Leadership Development

6 Examples of companies with incredible leadership development programs

Learn how to build leadership development programs that work.

Meryl D'Sa-Wilson

Published on 

February 23, 2023

Updated on 

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According to Forbes, leadership development is a $366 billion industry – and yet, most learning and development programs don’t work. But why is that? 

The most common reasons for failure include: 

  • Adopting a “one size fits all” mentality, hence not enough customization
  • Not enough practical application and hands-on learning
  • Low support and buy-in from everyone involved
  • And finally, not measuring the success of the program.

So, what do you do if your organization wants to support its employees’ growth? How do you decide what type of leadership development program to start, and how do you get started? 

Let’s have a look!

What are workplace leadership development programs?

Workplace leadership development programs help employees build and expand on leadership and management skills, both personally and professionally. 

The goal of such programs lies in encouraging high-potential employees’ growth in their roles and within the organization.

Most leadership development programs are backed by research and run by HR or similar organizations within the company.

Let’s look at the different ways in which HR teams can run these programs.

The 3 different ways companies develop leaders

Now, there are a few different ways an organization can promote leadership development and increase employee participation.

You can hire or outsource third-party development programs that are known for their successful results. Or, with the right resources, you can manage it in-house through mentorship programs and offering L&D stipends. 

Let’s look at these options in more detail.

Third-party development programs

There are quite a few research-backed leadership development programs and boot camp courses available. These programs typically cover leadership training and coaching, different management styles, company operations from strategy to finance to marketing, and more.

For example, business colleges offer comprehensive leadership programs; this includes popular schools like Harvard Business School, Yale (YGELP), Wharton, etc. 

Alternatively, you can also choose from online boot camp courses such as LinkedIn Learning, Emeritus, BetterUp, LEADx, etc.

As you review these third-party associations, it helps to identify what type of leadership development program you want to implement. 

For example, there are a few types of leadership programs:

  • Global business management 
  • Family-owned business
  • Women’s leadership program
  • Executive-level training
  • Customized leadership training
  • Project or assigned-based development
  • Community involvement training
  • Conflict resolution or problem-solving-focused training
  • In-person vs online training, and so on.

Internal mentoring programs

Now, if you don’t want to send leaders off to school, you can build a leadership development program within your organization.

When you run an internal leadership mentoring program, you can connect up-and-coming leaders with seasoned ones. 

These connections tend to happen more organically, but you can use mentoring programs for more intentional development. Additionally, such programs encourage cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing within your organization.

You can enlist the experience of an HR advisor, create and manage the program from scratch, or use a mentoring platform designed to make the process of running a mentoring program easy.

Personal leadership development

Finally, you can leave your employees’ education and development in their own hands. You can provide emerging leaders and high-potential individuals with learning stipends but leave it up to them to self-educate based on their interests and desired career paths. 

This gives employees agency in their career decisions while finding a home for their interests. By pursuing their desired development, they will be more invested in your company’s goals.

eBook Develop your high-potential employees with mentors

6 Companies with leadership development programs to learn from

From hiring and training interns before they enter the workforce to building your own in-house university with a large array of resources – the companies below have gone above and beyond to ensure their employees get the learning and development they want and need to do their jobs well. After all, empowering employees means empowering your organization.

When looking through these examples, pay attention to:

  • Employees groups – managers, graduates, minority groups, etc
  • Career level – interns, graduates, entry-level, etc
  • Types of learning and development – university teaching, classes, mentorship, etc.

Let’s look at 6 companies with successful leadership programs:

1. Randstad

Randstad, a Dutch multinational HR consulting firm, established a global mentoring program where every employee could find a mentor within the organization. In other words, they wanted to ensure each employee had access to training and development. This involved building an in-house mentorship program from scratch and matching mentors and mentees by determining suitability. Once they were able to create a scalable system that worked for them, they started seeing results. 

Through this global mentorship program, they could monitor employee turnover, focusing on those who participated compared to those who didn’t. They found that those participating in the mentorship program were 49% less likely to leave the organization.

2. Adobe

Adobe starts training employees even before they properly enter the workforce. They run a large and diverse internship program where interns are introduced and taught about everything that goes into operating the software company. They recruit interns from schools, colleges, and organizations like Girls Who Code. Additionally, they provide new graduates with educational resources through Adobe Career Academy on the company’s practices.

Within these learning and development programs, they conduct regular check-ins, review performances, and collect feedback to ensure employees are ready to start new positions. And once in their new positions, employees are given educational stipends and access to leadership development courses. All of this helps these employees grow in their positions while preparing for the next career step.

3. Cigna

Cigna’s leadership programs or Cigna’s LDPs have a more departmental focus. They recruit individuals for nine different areas such as marketing, sales, technology, etc. These individuals then have access to mentorship and a dedicated program manager who watches over their progress and growth. As part of the program, individuals work across a variety of positions, attend the Cross Program Summit – to expand their network and meet Cigna’s leadership – and benefit from other business-related seminars. 

4. Allstate

Allstate provides more well-rounded leadership training through multiple development programs accessed via rotation. For example, their Technology Leadership Development Program focuses on cross-functional learning through three rotations. 

These leadership programs provide valuable experience and training in the departments of technology, finance, data analysis, and more. And all of these programs are designed to challenge participants so they can gain valuable insights, perspectives, and experiences through assignments, workshops, mentorship, and more.

5. Deloitte

Deloitte launched Deloitte University (DU), their $300 million leadership and learning center in Texas, US. Through this learning center, they provide live and virtual classrooms, team-based learning, networking opportunities, and more. 

The university aside, Deloitte strives to use L&D programs to boost inclusion efforts by running programs such as: 

  • Emerging Leaders Development Program (ELDP) – designed to help high-performing minority managers to progress in their career path
  • Women’s Leadership Programs – set of intensive programs customized and built to boost the growth of high-talent women at different career levels.
  • Career sponsorship and mentoring – embedded sponsorship opportunities for various development programs, and more.

Through these efforts, Deloitte shows that there are many different ways an organization can support leadership development.

6. NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal has been running their Page Program since 1933. This is a rotational learning and development program geared towards developing early career talent in the media industry. And so, this in-person leadership development program is mainly for early-career entry-level roles. And through the program, participants get exposure to NBCU and valuable experience in the media industry.  They complete assignments, network within the field, and serve as ambassadors of the program. 

Additionally, they are paid hourly wages plus benefits so they can comfortably enjoy the full experience of the program.

Check out more examples of successful mentoring programs.

Ready to take your leadership development program to the next level?

As you’ll notice, most of the abovementioned leadership development programs have some aspect of mentorship – whether one-on-one or group mentoring. Internal mentoring programs – that you can direct and customize – are the best way to grow leaders. 

Research shows that finding a career mentor through a workplace mentorship program is a natural step for career development. And if you want to power all your employees – women and minority groups included – you’ll find mentoring programs as a recurring answer. In fact, women who benefited from mentorship and climbed the ladder will demonstrate how significant the process is by wanting to mentor others.

So, how do you include mentoring as part of your leadership development program? We, at Together, have made it easy to build and operate mentoring programs through one, online intuitive platform. Book a demo today to find out how!

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