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Preparing Mid-Managers for a Leadership Role: A Case Study – Part 3 of 4

Evaluating Progress: Two Years Later

Part I of this case study discussed the background and initial steps in developing a program to prepare mid-managers of a national car rental company for future leadership roles. Part II focused on evaluating progress of the program after one year.Part III will focus on evaluating progress of the program after two years have passed.

A survey conducted by the Learning & Development (L&D) group after the two year mark continued to show the success of the program:

  • 100% (all 53 participants) agreed it was a valuable investment of time
  • 96% (51 participants) felt that they were continuing to show progress in applying their new skills and knowledge in a variety of situations
    • The balance (2 participants) felt that they were unable to continue to find opportunities to use their skills in their current situation, but still found the program to be worthwhile and were working with their managers to find other opportunities
  • 100% felt the adjustments made to the program after year one were definitely helping and they felt more relaxed and capable of managing the program workload and their day-to-day job responsibilities
  • 85% (45 participants) felt that the situation with their co-workers had improved and they were working much better as a team
    • The balance (8 participants) still felt they were struggling with their co-workers but did acknowledge that the situation was getting slightly better but still felt they needed support in this area to improve relationships with their co-workers/team members

The L&D group shared the results of the survey with the participants, their managers and others within the organization.  The managers were asked to take on the responsibility of assisting those individual participants who either felt they needed help finding opportunity to use their skills and/or needed assistance repairing and/or building stronger relationships with team members and co-workers.

Manager concerns

While the managers of the participants felt that overall things had settled in their departments as all employees felt better “taken care of” regarding training programs and growth opportunities (see more about this below under “non-program participants”), they had a new concern which they brought to the L&D group.

Of concern to managers of the participants was what would happen after the last year in the program.  It was expected that many of these participants would move to other roles within the organization and the managers were concerned about replacing their job and transitioning responsibilities.  It was felt by the managers that not enough planning was done around this particular situation and it could be a huge issue for the business units/departments if not managed well early enough in the process.

Given these concerns, and the fact that the L&D group couldn’t really address them, the CEO and others on the executive team took up this issue.

The meeting to address the managers’ concerns

In a meeting between the CEO, SVP of L&D, EVP of HR and all of the VPs within each of the business units/departments, a discussion focused on strategic planning initiatives to address turnover when participants in the program moved to other business units and/or took on other responsibilities.  While it was unlikely that everyone would be moved around immediately at the end of the program, it was likely that enough participants would be moved around to cause disruption in departments and business units, especially with so many long-term strategic projects in the works.

It was decided at the meeting that an analysis would be done of all participants to determine:

  • Planned moves to other roles and time period for such moves
  • Current roles and responsibilities of the individuals and how to best ensure those responsibilities can be continued within the department/business unit by current employees (growth opportunities) or new hires where necessary

The VPs of the business units along with the EVP of HR would  be involved in the strategic analysis and would report back to the executive team within 6 months.

Non-program participants are happier and employee retention figures have improved

With the results of the survey done after year one and the individual contributors and managers who offered their support in development of a general management development program for those who were not part of the high potential pool, the L&D group was hard at work on developing a variety of programs for others within the organization.  They include:

  • Supervisory training program (which focused on individual contributors moving into supervisory or team leadership roles)
  • Project leadership program
  • Management training program

As was decided after year one, both full time and contract employees were hired to support the increased demands on L&D in developing additional programs in a shorter timeframe to benefit all employees, while still maintaining the high potential program.

Additionally, strategic plans were in the works for a collaboration portal for all employees that included “just-in-time” podcasts and online learning on a variety of topics such as: Earned Value Management Systems, Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, Problem Solving, Financial Basics, to name a few.  Additionally, the L&D group had rolled out a variety of forums for employees at all levels to continue to build their knowledge, develop new skills and build networks throughout the organization through lunch & learn sessions, breakfast meetings and Friday late afternoon get-togethers.

A pilot program of the supervisory training program was ready to be rolled out with 25 initial participants and the project leadership program was expected to start soon thereafter with 15 initial participants.  The management training program would be completed and ready for pilot roll out within another couple of months.

A follow-up survey of this group showed that all employees (remember this was outside the high potential group) felt as if their concerns were heard and were being addressed.  They were pleased with the progress made to date and were comfortable with the path being taken to ensure their continued growth and development within the company.

The executive team, while pleased with the results of the survey and the work being done by L&D knew that they needed to develop better career paths for all employees and not just a select few.  The CEO assigned the EVP of HR, SVP of L&D and 3 other executives to strategic planning around career paths for all employees.


The regular meetings the L&D group were holding with the various business units along with the quarterly surveys showed that progress was certainly being made on all fronts.  By keeping a pulse on the organization through the meetings and surveys, issues were raised nearly immediately (before they got out of control and spread throughout the organization) and were able to be addressed quickly.

The company added about 45 new hires in this time period.  More than half of that 45 were full time employees with the balance being longer term contract work to help on temporary projects and in development of curriculum.

The high potential program was continuing along successfully and assessments done of participants showed increases in business acumen, knowledge and skills needed for leadership roles.  The support structure put in place for participants was certainly a factor in the continued success of the program.

Part IV of this post will focus on Evaluating Progress: Three Years Later – Program End

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