High Potential / HiPo (and maturity model)

A “high-potential employee” is an employee who has been identified as having the potential, ability, and aspiration for successive leadership positions within the company. Often, these employees are provided with focused development as part of a succession plan and are referred to as “HiPos.”


Our research shows that top-performing companies separate the evaluation of "performance" from "potential," using tools such as two-dimensional grids (nine-box, etc.) to compare high performers with high potentials. Our research also shows that there are five elements to a world-class HiPo strategy:

  1.  Plan
  2. Identify
  3. Develop
  4. Transition
  5. Manage

Fewer than 15 percent of companies have strong programs that encompass these areas; most fall short in the identification of HiPos, as well as in the transition and management of HiPos in their new roles. In fact, one of the biggest derailers of leaders is a tendency for organizations to move them into high-powered positions without enough transition support.


For more information on this topic, we recommend learning about our High-Potential Strategy Maturity Model.