Project Management

How to Manage High Potential Employees

What is a high potential employee? According to Naveed Ahmed for IT Service Project Management, they are someone who is consistently outperforming their peers and who may be looking to change jobs within the next year. But it’s more than just the money. They want greater challenges, opportunities, risks, and rewards too. In short, better be on your toes if this describes someone in your employ.

Techniques to Retain the High Performer

So how to reign in this elusive creature who might soon flee to another company, who could replace you as soon as work for you? Well, for starters, you might try praise. A little stroke of the ego goes a long way for someone of this type. Or, to improve their morale, you could begin to involve them in the planning of their own development. Ahmed recommends the following:

…you should figure out ways to get them connected. High potentials like getting involved in planning their development instead of being told what to do and how to do it.
You should opt for real dialogues, where both of your interests are balanced. You should create a direct and continuous conversation. 

“Getting involved” translates to challenging tasks and responsibility. Passing the proverbial ball to a high performer will communicate your trust and approval. If they know they are a star player, all the more reason to stay on the team. High performers love to be in control – but for your sake, not too much control.

Being Humble, Careful with High Performers

It is recommended that you find them an advisor, if possible. Being honest and humble about your own limitations for growing their potential is crucial if the goal is to keep them satisfied with their work. You might additionally seek the endorsement of your supervisor before fast-tracking this talented person. Your supervisor can help you draft a plan for the individual that fits within the parameters of the organization. Oh, and another word of advice, do not feel disappointed if high performers inevitably fly the coup. It’s just the nature of this high potential beast.

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