Every organization has them: superstar employees who are reliable, thrive on challenges, seek out more work, help their peers, and have the potential to be a key driver of organizational performance: high potential employees.
Waiting for a High-Potential Like You: How to Identify High-Potential Employees
What are some ways managers can identify their high-potentials? HR Dive suggests three key characteristics that define high-potentials:
• Learnability - High-potential employees show a desire and ability to improve their existing skills and add to their skill set, especially as employees will constantly need to develop new skills in the future.
• Adaptability - In addition to learning quickly, high-potential employees also innovate, explore, and create at a rapid pace.
• Curiosity - High-potential employees tend to seek out and push for more training, with a strong thirst for learning.
Managers can also keep an eye out for employees who are motivated to solve problems, consistently ask thoughtful questions, and volunteer—whether it’s at work or in their community.
What’s next after identifying high-potential employees? High-potentials tend to thrive on challenges: whether they’re cross-assignments, stretch roles, or being constantly pushed to to take the lead. Additionally, consider offering them the opportunity to participate in leadership development programs. Per the Harvard Business Review, framing leadership education with the goal of learning leadership skills versus becoming a leader is more motivating for high-potentials to engage in leadership development.
The Creative Corner: What About Highly Creative Employees?
Any organization also has employees who may fly a bit under the radar: those who are constantly creating and innovating—creatives. Highly creative employees generally put forth ideas that have the potential to become innovations for the organization.
The challenge? Employers aren’t always able to turn these creative ideas into innovations, which may result in their creatives becoming frustrated and underperforming if they don’t see the fruits of their labor.
Get Their Motors Running: Motivating Your Most Creative Employees
Employees have different needs in the workplace, and that’s no different for creatives. The Harvard Business Review offers some suggestions for motivating your highly creative people:
• Assign them to the right roles - If they’re not motivated and engaged, creatives tend to perform worse. They need to be involved in tasks that are relevant and meaningful, and have roles that match their natural behavior.
• Reward innovation - Encourage all employees, not just creatives, to spend time coming up with new ideas, find ways to improve existing processes or products—and find ways to recognize them for it.
• Challenge them - Organizations that offer personalized development plans and opportunities for mentorships to their high-potentials, and “that promote a culture of support and inclusion, will benefit from increased creative performance.”
• Be humble - Leaders need to be humble if they want to have strong creative teams. Humble leaders help their team members experience stronger feelings of cooperation, trust, and safety.
While high-potential and deeply creative employees have specific learning and development needs, it’s also important to remember that all employees need—and expect—opportunities to continuously learn and grow.
To learn more about engaging and motivating your employees, check out our e-book, “7 Trends for Workforce 2020.”