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Complete Guide On How to Identify High Potential Employees!

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Pratisrutee Mishra
March 31, 2023

Wolves come in packs, while lions walk alone. You are certainly not new to this proverb. But, who's the lion in this corporate world? It is undoubtedly the eligible professionals who aspire to excel in critical job roles! And that's someone who is identified as a high potential employee. 

A high potential employee is a building block of a successful team. Because, even though a team can function well with an average workforce, it can not prosper without a leader. If not for properly oriented employees, a team becomes a stagnant liability to the company.

Unfortunately, it is as difficult to identify high potential employees as it is to retain them. Why? Because, most of the high potential employees are aware of their standing in the firm. Therefore, they present their demands to the company very confidently. 

But, when those demands are not met, they leave, looking for better opportunities elsewhere. 

For instance, a CCL white paper claims that 84% of High Potential employees believe that organizations should invest more in them and other valuable talents. They barely consider the otherwise flow of organizational capital as a necessity. 

A company must be aware and mindful of these high potential employees. So that their demands are met to at least a certain level for motivation and retention. To do so, HR Managers must identify the high potential employees in their companies first. But, it is not as easy as it sounds in guides and blogs. In fact, only 3-5% of active employees actually possess the characteristics required for leadership roles, according to Ready, Conger & Hill. 

Hence identifying them might require the help of experienced professionals or advanced technologies like HI-PO Assessment. But, do these assessments even work? 

To understand the identifying characteristics of high potential employees and the utility of standardized high potential assessments, you will need to read through this article. 

Characteristics Of a High Potential Employee

Every high potential employee can be a high performer, but it takes a consistent high performer to be a high potential employee. There are a few traits that make the employees stand out from the crowd. These traits enable them to work efficiently and take charge of their actions and manage the consequences. Here are some traits mentioned below:


Internally motivated and driven towards achieving targets Punctuality to commitments and responsibilities Self clarity and confidence Emotional intelligence to manage their social and personal emotions Attention to the details and vision of future  Enthusiasm for learning and developing Curiosity in the field of mastery and out-of-box thinking ability


Leadership qualities is a must in high potential employees
Skills and abilities to utilize their knowledge
Problem solving and excellent stress management
Social networking and communications are essential
Adaptability and flexibility to cope up with the pace of progress
Team bonding and rapport building skills
Conscientiousness to follow the ethics and workplace etiquettes

Problems While Identifying HiPo Employees

However even with a map in your hand, it is highly unlikely for HR Managers to be able to put a finger on the true high potential of their team. 

According to a HBR research, Out of all the participants in the HIPO programs, 12% were in their organization's bottom quartile of leadership effectiveness. And 42% were below average. That is a long way from the top 5% to which they supposedly belong. Many organizations fail to follow HiPo best practices due to which they experience less productivity at the higher post.

Therefore, some obstructions that arises while identifying the HiPo employees:

Solution For Best High Potential Identification: HI-PO Assessments

As mentioned in the very beginning, the best accurate way to assess your high performing and high potential employees is evaluation through scientific assessments. HiPo assessments not only provides you a 360 degree view of your employees but also keeps a track of progress for the average performers by motivating them to achieve their job goals.

What is a HI-PO Assessment?

This identifies future leaders of the firm and helps you acknowledge their contributions. It is a comprehensive HR tool that helps in assessing the potential and performance of the employees. It gives an insight into the productivity and efficiency of the employees who can be enabled to drive the performance higher in future.

High Potential Test Benefits

  • It provides strength and weakness reports of your high potential employees with suggestive training programs to retain them
  • It helps in developing a succession planning process that is more informed and effective
  • It supports to build a team of business leaders that works well together
  • It enables you to identify the leaders with a stronger sense of purpose will increase employee engagement
  • It establishes and supports a plan for leadership development
  • It assures the best bias-free employee performance reports 
  • It increase your graduate recruitment success

Sum Up

PMaps high potential assessment enables you to keep a track on the employees development and engagement in the company. You can easily access the reports obtained through this scientific evaluation. This compact profile of high potential employees consist of trait based analysis, other employee feedbacks and core skill competency. 

Entrust your worries of HiPo employee identification to PMaps and start structuring your best HiPo programs effectively. Equip your high performers with the best training, tools and opportunity to grow. Rise along with your genuine star employees! 

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Performance Appraisals - Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about performance appraisal commonly asked questions:

Who are high potential employees and why are they important?

High potential employees are individuals with the capability to excel in critical job roles and lead teams effectively. Recognizing and nurturing them is crucial for driving organizational success and fostering innovation.

Why is it difficult to identify and retain high potential employees?

Identifying and retaining high potential employees can be challenging due to their awareness of their value and the competitive job market. Effective talent management strategies are essential to attract and retain top talent.

What are the demands of high potential employees, and why should organizations meet them?

High potential employees often seek opportunities for growth, recognition, and development. Meeting these demands is vital for fostering employee engagement, satisfaction, and long-term retention.

Do high potential assessments like HI-PO Assessment work effectively?

Yes, high potential assessments like HI-PO Assessment play a crucial role in identifying future leaders and guiding talent management decisions. These assessments provide valuable insights that help organizations identify and develop high potential talent effectively.

Resources Related To Test

Related Assessments

High Potential Employees Assessment

25 Min
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Middle Level

Spotlights individuals with exceptional adaptability, innovation, and leadership potential.

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