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ResourceMFG | Manufacturing Workforce Specialists
5 traits of high-potential employees that can help manufacturers survive a labor shortage

Industries everywhere are reeling from the ongoing labor shortage. Supply chains are especially in demand of help as the holiday season looms and productivity hangs in the balance.

High-potential employees, however, are there to save the day. No, high-potential workers aren't exactly strewn throughout the workforce in plentiful abundance — but they're out there.

In fact, Zenger Folkman estimates that high-potential workers, often called "HiPos," are usually in the top 5% of employees at an organization. HiPos may be far and few between, but there are plenty of ways manufacturers can leverage their talents to the benefit of the many.

1. High-potential employees learn their trade faster
With a unique ability to stay engaged in their work, HiPos consequently learn the ins and outs of manufacturing duties at an accelerated pace. Not only does this manifest in obvious ways, like a quicker path to productivity, it also saves the company time during the onboarding process.

On the business side, this saves the company money on training and developing their skills. It also demonstrates a higher standard of progression for other employees or trainees to aspire to at work. Reducing costs and setting standards is vital to keeping pace and meeting benchmarks during a labor shortage.

2. HiPos produce consistently good work
As a result of their accelerated development, HiPos are exceedingly more efficient than the average worker, according to Gartner. In fact, these workers accrue 91% more value for the organization than their co-workers and exert 21% more effort. On a constant basis, HiPos produce quality work as compared to their peers — an exceptionally important asset for meeting supply chain demands.

3. They exude leadership abilities
Of course, it isn't easy to develop any type of employee. A high-potential worker makes that task a little bit easier. According to the Center for Creative Leadership, 84% of HiPos actively identify and develop potential in other employees. Not only do they set an example overall, they seek out potential and coax it out of their peers.

4. High-potential employees rarely require much supervision
Where some employees might require more direction from their supervisors, high potential employees are often self-starters. They give management an opportunity to focus on and develop other workers, thus optimizing the growth of coworkers. Their autonomous nature helps them streamline tasks, perform more efficiently and pick up some of the slack left behind by the supply chain's worsening labor shortage.

5. They are exceedingly coachable
HiPos respond well to feedback, including criticism. More often than not, they seek out opportunities to grow through experience. By pairing these employees with a mentor, you can extract the best of their abilities while maintaining engagement.

The knowledge transfer process is becoming so important to manufacturers. As aging workers leave the workforce, imprinting their knowledge on a younger generation guarantees that their experiences and know-how are built upon. This process is much easier for HiPos, who in turn spread knowledge to their peers.

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