COVID-19 Resources

Professional Service Agreement

Retaining High-Potential Employees

High-potential employees or those workers that companies have designated as their future leaders are a growing source of high anxiety for employers, according recent surveys.

Employers are more anxious about losing high-potentials than any other employees. High-potentials are being targeted by other companies in their search for talent in a recovering job market. They have had a high turnover rate during the past year and are considered by employers to be their greatest flight risk, or most in danger of quitting for other jobs, according to OI Partners, a coaching and leadership development firm.

In addition, while high-potentials are considered to be an important source of a company's future management, many employers report they do not have enough of them on board, according to the surveys.

Worried: Employers are more anxious about losing high-potentials than any other workers. 78% of companies are concerned about high-potentials quitting.

Turnover: High-potentials have the second highest turnover rate of all organizational levels. 34% of employers reported an increase in departures of high-potentials in the past year, right behind 51% that reported higher turnover for front-line workers.

Future Flight Risk: Almost half (48%) of employers consider high-potentials as their greatest flight risk, particularly as the economy improves and "portability" for key functions continues to grow.

Loss of future leaders: About half (49%) of companies regard high-potentials as their biggest source of future leaders. Yet, about one of four employers (37%) report they do not currently have enough high-potentials on board.
What's an employer to do to ease anxiety over this possible loss of high-potential talent? The top ways that companies are trying to retain high-potential employees are:

Developmental coaching (55%)
Better compensation and benefits (47%)
Flexible hours and schedules (45%)
Mentoring programs (40%)
Tuition reimbursement (37%)
Casual dress codes (24%)
Telecommuting (22%)
Retention bonuses (10%)

The data is based on OI Partners surveys of 547 employers in the past two years.

Coaching is a powerful retention tool because it signals to high-potentials that employers are committed to their career development. In addition to coaching high-potentials, many companies are embracing the importance of offering guidance to senior leaders on how to better identify and then mentor high-potentials.

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with your human resource issues. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at