Supporting High-Potential Employees

Supporting High-Potential Employees

This blog article conforms to our Editorial Policy and contains links to paid referral affiliates.

This article relates to my other article, “The Hierarchy of Employee Needs,” so read it to gain more insight into employee needs.

Owners and managers must support high-potential employees by paying well, having proper training, and having a career plan. High-potential employees can become your next rock stars!

How to Identify a High-Potential Employee

A high-potential employee will need to learn quickly. They will ask many questions as they learn the work and even at meetings. Asking new questions is a sign of a high-potential employee.

Suppose an employee keeps asking the same question without clarifying follow-up questions. In that case, it may be a red flag that they are not high-potential employees.

Challenging you privately and at meetings is another way to identify a high-potential employee. They are trying to prove their worth, and a challenge is a way of helping the organization grow. Don’t ridicule, punish, or discourage challenges. Embrace them and learn to harness them into productive outcomes. Challenges can lead to great ideas and “proving ground” tasks.

Naturally, as the owner or manager, you must swallow your pride and accept that other people’s ideas may be better than yours. Getting different and creative ideas is a significant reason to hire new people from outside the organization or nurture current employees.

Amazon has some great books that can help you identify top employeesOpens in a new tab. (Paid Link), and I highly recommend you read a few.

Properly Pay a High-Potential Employee

Give high-potential employees “proving ground” type tasks to challenge them. If they complete large or multiple small tasks over a few months, consider giving them a merit pay increase if they complete the tasks well.

Consider giving all employees a cost-of-living pay increase during the high-potential employee’s “proving ground” period. This way, your target high-potential employee will experience a rapid rise in pay over a short period, increasing their organizational loyalty.

There is an added side benefit that other high-potential employees may show themselves after the cost-of-living pay increase. The overall work environment may increase even if no new high-potential employees are discovered, giving your current high-potential employees a better work environment to grow.

For more information, please read my article, “Top 5 Reasons to Pay Higher Than Industry Standard.”

Proper Training for a High-Potential Employee

After you have identified and challenged the high-potential employee with some “proving ground” tasks, it’s time to get them the proper training. Training that will help advance the organization’s goals is essential to start.

First, you must mould the high-potential employee into what the organization needs. Then, after a while, you can support them by allowing them to choose some training they want for their career. It may be something other than what the organization needs. Again, this keeps them happy as they become valuable resources for the organization.

For more information, read our article “Regular Training for a World-Class Team.”

Get online computer training for you and your employees!

Use code: LBH10 to get 10% off!


Career Plan for High-Potential Employees

Create a Career Plan for your High-Potential Employees. Even if you think this employee will leave your organization one day, you need to create a career plan for them.

The career plan will give your high-potential employees hope that they can advance their careers with you. You genuinely want these employees to stay with your organization. Still, it is never guaranteed that the proper positions will come open.

If this employee leaves your organization, you want them to leave happy. They will be grateful if you work with them to develop the right career plan.

Spending time to create a career plan may seem like a waste of your time and any money you put into training these employees, but it’s not. Happy ex-employees are just as important as happy current employees. If you do these enough times, your organization will look like an employer of choice, and new high-potential employees will apply to your future job openings.

To get some advanced help, consider the Amazon book “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees WantOpens in a new tab.” (Paid Link) by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni.

What’s Next?

Start tracking which employees ask questions and challenge you. If you want, start a tally sheet tracking how many questions and challenges you get from each of your direct team members. The employee with the most questions and challenges could be your next high-potential employee!

For human resources support in Canada, click here to book a free HR needs assessment now. If you’re on a budget, consider joining my Patreon to ask unlimitedOpens in a new tab. HR questions. If you need HR advice sooner, book a consultation via Fiverr here.

Ian Hopfe

Ian Hopfe is the owner of LBH Business Services Inc. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Ian is an Indigenous Human Resources Consultant. He has over ten years experience in HR and over fifteen years experience in management. All blog articles on this website are written by Ian unless a guest writer is indicated on the post.

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