Performance Consulting

Talent Management Part I – It is absolutely ok to not recruit hipots

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Woman looking into distance whilst thinkingAttracting and retaining hipots is one thing that all organizations aspire to do. These are highly capable, intelligent, and quick learning resources that we are talking about. Would a hike in salary package, grade, or designation keep them motivated for long?’

Imagine a goldfish in a tank full of fighter fish. A Formula1 car on a heavy traffic road. Shoe polish adjacent to fruit racks in a retail outlet. How repulsive are these images? This is exactly how hipots will feel if they have to work in an environment that doesn’t suit their culture, aspirations, and capabilities. They are going to feel suffocated and what follows next is the hipot going in search of fresh air.

Capability mismatch

Consider a situation where your hipot has to report to a manager who is low on general intelligence. The manager would most probably spend more time in concluding a brain storming session. The hipot may see this extra time as waste and incapability of her manager. The hipot may not find enough motivation to sit through future meetings with the manager or may not look forward to learn from the manager.

Culture mismatch

We all know that adults don’t want to be told. A hipot would hate to be directed all the time. They want to be cognitively challenged. They would prefer guidance only after trying out things on their own. If the organisation or the manager is less tolerant towards allowing employees to learn through failures, this environment wouldn’t support nurturing talent. ‘Telling approach’ is one of the indicators of organisation’s culture.

Aspiration mismatch

If the organisation’s maturity level is that of providing tenure based promotions, this single reason is good enough to repel hipots from the organization. All it takes in this environment is to somehow manage and stay put, promotions will happen like a clock work. A hipot may find working in such environment insulting. Hipots expect to grow based on performance, effort, and demonstrated capability.

Organisations can’t expect hipots to wait patiently for their turn of promotion. The irony is that the organisations don’t check for their patience to recruit them.

Attracting Vs Buying Talent

Is your organisation attracting talent or simply buying it from the market? These are two different things. If your organisation is attracting talent, you will always have a talent surplus situation, no matter what the market condition is. If you are buying talent from the market, you may consider the following thoughts

  • Increased salary is not going to keep the hipot motivated for long
  • A Deputy Assistant VP grade will not mean much for a longer duration
  • If there is mismatch, the hipot may regress in performance after joining your organisation
  • Recruiting hipots may lead to interpersonal challenges and increase in employee churn

Some pointers that can help in making informed decisions about attracting, recruiting, and retaining talent

  • Define the DNA of hipots for your organisation
  • Define the strategy to recruit hipots. You may have to ensure that they work with the managers who can provide them the right environment.
  • Conduct surveys to check if your organisation’s culture is conducive for nurturing hipots. If there are shortcomings including organisation culture and practices, address it through a robust learning architecture.
  • Make leaders accountable for building the culture and review them regularly.
  • Define career path for all roles in the organisation. An employee should enter, get promoted, and exit the organisation at the right time.
  • Make people development a default competency for managers and leaders. This competency should be given enough weightage for making their promotions decisions.
  • Provide equal opportunity for all employees to learn and develop.
  • Make the promotion criteria objective and transparent.
  • It is absolutely ok to not recruit hipots for your organisation, but this decision should be based on analysis against your hipot benchmarking. 

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Manoharan Rathinam


A Thought Leader at Prashna and a nature enthusiast at heart, Mano has invested nine years in to Sales & Marketing Management and over nine years in the Human Resource function. His raison d'être can be summed up in one statement – to make people see their hidden potential. While he isn't nurturing and working towards accomplishing this dream, you'd probably find him scuba-diving or paragliding some place.


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