Most Firms Know Their HiPos

SEATTLE, WA (December 4, 2007) - If you want to be groomed for a leadership position, then it pays to be viewed as a "high-potential" employee, or "HiPo," for short, according to a recent study conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). The study found that 69% of the 469 responding organizations have a high-potential assessment process in place, and most of those organizations (70%) say that a development plan is part of that process.

"Employees who want new development opportunities would do well to try to convince their organizations that they're packed with potential," says i4cp Senior VP of Research Jay Jamrog. "That's where companies focus a lot of their attention and resources."

The survey also found, however, that organizations are much less diligent about measuring the effectiveness of their HiPo assessment programs. A little fewer than half (47%) of those with such programs said they track the effectiveness of their assessment process.

"It's a good news/bad news type of scenario," says Jamrog. "The good news is that companies are identifying and assessing HiPos, which is crucial in an era when leadership churns rates are pretty high and when Baby Boomers are thinking harder and harder about retirement. The bad news is that a lot of organizations don't really know how effective their HiPo assessments are today."

Organizations could do better in the areas of both development and metrics, suggests Leadership Pillar Director for i4cp, Dr. Mary Key. "The probability that HiPos will leave sooner rather than later is mounting since job and career changes are prevalent in the workforce. The best companies provide opportunities on the spot and assess their effectiveness on an ongoing basis."

Organizations should be able to quickly address any shortcomings in their programs because the vast majority retain control over the process. The study found that most companies prefer to keep the programs in-house, with 83% electing not to outsource the HiPo assessment process.

What do organizations expect from their programs? According to one respondent, expectations center on the "creation of a robust talent pool to achieve our current and future business objectives" and on retaining and developing "high performing employees to reduce our reliance on external hiring for management level roles." Skill-identification is also important. Another respondent pointed to the need to "discover strengths and weaknesses" and to identify technical, professional and soft skills. In short, most expectations are linked to the identification and development of talent, bench strength and skills.

The High Potential Assessment Practitioner Consensus Survey was conducted by i4cp, in conjunction with, in November 2007.

About i4cp, inc.

Building on the 35-year history of its predecessor (the Human Resource Institute), the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp.) improves corporate productivity through a combination of research, community, tools and technology focused on the management of human capital. With more than 100 leading organizations as members, including many of the best-known companies in the world, i4cp draws upon one of the industry's largest and most experienced research teams and executives-in-residence to produce more than 10,000 pages annually of rapid, reliable and respected research and analysis surrounding all facets of the management of people in organizations. Additionally, i4cp identifies and analyzes the upcoming major issues and future trends that are expected to influence workforce productivity and provides member clients with tools and technology to execute leading-edge strategies and "next practices" on these issues and trends. i4cp is a for-profit company with its headquarters in Seattle, WA, and research offices in St. Petersburg, FL.

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Greg Pernula
Membership Services Director, i4cp, inc.
(727) 345-2226