Discussions of talent management frequently overlook the perspectives of high-potential talent. Management often misses the chance to better understand what the organization’s top talent says it needs.

Talent management represents an organization’s efforts to attract, develop, and retain skilled and valuable employees. Its goal is to have people with the capabilities and commitment needed for current and future organizational success. An organization’s talent pool — particularly its managerial talent — is often referred to as the leadership pipeline.

The leadership pipeline is designed to help the organization source, reward, evaluate, develop, and move employees into various roles. The pipeline bends, turns, and sometimes breaks as organizations identify who is “ready now” and who is “on track” for larger leadership roles. From this perspective, talent management is something done to and for an organization’s high-potential employees, in service of the organization’s needs.

But employees and managers who are inside the leadership pipeline don’t operate solely as a stream of talent to be funneled and directed by the organization. They bring their perspectives and experiences to the process, too. Our research team evaluated the views of high-potential managers to obtain a deeper knowledge of talent management. Here are the 3 big takeaways:

1. Career Pathing & Support

Most people surveyed said their organization could increase their engagement and commitment by providing a clear career path that identifies the next steps in terms of development, experience, and movement. A yearly development plan may not be enough to increase the engagement and commitment of your high potentials without a clear career path and progression.

2. Greater Authority

With the increased responsibility given to high potentials, it’s important to consider what level of decision-making authority comes with that greater responsibility. Specifically, high potentials are looking for the authority to make meaningful decisions.

3. Feedback & Communication

High potentials would also have increased engagement and commitment to their organizations if they received more feedback on their performance and greater communication about the pipeline process. It appears that organizations are succeeding in challenging their high potentials with developmental assignments and providing support in the form of training, but organizations could do more by providing high potentials with an honest assessment of where they stand and offering direct communication about the next steps.

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