• Published September 22, 2023
  • 6 Minute Read

The Value of Open-Enrollment Leadership Training Programs

Published September 22, 2023
Photo of presenter pointing to poster for conference room of co-workers discussing the ROI and value of open-enrollment leadership training programs

Is your organization looking to boost retention and strengthen its leadership pipeline? Don’t overlook the benefits of open-enrollment leadership programs as part of a successful leadership development strategy. It’s a strong, flexible, convenient, and high-value part of the learning and development mix. Here’s why.

Understanding the ROI of Open-Enrollment Leadership Programs

3 Keys to Their Value

1. Open-enrollment leadership development is flexible.

A key value of open-enrollment leadership programs is that they provide proven development that can flex to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the organization.

HR can use such programs to address specific issues in target leader populations, and shift their investments from year to year, as needs emerge and evolve.

Some of our clients routinely use a trusted open-enrollment leadership program as part of their employee development — for example, all mid- to senior-level leaders at the organization who have been identified as high potentials might get the opportunity to attend our flagship Leadership Development Program (LDP)®, which focuses specifically on the challenges of leading from the middle.

The organization might send a handful of employees one year and dozens the next, depending upon its needs at the time. The company leverages our research-backed program for reliable development of that leader level each year, and shifts investments as needs arise.

Infographic: The Leadership Value of Open-Enrollment Leadership Development Learning

2. Open-enrollment leadership development is complementary.

Another key benefit of open leadership programs is that they can fit together like puzzle pieces into a larger development plan to support large-scale training and retention initiatives.

For example, many of our clients use our externally delivered leadership programs, in combination with virtual coaching, action learning, and peer mentoring, to create a robust training program for their leaders at every level. Off-the-shelf programs from outside providers can be used in tandem with the internal leadership development initiatives run by their in-house teams.

Other organizations establish multi-year initiatives to develop certain leader populations. For example, many of our clients opt to prepare their individual contributors and frontline managers for leadership using our new manager courses, while at the same time offering their senior leaders the chance to take executive leadership programs aimed specifically at the challenges of leading at the top — particularly since the effectiveness of senior executives ties directly to the organization’s future success.

These are just some examples of how open-enrollment leadership development programs can contribute to the overall structure of your organization’s development and retention strategy.

3. Open-enrollment leadership development is budget-friendly.

Many companies can’t dedicate resources to major development initiatives for all leader levels. Or they are doing in-depth custom work for just a select group. So another key value of open-enrollment leadership programs is that they enable companies to fill gaps in their development initiatives with proven, affordable programs where they don’t have large budgets or in-house training resources.

Our virtual programs, particularly our fundamental leadership skills online training, are a good example of this — offering an affordable, scalable way to develop basic leadership competencies across large, but key, populations like professional staff and leaders on the front lines.

In a more general sense, investing in your people also helps to improve your organization’s bottom line, which is of course key among the reasons to invest in leadership development.

Perhaps that’s why our market research found that organizations are continuing to invest in leadership development, even during downturns and recessions — because they know it gives them a competitive advantage.

What to Look for in an Open-Enrollment Leadership Training Provider

What Sets Our Programs Apart

The best open-enrollment leadership development programs include even more value than just the 3 keys outlined above. At CCL, we’re proud that our leadership programs also offer the following additional features.

Broad Scope, Clear Focus

We understand that leadership skills need to evolve and expand to meet changing conditions and to prepare for future challenges. At the same time, we’ve identified the core leadership skills critical for success at each level, so that individuals — and organizations — can see faster results. Just match up the right learning at the right time for each leader, and ensure that learning is tailored to the challenges faced and competences needed each level. Almost all leaders (99%) who participate in our open-enrollment leadership programs say the experience was worth the time and effort required.

Content That’s Research-Based, Proven & Cutting-Edge

We update our programs in response to changes in the workplace and as new research findings and new best practices emerge. For example, our flagship Leadership Development Program (LDP)® is rigorously research-based and consistently ranked as one of the best leadership development programs in the world, reflecting a balance of consistent quality and ongoing relevance. Participant evaluations of the program find that LDP is clearly moving the needle in the 6 leadership skills most critical for the success of middle managers and that 8 weeks later, 99% of participants report they are applying what they learned in the course. One leader said, “It so valuable to have opportunities to practice techniques. It not only helps with performance but it solidifies the learning.”

A Dedicated Space to Learn

Whether delivered in-person or virtually, our programs enable participants to try new behaviors and techniques in a safe and confidential learning environment. They also have a chance to network and learn from others around the world. One participant summarized her LDP experience by saying, “You meet wonderful people who are also in the same space and mindset and want your help as much as you are open to theirs.” Many client organizations tell us that this “protected” time and space is essential for personal reflection and transformation. This dedicated space for learning is present in both our online and in-person programs, and satisfaction with our virtual programs is virtually the same as in-person programs.

Worldview, Global Reach & Client Focus

Our open-enrollment leadership programs are offered frequently with many date options, online and at various locations around the world for in-person learning — providing many choices to meet busy schedules and a range of client needs. One participant noted that the most impactful program experience was “to have interaction with a variety of people in different countries and different sectors.” Programs are typically delivered in English, but often assessments and coaching are offered in additional languages. All are facilitated by our highly educated faculty and world-class coaches from business, academia, and the nonprofit world — described as “clearly passionate and engaging throughout the sessions” by a program participant.

Highly Personalized Experience

Finally, in all our work, we provide a highly personalized learning experience, grounded in individualized assessments and research-based frameworks and methods. That’s why our clients say the value of our open-enrollment programs is clear — and why taking them is a powerful learning experience that participants often describe as life-changing, career-making events. One participant commented, “With a background in training and development, I can confidently say this program will provide the greatest level of ROI that will really stick for a leader,” and 99% of participants report being eager to find opportunities to practice the skills they learned.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Learn more about our open-enrollment leadership training programs, including our virtual leadership programs, to select the right one for your leaders.

  • Published September 22, 2023
  • 6 Minute Read
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Leading Effectively Staff
Leading Effectively Staff

This article was written by our Leading Effectively staff, who analyze our decades of pioneering, expert research and experiences in the field to share content that will help leaders at every level. Subscribe to our emails to get the latest research-based leadership articles and insights sent straight to your inbox.

This article was written by our Leading Effectively staff, who analyze our decades of pioneering, expert research and experiences in the field to share content that will help leaders at every level. Subscribe to our emails to get the latest research-based leadership articles and insights sent straight to your inbox.

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About CCL

At the Center for Creative Leadership, our drive to create a ripple effect of positive change underpins everything we do. For 50+ years, we've pioneered leadership development solutions for everyone from frontline workers to global CEOs. Consistently ranked among the world's top providers of executive education, our research-based programs and solutions inspire individuals in organizations across the world — including 2/3 of the Fortune 1000 — to ignite remarkable transformations.