What makes a high employee potential? Educational background? Technical expertise? Top productivity? The answer is one that continues to elude many managers and organizations, leading to a constant turnover, high training costs, and poor performance. Defining “high potential” then, may well be the first step toward developing the employees most likely to succeed within your organization.

High potential tends to mean different things for the various organizations, but research suggests it refers to the top three to five percent of a company’s personnel who both a) consistently outperform their peers across a multitude of metrics and b) most exemplify the organization’s values and culture. Viewed from within a competency framework, this means a high potential employee is one who best fulfills the core and job-family competencies set by your organization.


So how do you find and develop high-potential employees in a cost-effective and efficient manner? You use an integrated competency framework to build role profiles and then create assessments that compare internal and external candidates against those profiles. This directly addresses two top talent shortage problems: lack of technical competencies and lack of workplace competencies, two areas that together make up more than half of the reasons companies say they can’t fill jobs.


Such an approach also is particularly useful when searching for internal talent to fit an open position – an elusive match that often appears downright impossible. Competency-based job profiles help to improve both retention and performance and to reduce hiring costs by ensuring you are hiring from the start the right people for each position. An integrated talent management system like this also can increase profitability and shareholder returns by as much as 22% according to some studies.


As you can see, it’s easy for your company to move beyond the 54% of organizations that say they can’t adequately fill customer’s needs because of a lack of qualified talent. It is simply a matter of starting with competencies first, and then finding the employees and candidates who are the best fit. With an integrated competency framework, your organization can do exactly that – inexpensively, efficiently, and quickly.