In modern day business world, every business organisation is looking for employees that can provide them some edge over the others. Such employees are popularly known as Hi-Po (High Potential) employees. Every year, myriads of students with infinite possibilities complete their respective graduation or post-graduation courses to get their coveted entry into the corporate world. The problem is, not all of them have enough fire in the belly to go that extra mile to become a high potential employee. Winnow out the non Hi-Po employees from the entire group of graduates demands certain indispensable skills.

How to distinguish a high potential employee from a medley of mediocre sample space?

As the owner of a business, you would always want your employees to be full of potential and productivity. As only 1 in 7 employees can be classified as Hi-Po, the selection process of such employees from the covey of recently graduated students is a tricky one. According to the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), in a candidate belonging to this category, you would certainly find the following three discernible qualities –


A high potential employee must have aspirations to face new challenges and to take responsibility. They are capable of doing or at least attempting to do every single job assigned to them with cent percent commitment and care. Even if the job is arduous or way beyond their ken, they stand up to the challenge and overcome them by doing research on the topic or taking other necessary initiatives.


Ability is a combination of knowledge, intelligence, and innate character. Many employees possess the former two objects i.e. knowledge and intelligence but lacks character which ultimately hinders them from being 100% productive. But if a person has a strong innate character, they can be helped to acquire enough knowledge to become productive. In an ideal case, you would find all these characteristics in an optimum amount in a single employee.


The engagement of the employees to their job can be determined by three parameters – a) Their intention to stay in your organisation b) Rational and emotional commitment to your business and last but not the least c) Discretionary effort to keep the internal matters of your company internal.

Besides these three major characteristics, there are other qualities that distinguish them from the others such as –

  1. Flexibility to work during any time of the day.
  2. Adaptive ability with the new working environment.
  3. Flexibility to work away from home.

Attracting High Potential Employees:

We are living in an era where everyone is vying for the acme in the market and is determined to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Also, the market and the scenario of the corporate world are changing constantly. In this time of constant vicissitude and cutthroat competition, attracting the best employees is an extremely difficult job. As the results do not always reflect the true quality of a candidate, the best way of attracting and recruiting quality employees is to offer an ingenious and alluring training programme that will help them to achieve their full potential and subsequently to become an asset to your company. Your training programme must focus on the following points to be the most effective –

Assessing the best quality:

Every person has a certain domain in which he/she excels. Finding out that forte of an employee should be the primary concern of your programme because that quality is inherent in that person and it would never fed away like other acquired skills. This forte can be leadership skill, problem-solving skill, motivation for achieving success, incredible dedication, and many other things.

Appreciating the quality:

After you find out your employees forte, your programme must appreciate that quality in them and simultaneously provide them the opportunity for further honing that particular skill set. Your employees will feel ecstatic if their certain abilities receive proper acclamation and more lucrative opportunities.

Providing long term effect:

Make sure that the training programme provided by your organisation takes the bigger picture into account in lieu of making short term profits. The training that you provide must have a long term beneficial effect on your employees.

Providing the right opportunity:

Give your employees the domain where they would flourish most. For example, for managerial position, you must engage someone who has a decent problem solving skills along with a bit leadership skill. Putting your employees in the right place would give them the job satisfaction they desire and also provide your company the necessary edge in this competitive market scenario.

Honing other skills:

To be an employee of the highest quality, one skill is not always enough to get through every impediment. Therefore, besides nurturing the inherent ability of the employees, you need to make sure that the other skills are properly developed as well. It is not necessary, that a person needs to excel at everything but certain abilities are required to a desirable standard along with one strong suit.

Making other beneficial offers:

Besides offering a seamless training facility to your employees, you can provide them with other profitable schemes like life insurance, medical coverage, etc. Everyone appreciates a little extra perks besides their salary. That is why, offers of this kind are very effective in attracting quality candidates to your company.

How to Retain Top Quality Employees:

If you want to retain your position in the market after achieving your coveted goals and to improve further, you must retain your employees that you have previously chosen with accurate screening tests and trained them to elicit their best possible version. Because, if you are unable to retain your employees, other competitive organisations will snatch them from your grasp with better facilities and a more profitable pay scale which would not be a very lucrative outcome. Below, some points are given that you might take into account for the retention of your best employees –

Pay a fair amount:

Make sure that the salary you pay to your employees completely reciprocates the services they offer to your company. You need to keep in mind that the employees must not feel wrongly exploited or deprived of the amount that they deserve. Also, you must understand the threshold limit of ability of every employee and devise an appropriate payment structure accordingly. Furthermore, the performance appraisal procedure should be entirely impartial and every employee must get a fair increment after a certain period of time.

Empathise with your employees:

Money does not always do the trick. There are other important things than monetary support that can increase the productivity of your employees and give them a reason to stay in your organisation as well. For example, a letter of appreciation for someone’s effort, a birthday gift, once in a while picnics for mental recreation, emotional support and empathy for someone’s loss, etc are effective ways to emotionally connect with your skilful employees.

Recognition and Rewards:

No employee should remain unappreciated and unrecognised after their effort and contribution as the smaller contributions ultimately engineer the path to success. Hence, take everyone’s ostensibly little contributions into account and give them the recognition and reward they truly deserve.

Encourage your employees:

Without pushing too much, you should bring a certain amount of exhortation among your employees so that they can ameliorate their performance even more.

Provide an amicable working environment:

Your employees should feel at ease in your working environment rather than feeling under severe duress. Be friendly in your approach to ensure that no employee working in your company finds your working environment hostile or inappropriate for being fully productive.

Leeway to grow:

Offer your employees the freedom to grow as a worker and become more productive for the future assignments.


In this volatile time, attracting and retaining high potential employees is a veritably tricky job. But if you take the aforementioned points and facts into account, this should not seem a difficult task for you.