What is Performance Calibration with Potential?

Throughout my experience in Human Resources, almost every aspect has knocked on the door to provide the opportunity to explore it further. In the industries, the demand is basically depended on the values which the proprietors initially thought to imbibe, while incorporating their choice of business. It is during the expansion of the team as well as while managers make strategic decision one needs to differentiate & identify their workforce’s Performance viz-a-viz Potential.

Performance Calibration

A Business that could be based on charity or with the mere focus of earning money and thereby strengthens the economy.  Startups here play the role of building a small team comprising of individuals with innovative thinking that could be later materialized in the form of new creativity.   Once the creativity succeeds in attracting the attention of the market, startups for increasing the team strength concerning the objective of the firm.  Here comes the real issue of calibration of Performance with Potential.

In the aforesaid introduction, the demand for increasing the team strength to meet the market requirement as projected by the new creation of the Startup has been highlighted.  Here we require the potential that can help in executing the new creativity as born out of the innovative idea of the small team of the startup.  For example, a manufacturing startup of writing pens has already gained the attention of the market by showcasing creativity in the form of writing pens born out of the creative idea of a small bunch of people.  Now, this manufacturing startup would be requiring the potential to manufacture the volume of writing pens as demanded by the market.


What Performance Calibration this Manufacturing Startup should seek?

  1. One who can bring new innovative ideas (R&D)
  2. One who can lead the team to cater to the demands of the market (Team Leaders)
  3. One who can prepare a strategy of how to bring the business to new heights (Head Of The Departments)
  4. One who is capable enough to execute the orders by producing a volume of writing pens as demanded by the market (Workforce)


Hiring Dilemma

The aforesaid startup is requiring a team who could able to manufacture the writing pens as demanded by the market, i.e. the requirement put forth here is of the Workforce. Now, imagine if an interviewer will look for an individual with the capability of thinking out of the box and with good leadership skills with little emphasis on the capability of executing the subject knowledge (here the manufacturing of Pen), will such potential help the business to gain the new heights? It is one of the foremost needs to understand the priority of the tasks. If the workforce is needed to mere executing the orders in hand, then we should higher the potential with good subject knowledge. Now, imagine that new creativity has been brought forward with this startup which can be catered for the available workforce.  Does the startup now look for hiring a new workforce? Certainly not! Because the available workforce that is serving here as an executor can be trained slowly and steadily to cater to the new creation as well.

An individual in the workforce with good subject knowledge can execute the manufacturing of writing pen volume more quickly than the individual having moderate knowledge.  Thus, the potential of the workforce can gaze and the tasks are assigned accordingly depending upon the capability of the individuals in the workforce. In case, the new hiring is done among the workforce for the tasks that could have been met by the existing individuals, this creates unnecessarily a rift and misunderstanding which later affect the engagement of employees causing exits out of dissatisfaction. So, formula to keep engaged our mainstream workforce is to calibrate their knowledge by providing enough opportunities for training and development, maybe by utilizing external faculty and preferably by one of the individuals among the workforce who has good subject knowledge.

This boosts the morale of the workforce and they seek opportunities for their personal development in the existing startup. The outside entry among them may lead them to think as if they are not the perfect choice for the firm/company they are working with.


The 3 Potential Types

1. Career Potential

This is the type of potential wherein an individual is looking for subject knowledge and its execution on practical grounds. If at any time the requirement is based on Career Potential, the existing workforce should be given an opportunity first and mostly the needs will be met with standards by adopting such practice.

When to see talent from outside in case of hiring Career Potential?

  • If the existing workforce is not enough in numbers to cater to the requirement of the Market.
  • The skills can be developed in the existing manpower by knowledge and thereby Potential calibration.

2. Potential Calibration Growth

This potential can complete the given task within or before the assigned time with acceptable standards and mostly impromptu to look for new opportunities or assignments.  Such potential gradually develops the ability to lead others by cascading their knowledge sphere and helping others in solving the functional complexities.  Usually, team leaders are born out of such potential mass.  While looking for growth potential the first opportunity must be given to the available workforce, however in case the proprietor is not able to find such an individual, the outside market may be looked at by focusing on hiring the Leaders or Managers.

While hiring for Growth Potential the ratio should not go beyond 50:50. That is the ratio of Leaders or Managers should be 50% of the existing workforce which may exceed further, however the talent hiring for Leaders or Managers from outside the existing workforce should not go beyond 50% in any case.

3. Strategic Potential 

This type of potential is highly scarce as the Business Heads are primarily looked for in such cases. The ability to seek the buyers’ & suppliers’ capabilities, owner’s abilities & challenges and the available substitute in the Market requires high-level commitment and understanding of the core business values.  It takes ages for an individual to become a good strategist. Hence for hiring the Strategic Potential, if a resource is developed from the existing workforce, nothing could be the best alternative than this.  However, for the strategist, the foremost thing is stability, so it is always sought while hiring the strategist that an individual has spent a good time in a single company/firm of the same line of business.


Common Fault Managers Make

While delegating the tasks and hiring the talent for the purpose of completing the assignments in hand the delegator is to be capable enough to differentiate between Strategic, Growth & Career Potential. Usually completing the tasks in time with the expected standards (Performance) is looked at as a framework to upgrade the level of an employee.  However, it is not always necessary that the employee to perform good and demonstrate the best career potential could be a good Leader or Manager.  Imagine if a person with limited Managerial or Leadership skills is given the task to manage people, then what would happen? It would certainly be a menace to the people’s development as such a manager will not know how to engage others however continue to work as a contributor in the later stages.

In another scenario, if a Leader / Manager is hired mistakably to complete the regular operations that usually is done by the workforce of the Career Potential category, though such Leader / Manager will continue to work based on the functional knowledge, however with the limited scope of showcasing the leadership or managerial skills, over time such resource will feel suffocated and ultimately get depressed. Therefore, it is the prime requirement for any of the industries that it should have a good panel of delegators or hiring managers to avoid the conflicts stated above.

Read More: Performance Management in the New Normal: 3 Digital HR Tools


Difference between Performance & Potential

What one has done already is referred to as performance; it may be Poor or Good or Superior.  The basis of the performance the projection is made about the ability of an individual.  Such projection is a glimpse of Potential which tells the expected Performance Calibration in future.

Hence the Potential may be Limited Moderate or High.

Calibration between Performance & Potential

While upgrading employees for future roles new ones should calibrate the already done Performance Calibration with the expected performance in future, that is the analysis needs to be done between the Performance (achievement) and Potential (ability to achieve further). This analysis helps in fulfilling various requirements within the existing set-up of employees and also refrains the chances to misspell the required potential.



For any company be it a Startup, the foremost requirement is to bring its name to the Market.  To generate an employer value proposition in the market the employee value proposition is the foundation.  When employees would start doing the branding of the company knowingly and willingly, the level of service delivered by them will be exceptional. This, in turn, will lead the clients to brand the employer and ultimately the profit of such Performance and Potential calibration is shared by all the stakeholders.

Hence, let us correctly define our requirements and accordingly delegate and hire resources to motivate people’s development and continuous learning throughout the entire employee life cycle witnessing the stages of growth from Career to Growth aspect and finally reach the Strategic aspect, which is the last stage of the successful employee life cycle.


16 years of experience in Talent Management and HR operations along with a Masters in Human Resources from IGNOU and PG Dip. in Corporate Law from Indian Law Institute (New Delhi)
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