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A Data-Driven Approach to Identifying High Potential Talent

June 2, 2017

Identifying, developing, and engaging high potential talent is an important part of every successful organization’s talent strategy. Organizational culture is driven by its leaders, and high performing leaders can be associated with positive outcomes: employee engagement, staff retention, etc. For more on this read our blog on how to identify and select high potential talent.

identify high potential.jpgAll industries have realized the need to identify and develop potential leaders. In most organizations, there is a clear skills gap between the current pipeline of internal leaders and the demand for leaders who, to stay competitive, need to be able to successfully navigate change. Over the past five years, we have seen organizations ramp up their investment in training new leaders. We are having more conversations about leadership hiring and development than ever before. There are many indicators suggesting that this is an important and timely topic. We know that a high percentage of new leaders struggle. Estimates of the number of new leaders who fail in the first 18 months on the job are as high as 40%. Additionally, we know that a huge amount of money is being spent annually on training (upwards of $14 billion annually). 

To accurately identify leaders who have the potential to succeed, and subsequently maximize the investment, it is important to have a structured and objective process in place. Typically, to select individuals for development within leadership programs, organizations consider:

  • Tenure
  • Job level
  • Self/supervisor nomination
  • Past job performance

While some of these things are good data points, none of them consider the future potential of the individual or the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for successful performance in leadership roles. Often, people get nominated for leadership development because “they have been here for a long time,” or because the individual has lobbied to get access to development. Again, these are not necessarily bad reasons, but organizations who succeed at HiPo identification have a much more structured and objective process to identify potential.

Learn how to set up a process with a data-driven approach to identifying high potential talent:

 High Potentials: A Business Case for Identifying High Potentials

Mavis Kung, Ph.D. Mavis Kung, Ph.D. is the Manager of Research and Development based in the Pittsburgh office of PSI. She focuses on conducting validation studies, acting as an internal technical expert on selection for project consultants and clients, analyzing assessment data to determine selection system effectiveness, validity, and fairness and providing recommendations for system improvement and development.