Top 10 Hall of Fame Outstanding Training Initiatives (May/June 2018)

Each year Training magazine requires all Training Top 10 Hall of Famers to submit an Outstanding Training Initiative that is shared with our readers in a print issue. Here are the details of CHG Healthcare’s Safeguarding People-Centered Leadership program and McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.’s Employee/Manager Connection Training.


In 2015, CHG Healthcare was experiencing unprecedented growth, including 30 percent employee growth and 62 percent revenue growth over a three-year period. The company wanted to ensure such growth would not jeopardize the things that made it a Fortune Top 100 Great Places to Work, including its: leadership philosophy, award-winning employee engagement, industry-leading employee retention, and culture and core values.

CHG Healthcare designed People-Centered Leadership to protect those key success factors. People-Centered Leadership provides just-in-time training for new leaders recently promoted or externally hired into the organization, along with immersion into what leadership looks like for high potentials looking to advance into leadership.

Program Details

The program content was developed collaboratively on a corporate and divisional level by Learning and Development (L&D) experts partnering with senior-level leaders and other subject matter experts to ensure alignment with CHG’s leadership philosophy. The program was built from scratch with the exception of two foundational courses, Ken Blanchard Companies’ “Situational Leadership II” and Vital Smarts’ “Crucial Conversations.” A panel of senior-level leaders throughout the organization previewed and signed off on each course.

People-Centered Leadership is delivered throughout the organization by way of blended learning. Foundational courses “The CHG Way of Leadership,” “Situational Leadership II,” and “Crucial Conversations” are delivered to all participants through traditional in-person classroom instruction, video conference, or virtual classroom. People-Centered Leadership also utilizes a flipped classroom approach, with participants digesting the majority of the content prior to coming to class. The classroom time is spent in deeper discussion or practical application of the concepts learned. In addition, follow-up discussions and online videos are available immediately following classes designed for high potentials through CHG’s internal social media platform.

After the foundational courses of People-Centered Leadership are delivered, the company offers application courses in the following three to four weeks. These courses are delivered at a divisional level and give participants the opportunity to share struggles, concerns, and success stories, and to ask for support and advice. Each quarter starting at the beginning of the program, the leaders of People-Centered Leadership participants receive previews with a snapshot of what each class covers. The intent is to encourage dialogue between the leader and participants on what they are learning and what their strategy is to implement the skills and abilities learned.

High-potential participants engage in a capstone event upon completion of the four-month program. This event allows each participant to lead a presentation on a key leadership skill he or she has learned, implemented, and seen positive behavior change as a result.


In the first year of People-Centered Leadership, CHG Healthcare delivered 28 courses of critical content for 91 leaders newly promoted or externally hired through just-in-time training over the course of 11 months. CHG Healthcare also trained 77 high potentials via a four-month program consisting of nine courses.

CHG Healthcare strives to maintain a 5:1 team member-to-leader ratio. With growth plans to double the size of the company by 2021, the strategic goal to be achieved is to maintain that same ratio while continuing to align all new leaders with CHG’s core value of Putting People First. Prior to the rollout of People-Centered Leadership, CHG Healthcare’s team member-to-leader ratio was 4.73 direct reports to every 1 leader. During 2016, CHG Healthcare grew by 340 net new employees. People-Centered Leadership allowed the company to develop enough new leaders to continue to meet its strategic goal. At year end, the ratio was 4.57 team members to every 1 leader.

CHG also improved its employee retention. Since inception of People-Centered Leadership, CHG Healthcare’s turnover numbers decreased from 17 percent to 14.8 percent in an industry that averages between 50 and 60 percent turnover.


As part of its Vision 2018 Strategic Plan, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., adopted three corporate strategic goals designed to act as guideposts for the organization and differentiate it from the competition. One of these business goals was a focus on top talent, which includes recruiting, training, engaging, and retaining the best people in the construction industry while maintaining a thriving employee ownership culture.

To evaluate organizational strengths and prioritize opportunities for improvement, McCarthy executed an Employee Engagement Survey in 2013 and a Performance Planning Pulse Survey in 2016. Results from both surveys suggested trust and manager effectiveness were opportunities for improvement.

As a result of employee feedback, in 2017 McCarthy launched its new Employee/Manager Connection training initiative. It focused on improving the connection between supervisors and their direct reports in the areas of development, feedback, and recognition—the three areas that correlate most strongly with a better employee experience.

Program Details

The McCarthy Employee/Manager Connection training initiative is companywide and required for everyone in a supervisory role. It consists of leadership communication, clear expectation setting, local champion involvement, in-person training classes, and a plan for follow-up and support.

McCarthy researched proven models that were effective, yet simple enough for employees to be able to implement right away. The Training team also interviewed operations team members to develop real-life scenarios that could be incorporated into the three training sessions.

The training concentrates on specific skills to help managers become more effective as soon as possible. In-person classes focus on the following three areas:

1. Development: Supervisors learn how to use the GROW model to help employees be successful in their current roles. The model gives them access to development opportunities.

2. Feedback: Supervisors learn the “language” of constructive feedback. They practice identifying what feedback to give, how to give it, when to give it, and learn how to apply it moving forward.

3. Recognition: Supervisors learn how recognition can impact performance, learn tips for giving recognition appropriately and meaningfully, and learn how to make recognition a management habit.

To ensure leadership buy-in and understanding of the program, regional leadership teams completed a self-assessment on the skills being taught. They reviewed results with the team and discussed how they could better model the capabilities being taught. An e-mail from the regional president introduced the training to attendees, clarifying its purpose and importance. The three sessions were facilitated by McCarthy’s corporate director of Organizational Effectiveness, in conjunction with key regional leaders. Divisional leadership sent a follow-up e-mail to all participants summarizing what was learned and encouraged them to test the new process with their employees.


To date, 359 managers have completed the first training session, “Effective Development Conversations,” and 145 managers have completed the second training, “Delivering Constructive Feedback.” Sixty-five managers have completed the third session, “How to Use Recognition to Drive Performance.”

Before each session, participants receive an electronic survey with a pre-assessment to evaluate their current knowledge on the topic. The pre-assessment also serves to introduce some of the language and terminology they will learn. After completing the training, they receive a post-assessment with the same questions so McCarthy can measure learning. On average, there was a 14 percent increase in knowledge learned from pre-assessment to post-assessment.

To date, McCarthy has obtained Kirkpatrick Level 3 results from four of the “Effective Development Conversation” sessions that were conducted. Surveys were sent 60 days after completion of training. Results included:

  • 94 percent used the GROW model to have a developmental conversation with an employee.
  • 84 percent made adjustments in their leadership style.
  • 41 percent worked with their employees to develop an action plan and clear path to achieve the goal.
Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.