Who Are High Potential Employees, and How Do You Identify Them?

In every organisation, certain employees would stand apart from the team. This might not seem like anything, since there is bound to be a difference in the employee’s performance with every team. But looking closely, you might find that such employees always shine in their duties. The reasons for them standing apart might be different, but as an employer, you must identify these high potential employees of your organisation.


Who Are High Potential Employees?

high potential employees are those employees who are ambitious in their roles and possess the necessary skills for a leadership role. These employees take new initiatives and excel in their current positions. 

To put it in simple terms, if identified and groomed well, these high potential employees have the necessary qualifications to become your organisation’s future leaders. 


High potential Employees vs. High-Performing Employees

Often, high potential employees and high-performing employees are confused with each other. To state it clearly, high-performing employees are not the same as high potential employees.

The main difference is that high-performing employees have the drive to achieve their targets and even over perform when compared to the group. 

This aspect is similar to high potential employees, except that high-performing employees do not possess the leadership skills required.

High-performing employees show good performance, but their role goes much deeper than that. They are good at their job, and they perform in such a way that they work towards the organisation’s development.

A high-performing employee works towards the future betterment of the organisation. They work with other employees, since they look out for the organisation’s future. High-performing employees do not possess the necessary soft skills for grooming. 

Mistaking a high-performing employee for a high potential employee can be a huge mistake that can cost the company a lot of time, money, and resources. A high-performing employee may not be able to scale up to the responsibilities of someone with a management role.

To avoid such a costly mistake, it is essential to identify high potential employees. 


Tips for Identifying Potential Employees

Potential employees are easy to identify. They showcase certain traits fit for a leadership role. As an employer, identifying them can help you get better employees for your leadership roles and avoid costly mistakes.

The following are some traits that a high potential employee may exhibit:

  • Always Takes the Initiative – A high potential employee always takes the initiative to help other team members. They almost always come up with new ideas and innovations for the team’s betterment. Going out of the responsibilities of their roles, these employees handle multiple tasks and contribute to the organisation’s growth.
  • Risk Takers – high potential employees are risk-takers who are not afraid of a bit of a challenge in their workplace. They approach the challenge in the hopes of learning something new and gaining experience from it. This trait helps them to stay proactive and solve problems.
  • Possess Curious Minds – high potential employees are curious by nature. They look for new things to push their boundaries and learn something new. This helps them stay sharp and develop creative ideas that help them and their teammates alike.
  • Competitive Nature A little competition in the work environment is productive and can keep employees engaged. A high potential employee may show competitiveness with their peers and strive to do better. This is where they share the traits with a high-performing employee.
  • Adaptability One of the most crucial leadership skills is adapting to the changing nature of the job. Look out for employees who can quickly overcome a problematic situation without panicking and losing their composure. Such employees are good candidates for leadership roles as they can efficiently overcome new problems without giving in to the stress.
  • Relationship Building Building relationships in the workplace is a necessary skill for every employee. Building internal and external relationships is a mandatory skill for people in management roles. A positive relationship in the organisation will go a long way in improving your employee engagement. high potential employees possess such skills. 
  • Positively Influence the Company CultureHigh-performing employees do not restrict themselves to just performing well in work-related aspects. They also work as an integral part of your company culture and contribute to building a positive workplace culture.



Identifying the traits of high potential employees is necessary to train suitable candidates for management roles without expending resources. For a leadership role, having someone from your organisation who understands the workings of your company and possesses the skills mentioned above is a great advantage. In the competitive market, having employees from your organisation take the role saves a lot of resources and helps you get the most suitable person for the job.


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Email: sales@logicmelon.com or call LogicMelon (UK) +44 (0) 203 553 3667 (USA) +1 860 269 3089

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