L&D Best Practices: Strategies for Success (May 2024)

A look at Limbach Holdings, Inc.’s three levels of formal leadership development.

Training magazine taps 2024 Training APEX Awards winners and Training Hall of Famers to provide their learning and development best practices in each issue. Here, we look at Limbach Holding’s, Inc.’s three levels of formal leadership development.


Ah, the age-old HR question: How do we reduce attrition and improve career opportunities for our team?

While the answer may not be simple, we can celebrate the fact that there is an answer.

At Limbach Holdings, Inc., we have seen a 34 percent reduction in our attrition and a 33 percent increase in promotions for our salaried team members since 2021. How did we get here? We crafted and implemented a multi-year strategy to reimagine the workplace for our teams, which specifically included increasing career development and learning opportunities.

Our leadership development strategy is at the foundation of creating great opportunities for our people. It was born in 2020, stemming from a strategy shift and the throes of the Coronavirus and impending Great Resignation. It was clear the needs of our teams were shifting, and we needed to pivot our approach. While it’s tempting to focus on the near-term solutions, we also invested in long-term, sustainable results.

Enter the Tiered Program Plan (TPP). A tiered program plan aligns critical program solutions to the business’ strategic priorities. The plan considers many factors, starting with the business requirements and desired competencies. It includes the size and scope of the target population, the timing requirements, and delivery methods for the programs. The beauty of TPP is that it provides the Learning team a detailed framework to execute the business’ strategic priorities. It also provides employees with a clear path of multiple development opportunities as they grow in their career.

While TPPs can also be built for delivery modes (e.g., virtual instructor-led training) or functions (e.g., sales), our focus was centered on an employee population: leaders of people. The data showed that they had the most impact on retention and career development, as well as a direct impact on the execution of the company’s strategy.

Program Details

Our TPP began by laying out three formal leadership development programs called LEAD Level 1, 2, and 3. LEAD Level 1 is designed to educate emerging leaders in foundational leadership skills and an understanding of areas such as personal brand, networking, conflict management, and coaching. This virtual, seven-session line-up is held twice a year with a cap of 50 total emerging leaders.

LEAD Level 2 combines in-person learning with virtual and eLearning to develop foundational servant leadership skills for 30 mid-senior-level leaders. Leaders begin the year-long program with a focus on knowing themselves as a leader and defining a personal leadership philosophy. Then participants apply this to team leadership and hone the skills of influencing, decision-making, and delegating.

Our pinnacle program, LEAD Level 3, equips our current and future executive-level leaders with the best practices, skills, and tools to lead teams of leaders and larger organizations, driving the business forward at the highest level. The course examines four aspects of strategic leadership:

Leader as a Lighthouse




This selective program is capped at 15 executives and is filled with leaders who aspire to grow their career throughout the executive ranks or lead corporate departments or business units. The oneyear, cohort-style, hybrid program leverages the experiences and expertise of internal and external instructors and culminates in an action-learning strategic assignment presented to the senior leadership team. The progression through the LEAD programs is increasingly complex both in the amount of time spent and the competencies developed.


A tiered plan is great… in theory. But how do these programs get executed, especially with limited staff? This plan was built to be rolled out in stages and incorporate the succession and learning from the first programs. LEAD Level 2 rolled out in 2021, while Levels 1 and 3 followed in 2022. The LEAD programs consistently receive a net promoter score (NPS) of 90-plus percent and have “sold out” of capacity since inception. It is a dynamic program, adapted to align to the business’ strategy.

The LEAD Tiered Program Plan has had 171 graduates and boasts a 49 percent promotion rate upon graduation.

To date, our LEAD TPP has had 171 graduates and boasts a 49 percent promotion rate upon graduation. This pool of talent enables the growth of our people, as well as our business, and ultimately, reimagines our workplace one leader at a time.

To recap, at Limbach, we’re not just in the business of breathing new life into existing mission-critical infrastructure and systems; we’re in the business of creating exceptional leaders who can tackle our customers’ most challenging problems. By empowering our leaders through our Tiered Programs with the skills and insights needed, they become driving forces, tackling customer challenges with greater efficiency and innovative thinking. This, in turn, translates to best-in-class service and accountability, solidifying our position as our clients’ trusted partner. LEAD isn’t just a program—it’s a commitment to building a brighter future, one empowered leader and building system at a time.

Kate Mistry
Kate Mistry is AVP/director of Learning & Engagement at Limbach Holdings, Inc.