Do You Have a Program in Place to Retain High Potential Employees?

Julie Shenkman
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High potential employees, among a company’s greatest assets, are highly skilled and experienced and have the aptitude and aspirations to take their company in a positive direction. They are also engaged in the company’s culture and industry. If you don’t have a program to retain these employees or aren’t sure if your program is effective, keep the following four strategies in mind.

Identifying Your Top Talent

You may have recruited a great team, but not everyone has the same set of attributes. High potential employees have demonstrable skills in important areas of the business, and the more skills they possess, the more valuable they become to the company. They also have experience in leading others. They know their company or industry well and garner respect from others around them due to this knowledge base. These employees are ambitious, and they seek opportunities to develop further in their field. They are tenacious and do not give up at the first sign of adversity. Their engagement in the company, by volunteering for projects, mentoring other team members or leading outside activities, helps them connect more deeply with the company and solidifies their commitment to helping it succeed. When you're familiar with the attributes of high potential employees, you are well-positioned to provide regular recognition of their service, which can result in greater job satisfaction and higher self-esteem.

Rewarding High Potential Employees

The old adage “give credit where credit is due” directly applies here. To deliver that credit and provide further encouragement and thanks, offer rewards and incentives through employee recognition programs or flexible work schedules. Rewards can be performance-based or behavior-based, depending on the metrics you use to track employee productivity or behavior. If funding is an issue, consider recognizing an employee’s efforts by touting his achievements on the company’s social media accounts or website. Hold office parties or other celebrations to show high potential employees how valuable they are to your company. Other innovative ideas include using apps such as YouEarnedIt, which give companies the chance to reward employees for a job well done.

Challenging Your Top Talent

Retaining your high potential employees also means challenging them. These employees have high learning agility and aspirations. You want to continue motivating them by offering opportunities for special duties, expanded responsibilities and difficult assignments that stimulate their drive for success. Push their potential by giving them chances to surpass company goals. Remember to provide a supportive environment as you encourage these challenges.

Promoting High Potential Employees

If you have the financial means and the corporate structure to achieve it, promote employees who show a high potential for success. The promotion process can involve coaching and mentoring from those in higher positions in the company, as well as certification or training opportunities. Encouraging high potential employees to seek out these opportunities is another way of challenging them to aspire higher in the organization. Professional development can also lead to increased job satisfaction and a higher likelihood of retaining employees who show the greatest chances of success.

High potential employees may leave your company for better opportunities. However, if you have a plan in place to recognize their potential and reward it, you have a greater chance of retaining them and helping your company achieve success.

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