Identifying
High Potential

Building Your Future Talent Pipeline

At Mercer Talent Enterprise, we define high potential leaders as those who have the capacity, mindset and drive to exponentially contribute to the success of their organisation.

They are ‘force multipliers’ raising the bar for others and particularly for their direct reports and teams.

Only 4 of every 10 high performers are also high potential.

Separating Fact from Fiction.

Some Truths and Myths About High Potentials

Past performance is not always an indicator of future potential.

Research by Mercer Talent Enterprise establishes that only 4 of every 10 high performers are also high potential.

Hence, organisation’s should refrain from using performance ratings or manager recommendations as part of any talent identification process.

Conversations around ready now, ready in 1-2 years may not be the best talent strategy.

While high potential talent may be driven to advance their own career, they always put the needs of the organisation’s before their own.

An overemphasis on their individual readiness and career growth without clarity on how they would achieve organisational growth is inconsistent and incomplete.

Most people focussed organisation’s should already know who their Hi-Po’s are.

Organisation’s with robust people and talent processes should already know who their current high potentials are. Your current high potentials will be vocal and visible.

The key objective of any good high potential program is to identify the “Shy-Po’s” – those hidden and under-represented pools of talent who may be less visible.

Define Your Purpose.

Clearly Articulate the Objectives and Outcomes from Any Talent Identification Process

Potential

Po.ten.tial
  1. capable of being but not yet in existence
  2. Latent
  3. having possibility, capability
  4. An inherent ability or capacity for growth, development, or coming into being

– Merriam Webster Dictionary

The very definition of potential helps us appreciate that assessing human behaviour is complex, especially when we are seeking to identify future talent.

It requires a multi-faceted approach to identifying potential. It is absolutely critical to ensure that the assessment criteria and program objectives are clearly articulated before starting any talent assessment project.

Defining Heigh Potential.

At The Mercer Talent Enterprise, we define high potential leaders as those who have the innate talent as well as the future capacity to exponentially impact the success of their organisation. They are ‘role models’ and ‘force multipliers’ raising the bar for others, and particularly for their direct reports. 

A high potential employee is someone with the ability, engagement, and aspiration to rise to and succeed in more senior, critical positions 

High potential is defined concretely as “your capacity to step into a role that is two levels or more above the one you currently hold.”

“High potentials consistently and significantly outperform their peer groups in a variety of settings and circumstances. While achieving these superior levels of performance, they exhibit behaviors that reflect their companies’ culture and values in an exemplary manner. 

Moreover, they show a strong capacity to grow and succeed throughout their careers within an organisation – more quickly and effectively than their peer groups do.”

The Four Critical Dimensions of Assessing High Potentials.

Based on research by Mercer Talent Enterprise, assessment of future potential is complex and multi-faceted, and requires a multi-modal approach to ensure that the process is objective, robust and future-proofed.

Mercer Talent Enterprise’s proprietary approach to assessing high potential talent includes four crucial dimensions.

Representative Tools Used in Assessing High Potentials.

Tools may vary based on level of seniority, project purpose as well as client requirements.

Our Research on Critical Strengths and Behaviours Demonstrated by High Potential Leaders.

Analysing data of over 62,000 managers and leaders, representing a global workforce of over half a million employees, Mercer Talent Enterprise has identified critical individual behaviours and attributes that predict high potential leaders and high performing teams.

26%

Higher Growth Mindset

21%

greater Resilience in dealing with setbacks and challenges

21%

higher Efficacy and a Personal Agency to get things done

High Potential
Leaders Step Up.

High Potential Leaders Focus On Others.

High Potential Leaders Are Resilient.

High Potential Leaders Are Purpose Driven.

High Potential Leaders Are Committed.

Representative Tools Used in Assessing High Potentials.

Tools may vary based on level of seniority, project purpose as well as client requirements.

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High potential talent assessment is a complex and multi-faceted process, which should include assessment of both innate and demonstrated potential.

The Mercer Talent Enterprise’s proprietary approach to talent assessment is based on a best-in-class mixed methods, multi-modal approach established through extensive research and data insights
POTENTIAL
SCORE
SHAPE
Leadership Level
(6 – 8 Hours)
Raven’s APM III
The Thriving Index® (TI)
Leadership Derailer Index® (LDI)
Work Perspective Index® (WPI)
Alignment Perspective Index®
1-1 Executive Assessment
360 / Multi-Rater, Case Study, Role Play, In-Depth Behavioural Interview etc.
GUIDE
Experienced Manager Level
(6 – 8 Hours)
AGILE L2
The Thriving Index® (TI)
Leadership Derailer Index® (LDI)
Work Perspective Index® (WPI)
Alignment Perspective Index®
2-4 Executive Assessment
360 / Multi-Rater, Case Study, Role Play, In-Depth Behavioural Interview etc.
APPLY
Individual Contributor Level
(4 – 6 Hours)
AGILE L1
The Thriving Index® (TI)
Work Perspective Index® (WPI)
Alignment Perspective Index®
2-4 Executive Assessment
360 / Multi-Rater, Case Study, Role Play, In-Depth Behavioural Interview etc.

HIGH POTENTIAL OUTCOMES.

By deploying a multi-modal assessment approach, The Mercer Talent Enterprise has established a best-in-class, scientific, evidence-based approach to talent assessments, high potential identification and succession planning, powered by data analytics, AI and the most progressive assessment technology. 

Client References.