The Importance of Identifying High Potential Employees for Succession Planning and HR Strategy

by | Jun 26, 2024 | Management

In today’s business landscape, the success (and sustainability) of an organization heavily depends on its ability to identify and nurture future leaders. High Potential Employees (HiPos) are those individuals within an organization who exhibit the potential to grow and succeed in higher roles. Identifying HiPos and incorporating their development into a comprehensive HR strategy is crucial for effective succession planning and long-term organizational success.


Why HiPos Matter


Ensuring Leadership Continuity

One of the primary reasons for identifying HiPos is to ensure leadership continuity. Organizations must have a pipeline of capable leaders ready to step into key roles as needed. HiPos are groomed for leadership positions, ensuring that there is always a pool of qualified candidates who can take on leadership responsibilities with minimal disruption.


Driving Organizational Success

HiPos are typically high performers who consistently exceed expectations and contribute significantly to the organization’s success. Their innovative thinking, problem-solving abilities, and strategic mindset are invaluable assets. By focusing on the development of HiPos, organizations can harness their talents to drive growth, improve efficiency, and maintain a competitive edge.


Retaining Top Talent

Investing in the development of HiPos is also a powerful retention strategy. When employees see that their potential is recognized and that there are clear pathways for career advancement, they are more likely to remain engaged and committed to the organization. This reduces turnover and the associated costs of hiring and training new employees.


Enhancing Organizational Agility

In an increasingly dynamic business environment, organizational agility is paramount. HiPos are often highly adaptable and capable of taking on various roles and responsibilities. Their ability to pivot and manage change effectively makes them valuable assets in ensuring that the organization can respond swiftly to market shifts and emerging opportunities.


Strategies for Identifying HiPos


Performance Reviews and Metrics

Regular performance evaluations are essential in identifying HiPos. Organizations should use a combination of objective metrics and qualitative assessments to identify employees who consistently outperform their peers and demonstrate strong leadership potential.


360-Degree Feedback

Gathering feedback from peers, subordinates, and supervisors provides a comprehensive view of an employee’s abilities and potential. HiPos often stand out in these assessments due to their strong interpersonal skills and the respect they command from colleagues.


Talent Assessment Tools

Psychometric assessments, personality tests, and other talent assessment tools can help identify the traits and behaviors associated with high potential. These tools provide valuable insights into an employee’s learning agility, emotional intelligence, and leadership capabilities.


Special Projects and Stretch Assignments

Providing HiPos with opportunities to take on challenging projects or assignments beyond their current role is a practical way to assess and develop their potential. Those who excel in these situations are likely candidates for future leadership positions.


Integrating HiPo Development into HR Strategy


Career Development Plans

Individualized career development plans should be created for HiPos, outlining clear pathways for progression within the organization. These plans should include specific development goals, training programs, and mentoring opportunities.


Leadership Development Programs

Organizations should invest in comprehensive leadership development programs designed to equip HiPos with the skills and knowledge needed for higher roles. These programs can include formal training, workshops, coaching, and rotational assignments.


Succession Planning

HiPos should be central to the organization’s succession planning efforts. Regular succession planning discussions should be held to identify potential future leaders and ensure they are prepared to step into critical roles when necessary.


Mentorship and Coaching

Mentorship and coaching programs are invaluable in developing HiPos. Experienced leaders can provide guidance, share insights, and help HiPos navigate their career paths, ensuring they are ready for future leadership challenges.


Performance Management

A robust performance management system that includes regular feedback, performance reviews, and goal setting is essential for monitoring the progress of HiPos. This ensures they are continually developing and are on track to achieve their career objectives.



Identifying High Potential Employees (HiPos) is crucial for any organization aiming to build a strong leadership pipeline and ensure long-term success. Developing your HiPos is a vital component of any effective HR strategy. HiPos ensure leadership continuity, drive organizational success, and enhance agility. By integrating HiPo development into succession planning and HR strategies, organizations can build a strong leadership pipeline that supports long-term growth and sustainability. Investing in HiPos not only secures the future of the organization but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement and excellence.

Do you know who your HiPos are? Contact us at TSERGAS Human Capital to learn more about how our thorough organizational review services that can assist your business in identifying and developing your HiPos for your company’s long-term success. Email: [email protected].

Effie Tsergas

Founding Principal, Managing HR Director

Effie has been a champion of positive organizational behavior for over thirty years. She founded TSERGAS Human Capital over 10 years ago. Aside from her “effervescent” personality and unwavering commitment to HR best practices, Effie is well-known for her work with some of the top legal firms in Canada. She assists clients across various industries with everything from targeted, direct recruitment, strategic human resources planning; and change management initiatives. With a wealth of experience in human resources, workplace investigations, law, public relations, and marketing communications, Effie is a seasoned strategist with expertise you can bank on.