We have spoken to many companies this year that are kick starting their strategy to thrive during and after the pandemic rather than just survive. As they revise, and in many cases bring forward their strategy, they are realising that their current workforce is not capable of changing and executing in this new way.

As we start to discuss the new strategy and business outcomes our Clients are looking to achieve through their new hires, we are conscious that we need to hit the brief today but also ensure that the candidates can evolve to match what might be needed tomorrow. Many of our Clients ask us to identify ‘high potential employees’ for their business. They can often be described as future leaders, autonomous, proactive, have a strong career mindset, eager to learn new skills, can make strategic decisions amongst other things.

Our Clients tell us that innovation, skills, and traits needed in their business can change very quickly and often do. We also know that having an employee with the domain knowledge and cultural fit can take time to develop. Its therefore important that companies look for new hires that are capable, and as importantly have the nature, to develop and acquire new skills. One Director I spoke with noted that it’s a lot cheaper to teach new skills than it is to teach the domain and culture of an organisation.

In short, its important to identify individuals that are capable of pivoting and learning new skills to adapt to changes in strategy and execution. Once an employee is embedded into the culture and knows the domain, it could be a lot easier (and cheaper) to train the new skill rather than hire in the skill and then teach the domain and culture. 

We can take a lot from the concept of ‘high potential employees’ and use it to reduce the need to hire new skills in all the time and have employees that are capable and have the desire to evolve.