Deliver More Value with Your High-Potential Program

High-potential (HIPO) employees are critical to your organization’s current and future success. They are the key players you want to identify and develop to power your organization.

SHL research shows that HIPOs are 91% more valuable than non-HIPOs. But today’s reality is that 73% of HIPO programs are failing to deliver business outcomes or ROI. So what needs to change to achieve HIPO program success?

The best companies use predictive measures to identify true high potentials, compare them against the competition and develop them through on-the-job learning to drive performance impact. 

Most HIPO Programs Do Not Yield Visible Results

HIPOs are 91% more valuable to our organization than other staff.

They generate up to 3.5x their total compensation for the business.

Yet, 73% of firms do not realize outcomes for ROI from their HIPO programs.

And 69% fail to build a strong succession pipeline.


Accurately identify HIPOs by measuring the factors critical for success.

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Assess your competitive talent positioning and focus development spend.

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Enable efficient and scalable on-the-job learning with performance impact.

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  • Investing in the objective identification of our leadership high potentials has enabled us to target our investment in the right place at the right time to deliver the best outcomes.

    David Blackburn
    Chief People Officer

Do You Know Who the True HIPOs Are in Your Organization?

High-potentials are frequently mistaken for those who are performing well today. However, only 1 in 7 high performers have the critical motivation and behaviors to be considered a true HIPO. Too many programs focus their efforts on the wrong people, which results in wasted resources.

How can you select the right people for your HIPO program?

Our Approach

Having a clear definition of high potential is an essential starting point for identifying the right employees and realizing their potential to succeed. We have studied high-potential employees and high-potential programs for over a decade and have identified the critical factors that determine their success.

Through our research using on-line personality, motivation and cognitive reasoning testing we have been able to identify the characteristics that will predict whether someone will make it to executive level and be effective when they get there. Our on-line assessment solution will bring rigor and objectivity to your decision making to help ensure you identify and invest in the right people.

The SHL Model of High-Potential defines high potential and helps to answer three critical questions:

Aspiration: Who will rise to more senior positions?

Ability: Who will be effective in more challenging roles?

Engagement: Who are committed to the organization and will stay?

Source: SHL Model of High-Potential based on research by SHL and Gartner
Source: SHL Model of High-Potential based on research by SHL and Gartner

Beyond the HIPO Hype eBook

No matter how effective the development aspect of your HIPO program is, you won’t achieve results if you are developing the wrong people. This is one of the challengers facing organizations around high-potential talent.

Our “Beyond the HIPO Hype” eBook reveals how the best companies overcome their HIPO program challenges and realize greater outcomes.

External Talent Benchmark Results—
Where Development Should Be Focused

graph bar chart percentage top talent

Do Your HIPOs Outperform Your Competitors’?

Many companies use internal benchmarks to assess their promising talent but only 31% of companies report that their HIPO programs build a strong succession pipeline.

What’s missing is an outside-in view to get a broader perspective on the quality of your HIPO talent pool.

Our Approach

Our global talent analytics database of 30 million assessments annually provides unique benchmarking data, allowing you to compare your HIPOs to their best-in-class peers on critical leadership skills. This gives you insight into your competitive advantages and gaps for you to target your development spend more accurately.

The power of SHL’s unique benchmarking data allows you to track the progress of your HIPO talent against your competitors over a period of time.


Do Your Development Programs Drive Your HIPOs to Their Full Potential?

When it comes to HIPO development, most programs continue to underperform. 64% of HIPOs are dissatisfied with their development experiences and 95% of programs fail to drive learning follow-through and application.

It’s not only about what HIPOs learn, but also how they learn it. Traditional HIPO development is focused on formal training—but research shows that 70% of learning comes from experience, 20% from others and only 10% from formal training.

Our Approach

Transitioning to on-the-job learning can achieve 3x the impact on performance for a fraction of the cost. However, one of the risks is the assumption that in-job learning will happen on its own.

To help employees extract the right learning from their experiences, our solution provides action roadmaps that guide HIPOs in how to practice, reflect and get feedback in areas that are critical to successful performance.

The learning process is delivered through our cloud-based, mobile-enabled application SHL Development Coach – which makes it highly scalable.

The 70:20:10 Learning Model

How We Focus our Efforts Doesn’t Correspond to How We Learn

graph 70 20 10 learning model

Let Us Help You What’s your plan to achieve HIPO program success? Complete the form below and one of our experts will be in touch.

Source: SHL and Gartner research.