potential sets the limits of their development range and informs the decision on which resources should be allocated to them. But identifying these top performers isn’t always a matter of who produces the most or who is the top salesperson. Sometimes the identifiers of the highest potential performers are obscure, and there is argument on how nuanced these identifiers can actually be. However, there seems to be consensus that there are three main categories to look for. First is ability. This concerns the individual’s capacity for accomplishing the job in question. The second is the individual’s level of social skills. At the basic level, employees need to be able to get along with their co-workers and managers, but identifying high levels of emotional intelligence and the capacity for leadership is important in determining an individual’s overall potential. Finally, drive is critical. An individual’s will, motivation, and desire to work hard and achieve might be the most important factor in determining overall potential.

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