Training APEX Awards Best Practice: Leading@EisnerAmper Pathways (LEAP)

The program features a number of “firsts” for the firm, including a new “EXPLORE - DISCUSS – PERFORM” model and implementation of a gamified learning experience and digital badging.

APEX Awards

Leading@EisnerAmper Pathways (LEAP) is a virtual-first, blended leadership development program for mid-career professionals that aims to increase colleague retention. The program features a number of “firsts” for the accounting firm, including a new model that provides sequencing, reinforcement, and application; investment in a learning experience platform (LXP); and implementation of a gamified learning experience and digital badging strategy.

Program Details

Each pathway in the program is six weeks long and aligns with the four domains of the mid-career professional competency model across five levels of increasing scope and rigor (for a total of 20 different pathways). Each pathway empowers individuals to select the content and medium that is best aligned with their interests/needs/preferences instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.

This program operates under EisnerAmper’s “EXPLORE – DISCUSS – PERFORM” model. It leverages an LXP that underpins the functionality of each element of the program and the gamification strategy.

Participants begin with a pre-assessment to evaluate their perceived abilities. They then EXPLORE curated content (articles, videos, and podcasts) based on their interests/needs/preferences and available time. They engage in social learning when they DISCUSS insights from the content and their personal experiences, both live and on-demand. They share on-demand via message boards, and live via Teams meetings in both whole-group settings and in small-group Peer Coaching Circles.

To turn learning to action, they select PERFORMance Tasks aligned with learning outcomes to complete within current workflows. For example, if facilitating a meeting is the skill being developed, the PERFORM section of the pathway includes a variety of tools and techniques to be used at their next meeting, sample agendas, roles that can be assigned, etc. After using a PERFORM tool or technique, participants can discuss the experience with their Peer Coaching Circle. What worked well for them? What didn’t? How could they continue their journey to mastery of this skill?

The pathway culminates with participants completing a post-assessment, which is compared to the pre-assessment to demonstrate one measure of growth. Participants earn points for activity within the pathway and within the cohort. Those who successfully complete the program receive a digital badge that they post to their LinkedIn account and share with their networks.

Despite pathways ending after six weeks, some Peer Coaching Circles have continued to meet months later. They discuss their progress toward mastery of the learning outcomes, and they also discuss various challenges and opportunities present across the firm.


EisnerAmper has launched four pathways to date (engagement management, business development, communication, and strategic thinking). More than 100 leaders have completed a pathway, on average increasing targeted skills by 16 percent. Thanks, in part, to this improvement in proficiency, colleagues who earned the digital badge for this program have a turnover rate of 9.6 percent, a nearly 7 percent improvement from the firm’s overall turnover rate.

Edited by Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. 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.