What Makes a Successful Leadership Development Program?

what makes a successful leadership development program

A 2018 workplace survey showed 94% of employees would stay with their company longer if they simply invested in their career development! Leadership development is essential for employee retention and engagement in the workplace since focused leadership training can propel the career trajectory of your employees. But what makes a leadership development program successful? We’ll go over some of the key elements that go into a successful leadership strategy.

Ask yourself, why did you leave your last job and workplace? Did you dislike the company you worked for? Did your values not align? Or did you simply feel that your company didn’t invest enough, if at all, in your development? If you felt that there was a lack of development, you’re not alone. 

An abundance of online leadership courses have arisen over recent years, and it has become a challenge to choose the best fit. At A Better Leader, we’ve seen that consistent leadership training delivers engaged employees. As one of our clients said, “We have leaders who have grown up in the company and have little formal training. Consistent training really gets people thinking!” 

To help you understand what goes into a successful leadership development program, here are a few top tips to get you started!

1. Strong Company Culture and Values
2. Defined and Measurable Goals
3. Retention Strategy
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Strong Company Culture and Values

If your company does not have clearly defined values, you will have no way to measure your progress. Think about the following: Do your employees understand your values? Do you see your employees incorporate those values on an ongoing basis? Do you see your leaders and employees actively embracing and promoting your company culture?

Understandably, the above questions will give you and your company a lot of things to think about. Without clearly defining and breaking down how your company culture and values fit into your workplace, you will risk having a disengaged organization that lacks growth and a strong sense of morale. You simply cannot downplay how vital your values are when it comes to your overall company mission. In fact, strong core values inspire and guide how your team behaves, and your training should reflect that.

Revisit your company values and overall mission statement. Make sure it promotes a strong culture and embraces the values you believe in. The training you implement should foster strong company culture and instill a respectful workplace for employees at all levels. 

Defined (and Measurable) Goals

If your goals are not clearly defined and measurable, you will have no way of knowing how effective your training is. Look at the gaps in your workplace or organization. What are some strengths that need to be honed? Where is there potential room for improvement? What areas do you specifically need to improve upon? Your leadership training needs to be able to address the goals you’ve defined, both short-term and long-term. 

Determine how you will measure the success of your workplace. Will you survey your employees and ask them to rate the areas you’ve been struggling in? For example, let’s say you took a survey of your current leaders and asked them to rate their experience in several different areas. The lowest rating was that their motivation/engagement was at a 2 out of 5. Your goal should be to implement training that shows your leaders how to motivate their teams and have them complete another survey after everyone has completed their training. You will see if your survey answers have improved and if your leadership training is effective in your workplace.

There are several ways you can measure the effectiveness of the training you’ve implemented. You can do things like assess the number of employees who complete it or the amount of leaders who earn a promotion or take on a new set of responsibilities. Even more importantly, you can ask your employees for their genuine feedback.

A Retention Strategy

Your leadership development program needs to factor in a retention strategy to ensure that not only was your training effectively implemented but that the employees who completed it remain a part of your organization. After all, you’ve invested in leadership training for your employees, so it’s safe to say you have hopes for their future with your workplace. They will likely assume some sort of leadership or management position in the future. They are valuable to your organization, and retention should be the main focus.

You can hold regular meetings with your leaders for them to give genuine feedback and let you know how their feelings are when it comes to job satisfaction. If it is possible within your company budget, you may be able to compensate your employees with other perks to ensure they feel valued and essential to your organization. If things like additional PTO (paid time off) days or financial benefits are unattainable, the simple fact of recognizing your employees for a job well done can go a long way. Statistics reveal 82% of employed Americans don’t feel that their supervisors recognize them enough for their contributions. You simply cannot overlook how important an effective retention strategy can be for your workplace.

Does Your Company Need To Develop Leaders?

The truth is, a lot of companies will invest in leadership development programs, and they won’t all see the same return on their investment. Ultimately, it comes down to choosing what is right for you and your organization. The training you implement should align closely with your company culture and values. 

At A Better Leader, we believe in a leadership development program that is based on a strong company culture; one that actively engages your leaders, and helps them motivate the rest of your workforce. It’s essential for us to offer training that aligns your leaders with the topics that are important to your organization. If you’re looking to implement a successful leadership development program, and provide your workplace with skills to improve their teams, look no further. We’re here to help you create better leaders.

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    Walter Orechwa

    Walter is Projections’ CEO and the founder of A Better Leader. Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.