We’re starting to hear a shift in conversation from engagement to retention. Organizations are getting concerned that their top talent is looking for new opportunities. It makes sense – it’s hard to engage an employee that’s thinking about leaving.
In my experience, when companies realize they need to focus on retention, they start to identify employees who are high potential and high performers. These are employees that companies want to retain. And these are employees that always have opportunities. It almost goes without saying that, if an employee is low performing and low potential, their resignation isn’t felt the same way as a high potential or high performer.
But high potential and high performer are two different things.
High performers are employees who deliver results. The company likes them for that reason. Give them a project and they make things happen. And for that same reason, high performers can often get a reputation for “leaving body bags” with the methods they choose to get things done.
High potential employees have, well, high potential. They are the future. They have many valuable skills that they company likes. But maybe they haven’t completely refined them. It’s possible that high potential employees have developed their skills to become high performing. They just aren’t quite there yet.
Both high performers and high potentials have their pros/cons. The question becomes which ones does the company want to retain? The natural answer would be to say “both!” but it’s possible the retention strategy for high potentials is different than that for high performers. I could see a high performer wanting rewards and recognition for delivering results. A high potential might be looking for professional development to get to the next level. Is the organization prepared to do both?
Companies will want to take a long look at their strategic plan and talent strategy to answer the question. High performers help the company achieve their goals today. High potentials will help the company achieve their goals in the future. High performers might help coach and mentor high potentials. None of this will happen without a well-thought out plan to engage and retain employees.
Image courtesy of HR Bartender3