Training Top 125 Best Practice: Bankers Life’s Emerging Leadership Program

Bankers Life established the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) to address expansion goals and leadership needs by building the management bench through selecting and training field managers to fuel a succession pipeline of future satellite managers.

Bankers Life’s current internal promotion rates are high, but it often takes front-line managers many years before they are ready to be promoted to the next level, and their retention rates are not as high as the organization would like to see.

In response, Bankers Life established the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) to address expansion goals and leadership needs by building the management bench through selecting and training field managers to fuel a succession pipeline of future satellite managers.

Program Details

The management training committee helped to design this program to accelerate the leadership development of front-line managers to take on higher-level management positions within their branches at a faster rate. The blended program is designed to run in classes.

In the selection process, a candidate must be nominated by the branch manager, eligibility and pre-requisites are verified, and the candidate completes two rounds of interviews: one with the field leadership and one with the Home Office. Acceptance is limited to approximately eight nominees from each of four territories for each class.

The Emerging Leaders (ELs) are selected among internal candidates after an intensive selection process. ELP candidates rotate through management positions within one year. Two classes begin each calendar year.

Results

Results are as follows:

  • Class 1: 59 percent promotion rate, including those who have been promoted twice since completing the program. Current retention through the one year of the program (and since graduating) is 63 percent (17/27).
  • Class 2: 68 percent promotion rate, including those who have been promoted twice and two people being triple promoted to branch manager from the front-line manager position. Retention through the one year of the program (and since graduating) is 73 percent (22/30).
  • Class 3: 50 percent promotion rate, including those who have been promoted twice. Retention through the one year of the program (and since graduating) is 65 percent (20/31).
  • Class 4: 42 percent promotion rate, including those who have been promoted twice. Retention through the one year of the program (and since graduating) is 81 percent (26/32).
  • Class 5: Currently a 25 percent promotion rate during the program. Currently, the retention is 97 percent (32/33).

ELP has been a highly successful program at Bankers Life, and is building a strong leadership pipeline for continued company growth. Bankers Life utilizes some aspects of this program in other areas and as the base of its other leadership initiatives.

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