‘Tis the season for performance appraisals, evaluations, and incentive bonuses. And whether you like them or not, whether they fall into the pro or the con side of your list, performance management programs are generally a part of most organizations.
Sure some of them work. Many of them don’t. And some of them work, but not in the way they were expected to. Kind of like the employees they are meant to review.
I am not interested in going a round on whether your organization, or any organization should have a formal, prescriped and likely biased way of rewarding…I mean incentivizing your employees. What I wanted to hash out is the golden snitch of performance: the HiPo.
Can we pause for one second so that I can just point out how the term (and spelling of) HiPo is so obnoxious. It’s about as annoying as people who text ”k” instead of “ok”. Seriously.
So for the remainder of this post, I will refer to HiPos as high-potentials. Sure it will make the post a little longer, but I am sure you will agree, it will make it slightly less nauseating.
High potentials are what most managers dream of finding. Even better is a high potential that is nurtured from obscurity. Like the undiscovered and untapped star player that all the other coaches overlooked…under the tutilage and guidance of the new manager…behold the high potential that evolves into a high peformer – the trifecta of “aspiration, ability and engagement”
Of course, there is a change that labelling the employee as high potential might actually be a kiss of death…after all, there is no guarantee that they will achieve this potential. That is if you actually tell the employee.
There’s an interesting dynamic at play in many organizations that strive to be high performing. There is a struggle between relying on the consistent high performers to deliver their characteristic high quality work and giving those select few high potentials an opportunity to take shine and possibly go in a new direction.
The risk that comes with going beyond identying someone on a succession chart and giving potential an opportunity to become reality can leave a manager (or organization) vulnerable.
However, there is also risk that comes with not being open to potential which can leave a manager (or organization) vulnerable.
Ultimately, you need to decide whether you feed your high potential or do leave it hungry?