‘Fast-track, talent management, aspiring leaders, high potential, role jumping, leap-frogging’…it’s almost as hard to find the right term for it as it is to work out how to do it! But it seems to be very much on the agenda for a lot of L&D and senior leadership teams, but often without a clear direction, as yet.

At VCA Ltd we are in a position to contribute to this conversation, and have started the ball rolling on a project to determine the efficacy of the VCA’s Career Progression Gateway (CPG) assessment exercises for identifying high potential candidates.

High Potential Project

  • We have reviewed our database for one FRS where 126 candidates from Crew to Watch Manager have completed the CPG. We identified 19 candidates as possible high potential candidates which represents 15% of the total number of candidates assessed. We would anticipate the percentage to be within a similar range at other levels and across other services (which meet the trial criteria of completing both exercises).

  • We have designed a questionnaire for line managers of Crew and Watch Managers to complete, with 20 performance -based statements. Design of the Station/ Group and Strategic Manager versions will be undertaken once the ‘supervisory’ trial is underway.

  • Line managers will be asked to reflect on the performance of individuals within their team, all who completed a CPG process a minimum of 6 months ago and are now either in their promoted post or in development for it.
  • The line manager will respond to each statement on a 5-point scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree for each individual. There will also be ‘free response’ boxes at the end for any further comments they may wish to make.

  • Once these questionnaires are completed, VCA will input the data, review, and report on the findings and trends. Results will be independently verified by an external occupational psychologist.

What we need

So far we have 2 FRSs taking part in this study, and we will shortly be reaching out to our other clients who fit the criteria. Shortlists of eligible candidates will be sent to each participating FRS, who will then identify the appropriate line managers to send the questionnaire. We are conscious of existing time pressures on staff, so have kept the questionnaire concise and straight-forward, accessible via a link to be submitted electronically once complete.

What happens next?

Once we have completed the research we will share our findings. Anecdotal evidence supports that candidates scoring highest at the CPG are also the candidates who the organisation might expect to perform strongly. We also have data to show that candidates who have performed significantly above average on previous CPGs generally go on to score at a similar level in later ones.

If you are hoping to implement a High Potential/ accelerated promotion strategy in your organisation but aren’t sure where to begin, here is an option:

  • 1

    Adopt the Career Progression Gateway (CPG) process within your FRS, from Crew to Area Manager. The CPG is an online assessment centre (case study and video roleplay exercises), measuring candidates against the NFCC Leadership Framework and key leadership behavioural markers.

  • 2

    If you can, identify when you will run the CPG in your organisation. For instance, one FRS annually run CM in September, WM in October, SM in November, GM in December and AM as required. Other FRS’s are only able to anticipate the need for a promotion process a month or two in advance, but we can work with that too.

    A NEW optioncontact us for information on our ‘Open CPG’ schedule for 2024, whereby candidates from any FRS attend a set event which we will run (this is a reduced-price option- more info on request).

  • 3
    Candidates will prepare for the CPG the month before, by completing an e-course to improve their understanding of the process and how to demonstrate target behaviours (both in their CPG assessments and in the workplace).
  • 4

    Candidates complete the CPG, at an on-site FRS venue, remotely from home, or other location of choice; it is completed within two hours, depending on level. Within 5 working days of the final assessment date you will receive the results in a rank ordered scoresheet indicating overall candidate performance across the two exercises (interpretable percentage figures.)

  • 5
    From the data, we will be able to identify your high potential candidates.
  • 6
    The remaining candidates will fall into red, amber, green score categories and will then access the appropriate development programme or alternative, depending on your internal arrangements. Examples of this are e a development discussion and plan identified in conjunction with the line manager for red candidates; a development programme and 6-month re-take of the CPG for amber candidates; and a development process for promotion for green candidates.
  • 7
    High potential candidates can be given the option to complete the next level CPG, which will determine the approach to their development.

The issue of identifying the leaders of the future can seem complex, but it doesn’t need to be. Often the most complicated part is making the decision to outsource your promotional behavioural assessments. Once you have done that, all the information you need will be at your fingertips.

Would you like a CPG demo or a FREE evaluation of your existing promotions exercises? Click here to drop us an email today!