Designing a Leadership Learning Experience (LX):
The Gold Standard for Next-Gen Leader Development

Leadership Development needs a jolt. Most employers know it: 82% of organizations say they will take steps this year to improve their programs, according to Brandon Hall Group™ research (Developing Great Leaders, December 2023).

However, despite understanding the need for change, many employers still rely heavily on traditional modalities for leadership training.

Our research shows that 81% of organizations use on-site or virtual instructor-led training and 67% use eLearning modules. Only 24% use scenario-based simulations; less than 6% regularly leverage gamification, virtual reality or augmented reality.

In a world where remote and hybrid work is the norm and emerging Gen Z and Millennial leaders are digital natives who use a wide range of technologies to connect personally and professionally, a traditional approach to leadership training is a recipe for irrelevance.

AllenComm, a Brandon Hall Group™ Smartchoice® Preferred Provider, understands how to help employers excel at leadership training today and in the future. They do this by creating a transformative Leadership Learning Experience (LX).  Their approach focuses on alignment, change readiness, experience design and measurement. This approach sets the gold standard for leadership training.

What Makes a Leadership Learner Experience Different?

While technology is a key element, Leadership Learning Experiences are defined by much more than a specific platform. Employee training and development programs are aligned to the leadership values and culture of the organization and to the desired business outcomes that participating leaders need to succeed in their current roles, next roles and career journeys.

Leadership Learning Experiences:

  • Focus on leadership at all levels of an organization — from those who lead as individual contributors, to frontline leaders, to those who lead other leaders.
  • Accommodate how leaders prefer to learn and collaborate, giving them a choice on how, when and where to learn.
  • Align with the individual leader’s performance and career objectives as well as the organization’s objectives.
  • Include individual development plans for each leader to drive continuous learning and improvement.
  • Leverage skill management, assessment, cohort learning, gamification, achievement portfolios and badging, simulated practice and real-world applications.

In essence, the design of Leadership Learning Experiences pulls together all the important elements of leadership development that have remained fragmented in many organizations.

Developing Leaders Across the Enterprise

One of the critical differentiators in AllenComm’s Leadership Experience Design model is developing leaders at all levels — from those who lead as individual contributors, to frontline leaders, to senior people who lead other leaders.

For example, AllenComm — in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic — designed a frontline leadership program for thousands of Panera Bread employees who were charged with maintaining an excellent customer experience.

AllenComm understands that leadership is no longer a top-down activity where leaders command and workers respond. Modern leadership involves empowering people to collaborate to perform at their best. This must occur from the foundations of the organization to the very top. That’s why more companies are prioritizing topics that reflect the shift in the work of the leader — empowering and enabling people to deliver results. At least three-quarters of organizations responding to our research said these are the most important leadership topics in 2024:

  • Team leadership (85%)
  • Emotional intelligence (81%)
  • Inclusive leadership (75%)

Positioning Leaders for Success

Leadership Learning Experience design helps organizations make a deeper commitment to training leaders and reduce the barriers to success that have been in place for decades.

For example, only 20% of organizations use assessments on leadership competencies and skills, our research shows. If the employer does not understand the skills the employee has and the areas that need more development, it is impossible to forge a training plan that is tailored to the individual. Assessments can also uncover important behavioral traits and preferred learning styles. With this information in hand, organizations can put learners in a stronger position to succeed.

Most Gen Z and Millennial employees are motivated to learn by collaborating and applying newly learned skills in real-life situations. This is an inherent weakness of most traditional approaches. Three-quarters of our research respondents said they must do a better job of integrating development into day-to-day work, simulated practice and other forms of real-world application.

This is all included in AllenComm’s Leadership Experience Design approach, which also builds leadership training into workflows and gives candidates more opportunities to develop on the job.

For this to occur, an organization must have a clear and consistent approach to leadership. As important as most employers say leadership development is, 40% of organizations have no formal approach or common language around leadership effectiveness and development, Brandon Hall Group™ research shows. It’s difficult to train leaders at all levels and create cohesive, engaging programs without a common vision of development from the C-Suite to the front lines.

With 82% of employers poised to take further steps to improve leadership development in 2024, this is a perfect time for learning strategists and business leaders to get on the same page and take a strategic, multi-modal, omnichannel approach to build a deep and agile leader pipeline. A design process that focuses on creating learning journeys provides the blueprint.

Technology Ties Everything Together

A comprehensive and dynamic approach to leadership in the era of hybrid and remote work is impossible without the right technology. It is the backbone of leadership training — and all types of learning — in the digital age.

Technology is the great connector. But many organizations still struggle with learning platforms that don’t meet their current needs, let alone their future requirements. And learning organizations, our research shows, have been slow to educate themselves on AI and the myriad ways it can improve learning creation and delivery.

If you are not doing so already, now is the time to upgrade your technology to drive the type of learning and leadership development all organizations require. Making the business case is easy. The use of technology is crucial for implementing a dynamic approach such as AllenComm’s strategy for creating transformational learner experiences:

  • Communication. Technology enables leaders to maintain clear and consistent communication with their teams, regardless of location.
  • Collaboration. Digital tools facilitate collaboration, allowing employees to work together on projects, share ideas and provide feedback in real-time.
  • Accessibility. With technology, leadership development programs can be made accessible to employees across different locations and time zones. Online learning platforms, webinars and virtual workshops enable leaders to acquire new skills and knowledge at their own pace.
  • Performance management. Technology helps leaders monitor and assess team performance remotely. Digital tools for goal setting, progress tracking and performance reviews allow leaders to provide timely feedback and support to their team members.
  • Engagement and motivation. Leaders can use technology to create virtual spaces for informal interactions, team-building activities and recognition programs.
  • Adaptability. As remote and hybrid work becomes more prevalent, leaders must be proficient in using technology to navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by these new work arrangements. Technological competence is now a critical skill for effective leadership.

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Claude Werder



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Claude Werder

Claude J. Werder Senior Vice President and Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group Claude Werder runs Brandon Hall Group’s Talent Management, Leadership Development and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) practices. His specific areas of focus include how organizations must transform culturally and strategically to meet the needs of the emerging workforce and workplace. Claude develops insights and solutions on employee experience, leadership, coaching, talent development, assessments, culture, DE&I, and other topics to help members and clients make talent development a competitive business advantage now and in the evolving future of work. Before joining Brandon Hall Group in 2012, Claude was an HR consultant and also spent more than 25 years as an executive and people leader for media and news organizations. This included a decade as the producer of the HR Technology Conference and Expo. He helped transform it from a small event to the world’s largest HR technology conference. Claude is a judge for the global Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards and Excellence in Technology Awards, contributes to the company’s HCM certification programs, and produces the firm’s annual HCM Excellence Conference. He is also a certified executive and leadership coach. He lives in Boynton Beach, FL.

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