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Do you tell your employees they are high potential?



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HR are often placed in a position where they have to decide if high potential employees should know they have been flagged by management.

At McDonald’s, Shaun Ruming, vice president of human resources and training for APMEA, said while they do not publish a list of high potentials, they do inform employees who are being fast tracked.

“We publish high performers and reward them, but when it comes to high potential employees, it’s a private conversation,” Ruming said.

He said the organisation also maintains open lines of communication with its high potential employees and invests more time with them to help them “navigate their careers one on one”.

However, Stephen Mosely, president and managing director of Hong Kong, Macau and Myanmar at L’Oreal, said his team does not always inform employees they are on the high potential list.

This is because employees perform differently at different stages of their lives, and “we don’t want to demotivate people when we take them off it”.

“What’s more important is twice a year, we do talent reviews and evaluations where we look at everyone, so at any point, our senior managers will have about 50 names of people they personally know can fill the important roles in the organisation,” Mosely said.

Both Ruming and Mosely were speaking at Talent Management 2013 yesterday.

Fellow panel member Mark McCutcheon, general manager of DDI Singapore and Malaysia, said there are three critical steps to getting succession planning right.

First he said to ensure the processes for identifying high potentials are structured and objective, as managers may need a lot of help identifying those employees. Secondly, once the employees have been identified, there needs to be a means to accelerate their growth through processes such as peer training.

“Thirdly, don’t neglect transition management,” McCutcheon said. “It is one of the most stressful things to move from one role to another – 70% of organisations have no processes to help employees move up the leadership ladder,” he said.

Tristam Gray, vice president of human resources SEA and Oceania at Ericsson, added HR cannot be “fixated with checking boxes” when it comes to succession planning because that “only means you’re scratching the surface”.

“Don’t let the process overwhelm the outcome you’re looking for,” Gray said. “There is a lot of confusion between performance and potential, and if you’re not sure what the potential is for, it’s going to be hard to develop those potentials.”Follow the Talent Management 2013 conversation on Twitter at @Mag_HR #TM2013

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