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TD Magazine Article

The People Side to Management

Development for people leaders is a top priority in these organizations' business strategy.


Fri Jun 14 2024

The People Side to Management

The BEST Awards recognize organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success as a result of employee talent development. The winners use learning as a strategic business tool to get results. View the entire list of 2024 BEST Award winners.

Centene Corporation and Navy Federal Credit Union have both made development for people leaders a top priority in their organization's business strategy. Centene, a national healthcare enterprise, launched its LEAD program to provide people leaders with the foundational tools to unleash the organization's core strategy.


The multiphased program is an engaging mix of facilitated and self-paced learning, hands-on application, and networking, all targeted at upskilling participants in a modern era of hybrid work and continuous change. Individuals can tailor their experience based on their needs and areas for improvement.

Newly hired and recently promoted leaders get familiarized with Centene's Centers of Expertise, as well as other resources, to assist with important aspects of their role. Those leaders also learn communication, delegation, and development techniques aimed at creating and leading a successful team. Furthermore, early in the Foundations program, participants learn about government-sponsored health programs and the basics of the company's business model.

Throughout the year, individuals can enroll in or switch to a growing list of sessions based on interests and availability. Centene used a third-party learning platform to enable program scale and build a cohesive experience that integrates asynchronous content, peer learning, and activities, as well as coordinating and scheduling virtual instructor-led training via Zoom. Leaders who complete all LEAD offerings spend roughly 20 hours on content and session participation over a minimum of six weeks.

"The LEAD program is amazing. To have the opportunity to get the training that I've lacked for 20 years as a leader was exciting," says Mark Bowers, senior manager of finance.

Navy Federal's strategy has shifted to planning the future of the organization with a focus on building leadership capabilities and creating a growth mindset. Through its People Leadership initiative, the talent development department worked with leaders to create an environment that empowers employees in their decision making, encourages them to be comfortable speaking up, and inspires their growth and development.


The TD team provides more than 3,000 junior- to midlevel leaders with more than 36,000 hours of development and 20 different development opportunities, ranging from self-guided tools to social learning experiences. All learning content across the leadership audience has a 90 percent completion rate.

The feedback from participants regarding the learning initiative has been overwhelmingly positive. The company reports that participants have expressed appreciation for the emphasis on developing leadership skills and fostering a growth mindset; many have noted that the initiatives provide them with new development opportunities and help to align their respective leadership approaches with organizational goals. Additionally, leaders have credited the programming with creating novel solutions to solve members' problems.

"We are proud to provide a dynamic workplace culture that continues to attract, engage, retain, and develop a highly talented team," says Mary McDuffie, president and CEO of Navy Federal. "An intentional focus on continuous learning ensures that our employees' career journeys are infused with supported growth opportunities that span from hire to retire."

Navy Federal is currently designing additional curriculums to further enhance the people leader goal of developing talent. The initiatives will connect learning to strategic initiatives and further behavior change throughout the organization.

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