Random Learnings

Two Levers: Potential & Tacit Knowledge (Part I)

We hire for potential. We retain for tacit knowledge. 

For any organisation, hiring and retention of talent are among the most important aspects of their business to retain competitive edge over their competitors. In this series, we would help you define the different categories of “talent” using two critical parameters: potential and tacit knowledge.

But, first, let us be clear on one of the basic assumptions that we all mostly hold true: our talent bases are turfs we strive to protect at any cost. [Well, reasonable cost.]


Picture Credit: pbconsulting.co

And no one likes to lose their turf (read: talent).

What is potential?

Potential can simply be thought of as the performance level at which a performer may perform given the right conditions. The higher the potential, the better it is. That makes sense immediately to all of us. But this also means that for high potential (HiPo) talent, the organisation is more responsible to ensure that the right thriving and nurturing conditions are provided.

Be responsible while handling potential. 

Wasting potential would be akin to wasting a business opportunity with a great internal rate of return (IRR). There is also the risk of the IRR becoming equal to zero if a high potential candidate is poached by a competitor after all the hard work and spending by one’s organisation. So, be careful!

Can potential be increased?

Definitely. By exposing employees to diverse problems while also making them part of developmental programmes which focus on systems thinking, potential of an employee can be increased. Just by telling them how their role affects the bottom-line, you would have increased the potential of your talent pool members.

Why is “increasing potential” necessary?

Increasing the potential of the talent pool is imperative for an organisation operating in a highly competitive marketplace. It would help them develop leaders who are more equipped to stand up to new and more complex emerging challenges. It would help them develop a leadership pipeline. Additionally, the “increasing potential” programmes can make an organisation a preferred workplace for new talent while also helping the organisation retain its employees.

It is a win-win and who doesn’t love win-wins?

In the next article in this series, we would delve deeper into how “potential” of the talent pool can be increased before we journey on to the second lever: tacit knowledge. But let us focus on the first lever for now.

Hope you liked this first part. Your comments and insights are valuable. Do let us know! 

Author: Amartya Dey, India

Click to access other articles related to Human Capital:

Breaking Organizational Silos (Part I)

Breaking Organizational Silos (Part II)

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