Let High Potentials Find You

September 30, 2015 3:51 pm

By Tamika Cody

It’s time to stop looking for high potentials, advised David Rodriguez, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer of Marriott International.

Rodriguez, David cropped 2010

  David Rodriguez

“It’s not about finding high potentials, it’s about letting high potentials find you,” said Rodriguez during DiversityInc Best Practices’ event, High Potentials and the War for Talent.

Marriott, No. 13 on DiversityInc’s Top 50 List, has 10 percent of the market share in the United States and 4 percent globally so the need to hire the best has never been more critical.

When trying to identify high potentials, there are three key best practices Rodriguez suggested.

First – You need to analyze an individual’s learning agility, which Rodriguez describes as the person having the cognitive ability to learn.

Second – Take a look at their emotional intelligence and their ability to relate in a multicultural world. If your group of high potentials can do so, “inclusion will be more important and key to the success to companies going forward,” said Rodriguez.

Third – Achievement and orientation. “Don’t think about assessing your high potentials. Always keep in mind that high potentials are always assessing us,” Rodriguez shared. “They are asking themselves if this is the company and the environment they should be in.”


The first thing to understand about retaining employees is that they need to feel good about themselves and where they work. “The less time they worry about if [they] fit in here, the more time they focus on their job,” said Rodriguez. “People have to feel good about the mission and the company’s social responsibility.”

In the grand scheme of attracting high potentials, Rodriguez brought his entire presentation home, “It’s about employee centricity. It’s a magnet for cultivating high potentials.

Be sure to stay tuned for David Rodriguez’s video interview with DiversityInc Best Practices where he explains why companies should make their story public in order to have high potentials find them.

To see Rodriguez’s full presentation — Why You Need High Potentials and Where to Find Them — click here to visit DiversityInc’s Member-Only site.

Visit the 2015 High Potential Events page for a full list of speakers and presentations from High Potentials and the War for Talent/Special Awards Event.