What Science Says About Identifying High-Potential Employees

"What are the key indicators that signal star potential?... As academic reviews noted, the first and most important decision that needs to be made in this regard is to decide “potential for what?”"

Scientific studies have long suggested that investing in the right people will maximize organizations’ returns. In a world of unlimited resources, organizations would surely invest in everyone.

In the real world, however, limited budgets force organizations to be much more selective, which explains the growing interest in high potential (HiPo) identification. If we are going to invest in the right employees, how do we find them? What are the key indicators that signal star potential?

Research points to three general markers of high potential:

  • Ability (Is the individual able to do the job in question?)
  • Social skills (Can this person establish and maintain cooperative working relationships)
  • Drive (is this person motivated to work hard, achieve, and do whatever it takes to get the job done?)


Most organizations could probably upgrade their talent identification processes if they keep things simple and focus on these three generic markers of potential. Investing in these individuals will produce the highest ROI for your company.


Read the full article here: https://hbr.org/2017/10/what-science-says-about-identifying-high-potential-employees


Written by: Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Seymore Adler and Robert B. Kaiser