When High Potential (Hi-Po) Employees Leave

March 04, 2015

By Phillip Roark, CEO of Insala

High Potential Employees Don't Stop Being High Potential When They Leave

high potential employees leave

When a high potential employee decides to leave your firm, they donít stop being high potential. Increasingly, leading firms are recognizing that an employee leaving an organization shouldnít necessarily end the employer-employee relationship, but rather mark the brand new start of another stage in it.

Not everyone is equal in their talents, character, and education; and that includes your employees. You want to stay in touch with these people, because someday you may wish to rehire them into your firm, or they may decide to hire your firm from their new roles.

Whatever else, they will be influencers in your industry, or perhaps on a national or international scale.

Corporate alumni programs provide a means to not only manage, but grow, your continuing relationships with your former employees. My prediction for the future is that we will see many new alumni relationship management tactics emerge from these programs.

For example, you might provide an alumni with a mentor within your organization, someone who could provide coaching or simply have lunch with them once or twice a year. Alternately, Iíve seen consulting firms who create agreements with alumni, and in some cases keep them on the payroll with occasional projects or expertise requests.

Having up to date alumni data is important, of course, but data collection canít be the only focus on your relationship with them; you need to remain in personal touch with them. This handholding may be more intensive and expensive than simple data tracking, but itís worth it for high potential alumni.

The message to these high potential employees should be: we think you are special, you have high potential, and the door here is always open for you.

Such a message empowers individuals and encourages them to stay in touch with your organization if they decide to leave.

High Potential Employees Become High Potential Alumni

The one caveat to this approach is that your company needs to identify high potential employees before they decide to quit. If you donít know who these people are, you might as well forget about launching a corporate alumni program.

When firms identify which roles are roles in their organization as well as their organizationís high potential employees, they often discover a startling statisticÖ just how few of those critical roles are filled by top employees. My guess is that most firms have no better than 50% of their critical roles filled by people you would truthfully describe as high potential.

If you want to keep yourself up at night, turn the question around and ask: How many poor performers do we have in critical roles?

Talented people are always in short supply, which is why it makes so much sense to develop lifelong relationships with them. The hardest thing in business is to identify talent. You canít always stop a talented person from walking out one day - we all have complicated lives and responsibilities - but you can do your best to sustain a relationship.

Phillip C. Roark is founder and CEO of Insala, a recognized technology partner to the global outplacement and career management industry, and a leader in the corporate alumni sphere.

Learn more about how Insala can be a partner to you in creating your corporate alumni network.

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