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You Need High-Potential Employees to Grow Your Business. Here's How to Identify Them

by Danial
Apr 29, 2019 at 4:53 PM

Every company in this world wants its employees to work at their full potential and contribute equally. But the long-term success of a company relies on a select few high-potential employees. Compared to average employees, high-potential employees are two to six times more productive (based on the book 'Leading the Way: Three Truths from the Top Companies for Leaders').

But, it can be very expensive and time-consuming in order to find a high potential employee. So, one would need a defined and reliable approach to find their star performers.


Define your high potential employees

Who are high potential employees? They are the employees who drive the overall business performance by:

These are the basic traits of a high potential employee, but the actual challenge is to identify these employees who stand out.


The 3 most important traits of a high potential employee

1. Learning Agility

To become a high potential employee, the employee must show the willingness and ability to consistently learn new skills and expertise on the job. They will then apply what they've learned to perform exceedingly well in a job role and its related duties. 

This learning agility depends on their:

  1. cognitive abilities (IQ)
  2. personality traits of adaptability, improvisation and perseverance

In leadership roles, high potential employees need wider personality dimensions, a visionary approach, desire to lead and the capability to motivate and develop others.


2. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence or EI is an ability to rightfully perceive emotions and react accordingly. This is important in order to form and maintain cordial and fruitful interpersonal relationships. 

The traits of an employee with EI are: 

  1. optimism

  2. self-motivation

  3. resilience

  4. flexibility

These traits are important in order to reach high performance and potential at all job levels.

As for managers and leaders who drive teams, shape opinions and influence stakeholders; they will need high EI traits of empathy, tactfulness, mediation, and deal with diversity.

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3. Motivation

A high-potential employee is driven by the motivation to work, achieve and surpass. They will also highlight behavioural traits that signal the ability to: 

  1. work hard,

  2. need for action,

  3. ambition,

  4. willingness to take extra responsibility

  5. face challenges

  6. bear psychological and physical discomfort

as part and parcel of succeeding in a high-demanding job role. All this as recurring requirements of long-distance travel, short deadlines and unpredictable tasks.


In conclusion, a successful approach to identify high potential employees can be created by accurately defining high potentials and then looking for the necessary personality and behavioural factors that determine and predict high-potential.

You can use psychometric assessments to identify the behaviour and personality traits of high potential employees. The test is not only scientifically reliable, but it also eliminates human biases. The investment in finding a high potential employee is a worthwhile one as it prepares companies for high business performance and its readiness for the future.

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