They say you don’t start to groom the prince the day before the king dies. It’s a long and constant process of training that begins early, so that the prince is ready to take on his royal responsibilities when it’s time.

Organizations are no different. Training high-potential employees is essential for them to deliver their best and achieve their goals. 

While planning learning and development for an organization, there are some prioritized groups that demand high attention and budgets.

Leadership training is top of the list, but grooming a leadership pipeline is a close second. Identifying and training high-potential employees — so that they can be better poised for the next steps — takes planning. 

Here are my top five parameters when planning your training journey for high-potential employees.

  1. Define

Start by defining the attributes you would like to develop in your high-potential employees so that they can be effective leaders in the future. This essentially is the roadmap of the organization.

  1. Assess strengths and weaknesses

Once you have a roadmap for your organization, the next step is to assess your high-potential employees for their particular areas of strength and weakness. At this point, you have enough information to build a truly bespoke training plan.

  1. Personalize

Here is the opportunity to take it higher and make it effective. I always suggest we concentrate on strengths rather than just weaknesses. If your target participant is good at negotiations, given him/her all the tools and training so that (s)he is GREAT at negotiations. 

  1. Involve

As part of annual performance reviews, we often ask employees for their aspirations for the coming year. That is an essential piece of intelligence that should actively be used to design training. On top of that, identified top talent should be actively involved in how they would like to be upskilled and how training will tie into their long-term career aspirations.

  1. Start Early 

I would underscore this repeatedly. If you start before employees have deeply established ways of working, the effectiveness of training is likely to be higher. It is also a wonderful way to bring good talent into the fold and groom them for roles within the organization. Start training for new hires and elevate it when they are ready to be first-time managers. This way, the training is staggered and will not get overwhelming.

As you construct your training program, keep these parameters in mind. Start early and plan well.


Meghna Sahai Jaruhar is Senior Manager, Partnerships at Harappa Education. 


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