Across the business world today, there is a mad race going on to select and develop HIPOs within an organization. In case you’re not familiar with HIPOs, they are the high potential employees, the rising stars in a company. There is an even more dramatic event taking place as talent management experts and HR specialist are trying to delineate the best time to tell a HIPO, “You are now a HIPO.” The arguments on the “should we tell them” or “should we not tell them” sides of the equation both have their merits.
Currently 67% of organizations who have embraced the HIPO trend do not tell the candidate when they are selected as a HIPO. For these unknowing lucky individuals it must be like being in “The Secret Society” of all secret societies – so much so, it’s even a secret that you made the grade. This approach must be highly motivating.
Why the cloak of secrecy? Hmmmm, this is strictly my opinion I believe these are the reasons why:
- Fear of creating an entitlement culture
- Fear of setting unrealistic expectations
- Fear of setting selection criteria
- Fear of legal issues (discrimination)
- Fear of relationship damage
All of these fears could be legitimate if the organization fails to properly structure and administrate a HIPO selection and development program.
33% of organizations playing the HIPO card tell the candidate when selected. Why do they take this different path? Again this is my opinion:
- They have well-defined selection criteria.
- They set clear expectations with candidates.
- They have strong candidate development programs in place.
- That have formalized HIPO contracts.
- They simply have confidence because of preparation and process.
Be Candid and Transparent
It is also my opinion that being open and candid is always better. The Secret Society approach is almost like “a whisper culture” where people are left to wonder and worry about the process. I believe this has an adverse affect on culture.
Team members appreciate knowing the rules, the criteria, and the selection process guidelines. Confidence grows in your organization when your openness grows. Let them in on the secret, “We think you are great and have the potential to be amazing.”
The Talent Race
You must recruit the best, train them to be even better, and retain them afterwards to be competitive in today’s marketplace. Invest heavily in your recruiting, training, and development processes. If you don’t, your great recruits will become your competitor’s future super star performers.
Did you ever want to be a part of that club, you know the one…with all the secret handshakes and membership criteria? Well, it sounds like you have a 67% chance of joining one if you are in fact a HIPO in someone’s eyes.
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