Training Top 125 Best Practice: Navient’s Leadership Development Program

Prior to a three-day in-person training session, participants are involved in several pre-work exercises and a 360-degree feedback evaluation, and also are assigned a peer-feedback partner.

During 2015, a needs assessment was conducted with more than 200 leaders within Navient—a provider of asset management and business processing solutions for education, health-care, and government clients at the federal, state, and local levels—to assess what leadership competencies and experiences currently were being demonstrated and what training was needed to position the business for future success. A curriculum of leadership training was proposed, and the first program launched in April 2016.

Program Details

This new leadership development program targets high-potential leaders who lead the efforts of others. Participants are nominated by their leadership and assigned to a cohort (the team with whom they will partner for the program). There are two programs: one for mid-level leaders and one for front-line leaders; both are sponsored by a company executive.

Prior to a three-day in-person training session that focuses on innovation, emotional intelligence, inspiring through leadership, effective coaching, leading change, and executing for results, participants are involved in several pre-work exercises and a 360-degree feedback evaluation, and also are assigned a peer-feedback partner. The cohort learning journey assumes a blended learning approach, with access to classroom training, Webinars, Ted Talks, and group feedback sessions, including meetings with executives.


Kirkpatrick Level 1 surveys are initiated electronically to assess immediate learner reactions to the three-day program. Participants’ satisfaction rate is 97 percent.

Level 2 assessments were implemented throughout the three-day session to assess overall understanding and practice of leadership competencies. Participants demonstrated improvement in giving and receiving feedback, and developing and delivering communications that inspire and motivate.

Level 3 and 4 assessment also were conducted. All observers have noticed an average 15 percent performance improvement for the training participants. The program participants reported an increase in the talent outcomes: Some 88 percent reported increased feeling of value to the organization, and 92 percent reported increased engagement in being a leader. Participants’ managers also reported 59.5 percent increased promotability, and a 71 percent increase in employee focus on development.

Regarding the business impact:

  • 48.5 percent of participants’ managers reported an increased number of capable leaders.
  • 74.5 percent of managers reported increased overall quality of leaders.
  • 74.5 percent of managers reported a higher standard of leadership.
  • Among the 201 program graduates in 2016, 119 of them (49 percent) have demonstrated performance improvement.

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