How to Retain High Potential Employees? (Retain HiPo)

High Potential employees or simply called HiPo’s bring great value to their organization. However, this rare group of potential leaders is hard to find and even harder to retain without the right processes in place. Surprisingly, many companies invest a lot of money into recruiting highly potential employees but do so little to retain them. At a time when talent is so crucial, organizations must put strategies in place to avoid losing the people with the most value to your business. Here are 3 strategies for retaining HiPo’s that you should be thinking about today.

High Potential employees play a significant role in one’s company. Their competence can effectively increase the company’s return in investment, but losing them would impact the company greatly. So, retaining these top talents is vital 

If you know How to identify High potential Employees, you will also see that they constantly chase after new opportunities for their career growth. Although investing in high potential employees is ideal, retaining them for the long run is inevitable.

Click here to download free Ultimate Guide to HIPO Identification

Once HiPo employees find their job fruitless, they start hunting for jobs. They can never fail to amaze an employer who wanted to scout for High potential and high performing employees

Before we address the ways on how to retain your HiPo employees, let’s begin by taking a step back and equitably analyze the causes of voluntary resignation in your company. The primary step you’ll take to avoid your HiPo employees from leaving is by examining the reasons that might kindle them to write their resignation letter. It is here that many leaders also deduce that employees mainly leave because of remuneration, this is not true. 89% of bosses wrongly believe their employees quit because they want more money when only 12% of employees leave their job because they want more money. The reasons for high potential employees leaving goes much deeper than pay. 

So, what could be the possible reason these top talents are quitting? And here, we identify three common issues that caused top skills from leaving the job.

Key Insights:

  • Lack of Growth
  • ‘Bossy’ Boss
  • Lack of Recognition

1. Lack of Growth

One of the main reasons top performers leave is because they feel their career advancement isn’t going as planned or that the organization they are currently in does not provide a potential path to grow. This as well does not only mean in terms of job titles as HiPo’s by nature need to see growth in an organization either professionally or personally. Companies can fail in this area in two ways, either not actively building a career path for HiPo’s or not communicating learning opportunities properly to HiPo’s. A study by Willis Towers Watson shows that Over 70% of “high-retention-risk” employees want to leave because they see no future advancement in the current job. The benefits from developing and communicating a clear learning and advancement path for HiPo’s is that the more they grow, the more value they bring to their organization, in fact, research shows that the value of a HiPo employee linearly grows with job level. Learn about potential traps when designing leadership development programs and how to avoid them (here) Link to blog.

2. ‘Bossy’ Boss:

Though everyone at the company works towards the same goal, the pace and strategy differ from one another. It applies to a newbie to high-potential employees. Thus, the managers or heads are appointed to pacify the process. 

 These employees don’t quit from their companies, but they quit from their managers; They don’t leave their employments but their bosses.  These employees do not willingly work for a boss who puts their career prospects and special openings at risk at the cost of one unfortunate situation. The manager impacts so much of an employee’s work involvement.

 A study shows that managers account for a percentage of 70 for the engagement of employees yet 39% of workers in a study of turnover said that their managers failed to keep promises, while 37%  reported that their bosses didn’t give them credit for hard work.

3. Lack of Recognition  

Your HiPo’s are often your top performers as well, and according to the Harvard Business Review, top performers can be 400% more productive than average performers. Your top performers are well aware of how much more work they’re doing than everyone else, but are companies aware? High potential performers are driven to excel, but they want to be recognized. If their contributions aren’t recognized in your organization, they’ll excel in someone else’s. In addition to wanting to be recognized for their outstanding contributions, your top performers also want feedback. While companies assume no one craves negative feedback, your star performers want to know what they can do differently or better, and they appreciate the positive feedback. In addition to wanting feedback, they want it regularly. Most employees resent having to wait a year or more for a performance review that may focus on no-longer relevant issues, and your top performers are no different.

Although we have uncovered the cause of why the high potential employees leave their job, these are only a few out of the numerous reasons. Let us now address the ways on how to retain a HiPo employee.

Key Insights:

  • Recognize
  • Develop
  • Nurture

1. RECOGNIZE High Potential Employees

High-potential employees need to know that somebody values the commitments they make towards the company. By recognizing their work and reaffirming their significance to the organization, companies communicate that they are esteemed. On the off chance that they feel like they are being treated as an expendable resource, they may look for another boss that will appreciate them or get to be separated as a way of putting the passionate gap between themselves and their work.

Compliment their work

A study reveals the percentage of the difference between high potential employees whose work was complimented and not.

  • Only 14% searched for another job after their work being consistently complimented.
  • But 33% searched for another after their bosses failed to complement their work.

Reaffirm their value within the community

Embrace your top talents because in case you don’t, somebody else will. Don’t let your top skills feel disown. They cater to you with potentiality, making them an asset for the company’s successful growth. The relentless hard-workers firmly deserve your recognition.


High potential employees know what they need from an advancement program and they keep their wants in alignment with the company targets. This means that with a targeted and personalized development approach, upskilling your HiPo’s competencies and knowledge will automatically upgrade your organizational performance

Impart advancement possibility

When an employee is a HiPo, they seek to receive centered training and improvement as early as conceivable. Preparing a list of the high potential employees into a “progression pipeline” helps them get ready for future leadership roles. This is not only fundamental in creating organizational progression but also in retaining the talented people in the organization.

Pave the way for career’s success

HiPos are highly motivated and already have a goal for their career. However, they may need help to climb up the career ladder. This is when the employer enters and shows them the key and route to their goal. In most cases, the “key” should be the employer! When High Potential employees are given the right “chair” their perseverance will do the rest for a company’s growth.


An experienced coach can be a colossal resource to a high-potential employee. Not only can they go to a coach for counsel and direction, but their coach can also provide them with an illustration of how they can develop. Showing value to your top talents requires the employer to nurture them. 

Consistent Feedback

Management is the structured, formal way in which you grow and develop your direct reports. Mentorship is less formal, less structured, and more about coaching and feedback than it is orders and direction. HiPo’s need to be led in a mentorship style of leadership because they crave constant feedback. Once they are aware of their high level of work performance, they then seek newness and challenge motivates high-potential employees, so it’s important to ensure they have goals to strive towards and that these goals are reassessed for relevance and level of stretch regularly. Setting HiPo employees up with multiple mentors in fact can help accelerate their growth and get the different perspectives from a leader outside of their immediate team or function. 

Want to learn more about how High Performance does NOT mean High Potential? Read here now.


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