Complex Made Simple

Research: 1 in 4 High Potential Employee in the GCC is a future leader

New research from The Talent Enterprise points to a crisis in talent management.

Only 4 out of 10 employees have the potential to be leaders in the future This implies that the ability to perform in one’s current role does not necessarily guarantee that one will make a crucial contribution to the organisation Only 42% of employees believed that they have effective managers, and only 1 in 3 believed that their senior leadership ‘walked the talk’

The latest research from leading UAE psychometric assessment and talent development firm, The Talent Enterprise, calls for urgent action on how organisational leaders assess, manage and develop talent. This is in line with a recent statement by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, where he said "there is no energy crisis, or education crisis, or health crisis in our Arab region. We have a management crisis." 

High potential employees – also called ‘HiPo’s’ – are often described as the rising stars or future leaders of a company. However, according to The Talent Enterprise’s Managing Director and Chief Organisational Psychologist, Radhika Punshi, it is more complex than that. 

She explains “high potential employees aren’t necessarily top performers. We assessed over 10,000 organisational leaders in the region and observed that only 4 out of 10 also have the potential to be leaders in the future.” This implies that the ability to perform in one’s current role does not necessarily guarantee that one will make a crucial contribution to the organisation. 

Not having senior managers who know how to identify and leverage talent presents organisations with risks and opportunity costs. In a related study by The Talent Enterprise, only 42% of employees believed that they have effective managers, and only 1 in 3 believed that their senior leadership ‘walked the talk’. 

To makes matters worse, amongst those who are considered high potential employees, 20% are at risk of attrition, 40% are disengaged and 50% are worried about their career. Despite the fact that companies today are becoming more aware of the importance of identifying and developing future leaders, there is still room for improvement. “Understanding the reasons behind these numbers and turning them around represents a huge opportunity for employers and the future performance of their business,” adds Punshi. 

When asked about what behavioural strengths are associated with high potential employees, Punshi states, “We’ve identified 15 critical strengths that differentiate them. For example, they are 4x more accountable, 38% more flexible and have a 23% higher growth mindset than other employees. They are also 22% more resilient in dealing with setbacks and challenges and 26% more comfortable with ambiguity.”