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7 ways to recognize high-potential employees for your organization

When you can identify high potential employees you'll be able to maximise your entire team's output, here's how.

September 29, 2020
Kelly Barcelos
September 7, 2022

Think about all the employees that work in your organization. Now, among them, how many of them truly stand out for you?

You can probably identify them separately as someone who is great at management or someone who grows while taking the team along with them.

Today, it’s going to be all about those top achievers!

People who have the ability to work as great leaders are known as high-potential employees.

What Are High-Potential Employees?

A high-potential employee (HIPO) consistently outperforms their colleagues in various settings.

They have the necessary skills for proper leadership and management.

They’re someone who’ll exceed the expectations and succeed in senior roles with their abilities and aspirations to rise above.

HIPOs have a hunger for growth and find new opportunities consistently.

Companies benefit from these employees as they add 91% more value to the company than the average employee.

What Is the Importance of High-Potential Employees?

High-potential employees can prove to be the most valuable assets to your organization.

In addition they are also important for building a positive employer branding strategy because high performers attract more high performers.

How Can You Identify High-Potential Employees?

The challenge of identifying HIPOs is that every organization has their own unique norms for how defines potential.

There are no set criteria for what determines the best factor in becoming a high-potential employee.

So how can you prevent talent to be underutilized or even ignored?

You need to understand that every individual is different. Not every skilled and high-performing employee can have the potential to become a great leader.

And by the definition of a HIPO, leadership must be running in the employees’ blood.

Hence, remember that not every high-performing employee can be a high-potential employee.

So, to help identify them, below some things to pay particular attention to.

HIPO's are:

1. Success driven

Yes, being career-driven and focusing on personal success is important, but thinking about the company’s growth sets a normal employee apart from a high-potential employee.

They aim to achieve exceptional work and contribute to overseeing the company’s overall success.

2. Eager to engage in new projects

Everyone keeps running away from extra workload and responsibilities. But this is what makes a high-potential employee different than a normal one.

HIPOs have the hunger to take on new projects with added responsibilities.

They don’t view it as a burden but rather as an opportunity to grow and become a valuable asset to the company as well.

They aim to grow from new projects, develop their skills and present themselves in the best


3. Strategic decision-makers

Long-term goals drive the organization. HIPOs possess the ability to make decisions wisely with proper planning.

They aim to think about the future and make realistic long-term goals that align with broader growth opportunities.

4. Proactive in situations that ask for leadership

Only possessing the hunger to grow and eagerness to learn isn’t enough.

A high-potential employee always makes it a point to take the initiative without being spoon-fed everything.

They come forward to learn new things and take the lead.

5. Effective at managing stress

Resilience is a powerful tool that every leader possesses.

Situations can become dodgy at times, and a deserving leader must handle them calmly.

Their minds should work sanely without thinking about the stress.

They take challenging situations as growth opportunities and not hurdles.

6. Flexible

Every business has to work at high-speed to thrive in the existing competition.

A HIPO is extremely flexible to survive this successfully and quickly adapts as changes come and go.

They will make necessary changes in the existing pattern where demanded.

7. Relationship builders

Leaders cannot only think about themselves.

They need to think about everyone in the team and ensure they motivate employees to boost their productivity.

A good leader always ensures a positive relationship with the team members to keep them engaged.


High-potential employees are required in every organization for success. They bring more value to the table and go the extra mile to work harder, ultimately benefiting the company.

But many hiring managers fail to notice them and let them go. Keep these points in mind, so you don’t miss out on their talent.

Moreover, as an HR, it’s your responsibility to retain HIPOs, by keeping them happy and fulfilling their requirements.

Give them constant feedback and coach them so that they can improve by building strength, exploring new things, and enhancing resilience.


This is a guest blog by Kelly Barcelos. Kelly is a progressive digital marketing manager specializing in HR and is responsible for leading Jobsoid’s content and social media team. When Kelly is not building campaigns, she creates content and initiates PR. She started with Jobsoid as a social media strategist and eventually took over the entire digital marketing team with her innovative approach and technical expertise.

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