Many Companies Are Letting Their Most Promising Employees Get Away
There’s a growing awareness in business that some employees possess hard-to-spot hidden potential for helping a company succeed. The question is how can management identify them, develop them, and retain them? And because of that last point, the entire process is a ticking time bomb, since when talented employees feel under-appreciated, they leave.
The whole story is told in the results of a just-released survey conducted by HR consultants Penna. They surveyed 1,000 employees and 1,000 managers across the United Kingdom to find out what companies are doing to develop and hold onto their high-potential employees. Short answer: Not much. Eight out of ten companies are not doing anything to identify and develop employees’ potential, even though employees stay longer at companies that appreciate them.
On the management side, though 81% of managers think developing potential in their talented employees is very important, 30% said their company has no precise definition of what constitutes potential, and therefore no way to assess it. 79% said they know what it is, but have no processes or tools in place to identify potential. Another 31% felt they had no upper-management support for spotting those special workers, with a quarter of the managers feeling like it isn’t a priority for their company. The survey also found that when companies do search for hidden potential, they look only at 25–34 years olds, even when that age group represents a minority of their staff.
As for the employees, 24% claimed they had no clue if their bosses think they have potential or not. That’s too bad because 71% said they’d be more likely to stick around if they felt the company recognized what they had going for them. It’s a real issue for 37% of the respondents that their companies have no mechanism for discovering potential. And even when hidden gold is struck, only 23% said their bosses have done a thing to develop it.