Stretchability – The New Must-Have HiPo Trait

High Potential Employees, or simply HiPos, are often called an organisation’s diamonds in the rough. This is because whilst high performing employees are easy to spot, HiPos need to be searched for. But once discovered and taken care of correctly, bring high value to their organisation. In fact, HiPos are said to bring more than twice the ROI as average employees do. But, organisations often miss HiPos due to not knowing what traits make a HiPo therefore overlooking potential employee’s. Here, we explore 5 traits to look for when identifying HiPos, and introducing 1 new trait – Strectchability –  necessary in a world post Covid-19.

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Key Insights:

  • Stretchability
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability
  • Preeminence
  • Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ)

1. Stretchability

HiPos as compared to average employees are comfortable being stretched, meaning, they are comfortable with the idea of working outside their comfort zone. In direct contrast, high performers do not like the idea of being stretched because it may potentially jeopardize their current performance. HiPos enjoy regular opportunities to test their ‘limits’ – to see what they are capable of achieving when they use their strengths productively in different ways. This provides organizations with an opportunity to get more work achieved with the same resources. These resources stretch to achieve more output without a risk of them burning out or leaving. Additionally, because HiPos already possess a high sense of adaptability, the speed at which they begin performing in stretch roles becomes faster.

2. Leadership

Leadership is a trait that whilst can be taught, takes a long and expensive development process which companies often have no time or budget for. HiPos have an inert ability to lead a group of individuals that can easily be groomed therefore making it faster for them to adopt leadership roles and perform much faster. Having this inert trait also means that when challenges arise and problems need to be solved, HiPo employees want the chance to step up to the plate. They are looking for growth opportunities and are generally not afraid to take on something new.  To this end, they see each new responsibility or task as a stepping stone and the opportunity to make an impact. They also do not only depend on a single style of leadership with the understanding that this approach may not be the best to foster results. Organisations often find HiPos to be more collaborative in their leadership in which they build trust and consensus within their teams.

3. Adaptability

A constantly evolving business environment can make it hard for employees to maintain their level of performance. Even in a business that remains fairly constant, changing or developing employees among roles brings about evolution. For example, the skills required to be a great civil engineer are very different from those needed by a senior leader in a civil engineering firm. This is where you need employees with high adaptability, and HiPos possess this. Adaptability refers to the ability to rapidly learn new skills and behaviours in response to evolving circumstances. It is so important in fact, recruitment experts Michael Page named adaptability as the most desirable skill of 2019 and LinkedIn place it in the top four for 2020. HiPos are valuable to a company due to their adaptability because companies can look to them when roles suddenly need to be filled, both laterally or vertically, and HiPos are able to take this one without compromising results. However, because this trait is so valuable, HiPos can also adapt to perform in any organisation, hence, their companies risk losing them if they aren’t identified quick enough.

4. Preeminence

High potential employees are very ambitious. They keep on setting high goals for themselves, their career, and also for the company they are working in; with these, we can consider them as victory front liners. They, too, showcase a strong work ethic consistently. This kind of employee is expected, dynamic, and proactive. They can effectively possess ingenuity, tending to needs, and concerns even without particular instruction from their boss. Such advancement makes a difference so your organization can get and remain ahead. So, getting the want to require activity may be a key advantage of contracting and recognizing HiPos. Moreover, they will display the readiness to take additional obligation, confront provocations, and bear both mental and physical distress as portion and allocate of succeeding in a high demanding work part. All this was/is repeating necessities for brief due dates and erratic assignments.

5. Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ)

In a world powered by data driven decisions, we also need human-centric communication. Good leaders understand that whilst their decision is backed by data to make it objective and unbiased, the manner to which they communicate needs to have a human touch. This is where Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ) becomes vital. HiPo employees possess this ability to legitimately see feelings and respond in like manner is vital to maintain neighborly and productive interpersonal connections. One of the most overlooked factors when companies seek to promote high-performers is will they have the EIQ to take on bigger roles, often, this is because performance is easy to measure at scale by EQ is not. However, HiPos and their EQ are critical as one study conducted by a company in Dallas to compare the productivity levels between employees with low EQs and those with high EQs discovered that workers with high emotional intelligence were 20 times more productive than those with low scores.

In Conclusion

Almost anything that sounds positively enticing surely has a downside, just like being a high potential employee. It is incredible/great to be acknowledged for what you’ll be able to do and how you possibly/might contribute to your company’s success, however, having a potentially high status comes at a cost. Once these individuals lost their enthusiasm, they might probably expel themselves deliberately or by default. Studies show that some potentially high individuals are not ensured, and researchers have found out that whether or not by choice, the percentages of drop off ranges from about 5% to 20% yearly. But, the fact remains that investing in those people will produce a high return on investment.


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