Create Agile HIPO Strategies

Ensure future leadership success with agile HIPO strategies

HIPO programs are underperforming

Most organizations expect that more than 40% of today’s leadership roles will look dramatically different five years from now.

As a result, organizations are investing heavily in HIPO strategies, with two-thirds of companies trading away from other talent investments to fund their HIPO programs. However, the vast majority of HIPO programs are underperforming.

Focus on agile strategies

Rather than betting on creating agile people, leading organizations must create more agile HIPO strategies. Agile HIPO strategies move at the pace of the business to align ability, aspiration and engagement with evolving needs. Organizations with an agile HIPO strategy are 70% more likely to have a strong leadership bench.

“Our talent needs are evolving just as quickly as the business environment.”

Denise Nichols

Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Marsh & McLennan

Individual agility is no longer the solution

To respond to changing future leadership needs, most organizations are betting on individual agility. However, they are more likely to cite problems with internal candidate readiness and are 71% more likely to have to look outside the organization to fill positions.

Identify your future stars

High-potential employees (HIPOs) exert 21% more effort than non-HIPOs and have a 75% chance of succeeding at roles that are critical to business performance and the future leadership pipeline.

Build effective HIPO development programs

The top objective of most HIPO programs (81%) is to build a pipeline for succession management, but most are missing the mark. Of the more than 300 strategies, programs and interventions we examined, fewer than 80 truly built employee potential.

Leverage talent analytics to track progress

Twenty-four percent of organizations are not measuring the effect of HIPO programs on promotion rate, 27% are not measuring the effect on engagement, and 21% are not even measuring the impact on retention. 

ReimagineHR 2018

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Gartner’s HIPO Experts

Brian Kropp

Group Vice President,
Gartner Research

Clare Moncrieff

Principal Executive Advisor

Leah Johnson

Principal Executive Advisor

Smarter with Gartner

Related Resources


ATD: How to Design a HIPO Strategy in an Era of Constant Change


Inc.: High Performance Is Not the Same as High Potential


HRDaily: HIPO Misconceptions Place Programs at Risk

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