Founder of Made to Hire
There’s a formula for getting rated as high potential within your company. Human resource planning (HRP) happens in most companies. Think of it like the NFL draft, in which players are reviewed, ranked and chosen based on their perceived future value. The buildup to the draft starts as soon as you start playing so to speak – essentially as soon as you’re hired.
What you do or don’t do can quickly affect how you are viewed within your company.
The HRP process looks a little different in every firm, but essentially what happens is leaders from different departments meet in one room and they assess the current HR situation at a macro level, forecast what will be needed in the future and then discuss career paths for specific employees. My goal is to teach you how to get your boss advocating for you when those HRP sessions happen. Ultimately, when your name comes up, the goal is for it to be synonymous with high-potential talent.
Here are 10 keys to getting rated as high potential:
Support company goals – especially your boss’s goals
What matters most is what matters to your boss. It’s that simple. Put your own agenda aside and focus on things your boss thinks are most important. And don’t assume you know what these are. Ask for a goal-setting session with your boss each year so you’re clear what you should be focusing on.
Overdeliver on what they hired you to do
Doing only what you were hired to do is the fast track to never being promoted. You heard me right. If you just do what they hired you to do, you won’t move up; you’ll be the perfect mediocre employee. That isn’t what you want; what you actually need to do is overdeliver – particularly on your boss’s priority items.
Look for ways to add value beyond what you were hired to do
Say yes to any opportunities to contribute to special projects through your work, your feedback and your questions. In particular, seek out anything that would allow you to demonstrate value to senior people. Master the basics of your job then let your boss know you can handle more.
Come up with solutions, not problems
Showcase your problem-solving and leadership skills by coming up with answers to possible problems, not just sharing that problems exist. Not much frustrates senior people more than being brought problems they then need to solve.
Communicate clearly and quickly
You need to be clear and highly responsive. The clock starts ticking after you meet someone and/or after you’re assigned a task and you have 24 hours to take the next step unless a different timeline is set. Taking longer than that makes it seem as if the person or project isn’t a priority to you.
You’ll never go anywhere if you don’t share what you know and give people access to how you think. Set a goal for yourself to speak up at least once in any meeting unless there’s an obvious reason not to, such as your boss told you to sit in on the meeting but not contribute.
If you schedule a meeting, set an agenda
Your agenda should go out the day before the meeting. Setting an agenda shows you have a plan and you respect people’s time. Be sure to reserve time at the end of the meeting for questions and next steps.
For any project you lead or meeting you run, your recap should go out shortly thereafter. For projects, the recap should be sent within one week of the project end date. For meetings, the recap should be sent within 12 hours of the meeting ending.
Be someone people want to be around
Leave your negative energy and personal problems at home. The “complainer” title gets assigned quickly in work environments; don’t be the one to take that on.
Don’t pass up on social opportunities with management
Your RSVP for work lunches, happy hours and holiday parties is YES. Don’t pass up on the chance to mingle with people in your department, in other departments and, in particular, people in leadership roles.
Keep these 10 things in mind for how you’re positioning yourself professionally to get on the high-potential list.
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