Training Top 125 Best Practice: Argo Group’s SHINE ONboarding Program

The orientation program provides an opportunity for new employees to “SHINE” in the organization while leveraging all of their natural talents, skills, and competencies to enhance the corporate culture and strategy.

Property/casualty insurance and managed risk solutions provider Argo Group’s SHINE ONboarding new employee orientation program aimed to increase employee engagement scores as compared to 2018 results. The onboarding program covers all new employees companywide, regardless of position, business unit, or geographic location.
Program Details

The onboarding program provides an opportunity for new employees to “shine” in the organization while leveraging all of their natural talents, skills, and competencies to enhance the corporate culture and strategy.

When new employees start on their first day, they receive a “Welcome Kit” containing resources to assist them in acclimating to the culture, including a book written by Agro’s CEO and a Kindle-like device to promote learning.

They also receive an interactive, digital document called the “Ship’s Log,” which gives them self-paced, individual, and collaborative yet concrete steps to take within their first 7, 30, 60, and 90 days. Accompanying the “Ship’s Log” is the “Manager Toolkit,” which provides managers with a checklist of tasks to be completed, thus aligning the manager and new employee’s onboarding activities.

The third element is an instructor-led training (ILT) program that provides new employees networking opportunities with other employees and dives into the corporate culture. Held quarterly, the program is divided into three components occuring over the course of a year:

  • The first component of the ILT is a three-hour orientation that shares a high-level overview of the corporate culture. Additionally, the orientation class introduces new employees to Cultural Intelligence, provides moments of self-reflection, and leverages a panel of site employees to jump-start their local network.
  • The second component of the ILT is four three-hour classes held quarterly that each dive into one of the corporate values. Each class integrates key learnings that will help new employees embody that particular value during their day-to-day job.
  • The final component of the ILT is a capstone presentation where new employees are placed in a cohort group and identify an organizational challenge they think needs to be solved or improved. This presentation is made to a group of senior leaders (inlcuding senior vice presidents of all business units and director-level employees) for feedback and potential implementation. Capstone implementation will have significant bottom-line impact on processes and results.

At the end of each class, participants develop an action plan and identify a “journey partner” who holds them accountable for executing the action plan before attending the next session (three months later). The action plan focuses on key learnings from the class and how participants can implement those learnings in their day-to-day job role. After the program is completed, some participants return to present and share how those principles have enhanced their experience at the company.

The deployment of the first and second elements are fairly decentralized and handled by the manager; the third element (the instructor-led class) is centralized and managed by Argo’s training function, Argo Academy. Cohort groups of new employees are constantly being introduced to other new employees as they attend more classes.


Argo increased its “Culture of High Performance and High Value” metric for its Employee Engagement Survey score by 2.8 percent.

In addition, a recent analysis of Kirkpatrick Level 4 data shows there was a 5.4 percent decrease in voluntary attrition of new employees who participated in the SHINE ONboarding program compared to those new employees who did not participate.


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