How to make the most of your high potential employees with Halogen Succession

by Saba Software | Posted | Performance Management

How to make the most of your high potential employees with Halogen Succession

In this post, Darryl Gordon, one of Halogen Software’s implementation consultants, shares how organizations can use Halogen Succession and talent pools to identify, develop and retain their high potential employees.

Oh the quest for high potential employees! Every organization wants them. We know that they’re the ones who yield the highest return as employees.

But often, they go hidden or unnoticed in the organization. And when you don’t know who your high potentials (HiPos) are and don’t actively work to develop and engage them, you run the risk of losing them.

And you don’t want that to happen!

In this article I’ll share how you can identify and develop the HiPos in your organization using Halogen Succession(TM).

But before we get into techniques for that, let’s first look at what we mean by “high potential”. A high-potential employee is one who has been identified as having the potential, ability and aspiration for progressive advancement in your organization, typically in leadership positions.

They show the drive and desire to take on and do more.

Often, these employees are provided with focused development as part of a succession planning program, and are referred to as “HiPos”. Best-practice succession planning uses talent pools to develop talent in all key areas of the organization to ensure you have the talent bench strength you need to remain competitive over the long term.

So how can your organization identify and work to retain those high potentials?

Step 1: Identify and create the talent pools you need for succession planning

It may seem counterintuitive, but the first thing you should do is identify the talent pools you need.

The talent pools you create will vary depending on your organization and your strategic goals. You may want to develop a more generic “leadership” talent pool, create job-specific talent pools (e.g., CFO, CHRO, or Nurse Managers) or for specific areas (e.g., nano technology, cardiac care).

Think about all the key areas where your organization needs bench strength. The best practice approach is to prepare for succession in all key areas of your organization, but you can start slowly.

In Halogen Succession™ you’d create a separate talent pool for each of these areas, like you see here.

Click to enlarge

Step 2: Identify the required competencies for each talent pool

For each of your talent pools, you’ll need to consider the unique competencies required for high performance, as well as the target rating and weight for each one. We call this your talent pool competency list, and it’s an important tool for assigning, assessing and developing candidate in a pool.

This talent pool competency list also helps you to create a list of learning activities to help HiPos assigned to that talent pool develop each competency. You’ll likely want to organize these into learning paths that gradually develop increasing proficiency and mastery.

Here’s an example of the competency list for a talent pool:

Click to enlarge

Step 3: Ask managers to identify their high potential employees

Now that you’ve created your talent pools, you’re ready to identify your high potential employees and assign them to those pools.

The easiest way to do that is to add a succession planning section to your performance appraisal forms. First, managers rate their employee’s potential, readiness for promotion, and retention risk. Then they make recommendations for which talent pools they think the employee should be assigned to.

Here’s what that looks like on your Halogen Performance™ performance appraisal form:

Click to enlarge

You might also want to include the talent pool placement recommendation section on your employee self-evaluation form and invite employees to “self-identify” as potential talent pool members.

You could also create a separate process and form that you only send to your identified high potential employees, asking them to self-identify. It’s an emerging best practice that better engages employees in their own development and career progression, and opens up greater dialog about career aspirations with their managers.

When you’re training managers and employees to complete this section of the form, challenge them to think strategically.

While a high potential employee might be well suited to a leadership role or advancement in their current department, they might also be a great fit for other talent pools that leverage their particular skills in a different way.

One way to help retain and motivate high-potential employees is to expose them to various departments or functions in the organization; it broadens their reach so they can gain the experience necessary to advance their careers.

Step 4: Identify your high potential employees

Once you’ve gathered this succession planning data as part of your performance review process, you can use it to identify your high-potential employees via the Halogen Succession™ high-potential report:

Click to enlarge

Using the data from your performance appraisal process, it plots each employee on a nine box grid, according to their performance appraisal score and their identified potential for promotion. It allows HR and management to:

  • Identify the best internal candidates for development or to find potential candidates for an immediate succession requirement.
  • Drill down to see an employee’s talent profile that summarizes key talent indicators and competency gaps in a single view.
  • Adjust or filter the report to show you the data they want and need.

Step 5: Use your succession planning program to establish a high potential development program

Armed with this information, you’re ready to assign high potential employees to appropriate talent pools for development. Then, as part of your succession planning program, you can:

  • Create individual development plans to help the high potentials in talent pools achieve proficiency in all the required competencies, close skill gaps and prepare for succession opportunities, using the competency lists, learning activities and learning paths you created earlier.
  • Provide HiPos with ongoing coaching and feedback to guide their development, performance and career progression.
  • Regularly reassess high potential employees’ demonstration of the talent pool competencies, track progress in development, and adjust their individual development plans as needed.

Step 6: Retain your high potential employees through career advancement

The final piece?

If you want to retain your high potential employees, you need to give them opportunities to exploit their potential and advance in their careers.

So when a key position opens up, use your established talent pools to identify qualified internal candidates with the right skills and competencies to step into the role, then promote from within.

Halogen Succession makes it easy for organizations to identify and develop their high potentials, and make the best and most informed choices come promotion time. To learn more visit the Halogen Succession product page.

About Darryl Gordon


Darryl Gordon has worked in various roles at Halogen Software, always demonstrating a passion for delivering a world class customer experience. As one of the Implementation Consultants in Halogen’s Professional Services team, he’s responsible for helping customers implement their new Halogen TalentSpace™ modules and realize a rapid return on their investment. He’s also one of the key organizers of our corporate social events (e.g., sports teams, bowling nights), making sure we all take time to stop and smell the roses!



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