I read an interesting thread this morning on HR Toolbox titled Should HIPO give way to HIPER? The question was whether there should be a distinction between HIPOs and HIPERs (High Potentials vs High Performance employees). There were good responses indicating that performance was one of many tracked areas of assessing whether an employee is a HIPO.
My take is that we need to pause for a second in determining which employees are HIPOs until we find out whether THEY actually want to be involved in management.
Sales HIPOs: I just Want to Sell!
An example would be to assess the HIPOs in your sales organization. A rep who consistently exceeds his numbers may be perfectly content selling but hate the administrative aspect of managing a sales team. Even if his manager recommends him in a system as a HIPO/HIPER, without objectively learning whether the rep is driven to be in management (he may not know that he doesn’t, if asked directly), the business would waste a lot of money developing someone who’s performance may suffer and would perhaps even leave the organization.
Instead, find out how what the rep cares about and incentivize him accordingly. It may not be the detail-oriented nature of management but he may enjoy a high exposure opportunity instead. The takeaway is to understand what your HIPOs care about before making any decisions on changing staff roles and responsibilities. You can accomplish this via auditing your talent and asking the right questions, covered next.
Audit your Talent Pool by Asking the Right Questions
Organizations seeking to identify HIPO/HIPER employees should audit their organization’s talent to gain an additional layer about their people and a better understanding of what they are driven by. If, for example, there is an existing talent pool of HIPOs, assess objectively to find out whether these pre-designated HIPOs have something in common:
- Are they all results-driven?
- Do they love solving complex problems?
- Do they want high visibility in a selling role, a managerial position, or both?
These answers are important to know because if the HIPO sales rep is driven by results but not advancement, while his manager is driven by both, it would be easy to be fooled into assuming the rep also wants to be a manager. If this assumption is wrong:
- the business wastes resources to develop them
- the rep is unhappy
- sales performance suffers
- the rep leaves the organization to have the opportunity to sell again.
Use Talent Analytics to Align your HIPOs to Strategy
Facilitate a better understanding of your HIPOs by adding Talent Analytics solutions to your High Potential talent audit process. Ask your HIPOs to take the Talent Analytics’ web-based assessment. In 24 minutes you will have insight on the following:
- What do your HIPOs have in common?
- How do your HIPOs naturally make decisions: are they collaborative or aggressive?
- Do they prefer structure and process or will this hinder their performance?
- Are they both results and advancement driven or would their performance perhaps suffer in a managerial role?
- How do your Sales HIPOs compare to your Engineering HIPOs?
Having the data ahead of time can save valuable time and money preparing the wrong people for leadership positions. Get in touch to learn how.
Mike Kennedy is a Technical Evangelist at Talent Analytics, Corp. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.