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Organizations have a large stake in the effective management of high-potential employees' careers. Organizations can be managed in ways that help these employees more successfully meet their own career objectives, while at the same time contribute to organizational effectiveness.

Traditionally, many organizations did nothing to facilitate employees' careers, assuming that "the cream would naturally rise to the top." Whereas this approach to career development may have worked in the past, it is no longer an acceptable model to follow in today's organizations, especially for high potential employees, who may leave if they feel their career is approaching a dead end.

There are several approaches to identifying and developing high-potential employees. Many programs focus on selecting employees with high potential for key jobs and then carefully managing their development through on-the-job experiences and enrichment training.

We typically recommend that high potential identification be accomplished through the use of a formal assessment center, in which candidates demonstrate their skill levels in specially designed simulations reflecting key job demands. Alternatively, candidates can be identified through a 360-degree feedback process, which is often combined with a candidate referral process. Once selected, high-potentials should be rotated through positions in order to develop critical skills, maintain optimal challenge and continuous learning.

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