I recently read an article written by a reputed HR professional, I also shared because I found it interesting. The article refers to High Potential employees. I do not think it is appropriate to comment on the article, I can only say that I agree with the written ones. I am not a HR specialist, but by the nature of the duties I have accomplished in recent years, the concern to have a performance team was a constant and perhaps it was the biggest challenge.
I would just like to extend the discussion to other categories of employees. Throughout my career so far, I’ve built teams … smaller, larger, multi-cultural, working in the same place or distributed across multiple countries. I can not say that I have always been successful, nor can it be so. I was helped by HR people (with great experience in our market or internationally) who have a great dedication and love for this job. I was also tangled and sabotaged by HR people. From all of us I learned something and I managed to form my own opinion and experience about what it means to grow and to keep up with performing teams. Maybe you will not like it, maybe you will not agree but I will still describe below what I have learned … :))
I had contact and worked with people who look at the employees of a company as shown in the picture below …
There is a perspective on this subject, we can not deny that. Maybe it’s a very far-east perspective, but I certainly found it in many other companies that do not come from that area of the world.
It is certain that this perspective can help you to get rid of many complications. But it certainly does not help you progress as a company. You can only maintain a certain level of performance (as long as something does not hit you from the outside !!!) and you have the advantage of replacing (almost) anyone at any time. It’s right, you need a super-structured environment …
As a result, no healthy organisation (and by “healthy organisation” I understand an organisation that wants to grow) can not look at employees as in the example in the picture above. And then, normally, we feel the need to differentiate and classify our employees into different categories.
In my career I met the following categories of employees:
These are those who do not have too many professional desires. They want a job as safe as possible, they want to work from 9 to 17 (let’s say 18 because one hour is the lunch break), want to know exactly what they have to do and even do what they have to do. Do not ignore them or disregard them, this category of employees is the foundation on which to build success. As long as you as a manager, you are able to properly manage their expectations regarding the clarity of their role in the organisation and those related to the strict delimitation between job and family, this category of employees will provide the stability that any organisation needs.
These are the most dangerous. In rare cases, they deliver something real (except to boast about how much they can deliver). They still have other qualities … they usually get it very hard and forget it very quickly. And they looks like cats … they have 9 lives. In addition, they always need “secretaries” to do their job, not necessarily because they do not know or want to do it, but because if they make the mistake of assuming responsibility, who else could they blame? And then it would be much harder to escape and they will consume out of the nine lives. That’s why you’d better get rid of them(I hate these words !!!!) if you mistakenly hired them. It is not difficult to identify them, the most will help a proper performance management system.
They are the best of the best in their field at any level. Usually they are not the ones who bring money to the company, but they are certainly those who consume the budgets they have at their disposal with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. And because the famous EBITDA depends equally on revenue and costs, this category of employees can be decisive in getting good results. Choose them with great care and give them the challenges they need. But be careful not to move them to the category above … :))) … there is this danger. Do not move them into positions where they lose touch with their field, do not make them managers … you will find they will not perform anymore. They are the kind of people who say, “Oh, oh, is that database smarter than me?” … get locked for 2 days in a room with that database, and the results are almost always amazing. You do not come to them with arguments like “If we do not solve this problem, we lose money.” They do not care too much about the money … just challenge them in their field of excellence. What is certain, every organisation needs HiPro.
I come back a little to the above mentioned article. If you have the curiosity to read it, you will find out what are the qualities that define a HiPo employee. At the same time, you will realise that this category is also the most difficult to identify. I think any organisation that wants to grow must necessarily identify such people. And this identification must begin even during the recruitment and employment process. If you have a mature and highly-trained organisation, focus your recruitment on HiPro. If you want to grow and have a choice between HiPro and HiPo candidates, choose the HiPo candidate. These people will born the ideas and innovations that will help the company grow. These people will weld your teams and among them you will choose leaders, not managers. Usually, these people do not want fame and functions, but only the framework in which they can bring their ideas to life. Give them this frame and you will not regret it.
Now, a rhetorical question … How many managers have the courage to hire HiPo people? (admitting here that they are sufficiently experienced to identify them). I admit that, personally, I was struck by this situation and I had to struggle quite a bit with me to understand that this is the only way to make the organisation grow and progress. How many managers can successfully apply what is being understood from the quote below?
Regardless of what you want to do with your company or what kind of employees you want, I will give you sincere advice (I have no claim that I can formulate better than Richard Branson, so I suggest to take a look to the next picture !!!).