Training Top 125 Best Practice: Paychex, Inc.’s Leadership Essentials Reshape

The new approach focused on two key enhancements: a flipped classroom and cloud-based training materials.

Paychex, Inc., is a provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services. After completing a current state analysis, which included voice of the customer research, the Leadership & Organization Development team reshaped Paychex’s new leader development program, Leadership Essentials (LE). The reshape aimed to improve:

  • Relevancy of the content
  • Completion of pre-work assignments
  • Speed to competency
  • Participant satisfaction/loyalty and learning

Program Details

The new approach focused on two key enhancements: a flipped classroom and cloud-based training materials. This means Paychex now delivers more instructional content through online pre-work assignments outside of the classroom before the participants attend the classroom development sessions. By doing this, more classroom time is dedicated to assimilating the content through collaborative discussions, skill practices, group activities, and deliberate reflection. Shifting the classroom development approach from the acquisition of content to the assimilation of content provides the facilitators more time to coach the new leaders in their learning, and allows participants more time to provide peer coaching.

To ensure content is relevant, it was reshaped to align with the Paychex leadership pillars of:

  • Acquire talent
  • Manage talent (performance)
  • Grow talent
  • Engage/retain talent

All materials provided in the classroom are delivered through paperless technology, enabling participants to access their materials and notes after the session on any Internet-enabled device, including their mobile phones. This is invaluable for sales leaders who are often in the field and need quick access to their leadership tools.


All of these improvements generated through the LE reshape have led to high levels of participant learning and satisfaction:

  • Overall Net Promoter Score (NPS) for all participants (the measurement indicator Paychex uses for participant satisfaction/loyalty) is 92 percent. NPS for new sales leaders is 100 percent. According to KnowledgeAdvisors, the median NPS for all training types is +43, with the highest value seen for IT training (+71), and the lowest value occurring with occupational safety/compliance training (+2).
  • Participants self-assessed their leadership skills pre-LE at an average of 5.6 and post-LE at an average of 8.5 (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no skill and 10 being exceptional) for a 52 percent improvement in learning.
  • Pre-work completion improved from 45 to 95 percent.
  • Speed-to-competency improved by nine months (from 15 months with three one-week classroom sessions to six months with the LE reshape).


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