Client Success Story: Immanuel Creates Extraordinary Leadership Development Program

Sep 10, 2019


Immanuel specializes in senior living with the mission of providing Christ-centered service to seniors, each other, and the community. According to the company, “That single focus guides everything we do - from the direction of our entire organization to the day-to-day decisions made by our professional staff. Here, we are called to serve others and put their needs above our own. At our core, we are about respecting and providing dignity, safety, and wellness for all. That is the Immanuel way.”

This mission resonates in the way Immanuel treats its employees and is reflected within the company culture. With over 1,200 people working in various living centers, employee satisfaction and engagement is a high priority.

Creation of the I Grow Program

In 2016, Immanuel started the I Grow program as a result of feedback from an employee satisfaction and engagement survey. They learned their employees wanted more leadership development opportunities, so management created a nine-month program tailored for three tracks:

  • Emerging Leaders: individuals with no direct reports but are on the path to a leadership role and have little to no past leadership experience.
  • Confident Leaders: Individuals with direct reports and are currently in a leadership role.
  • Dynamic Leaders: Individuals in a leadership role with no direct reports.

Selection Process

Each year, six employees are selected to participate in each track for a total of eighteen participants in the entire program. Among employees, it has become an honor and a privilege to be selected for I Grow, a testament to the value the program has added to the company culture. I Grow is open to all employees and everyone is encouraged to apply. The selection process has three steps:

  1. Application: An online application is submitted directly to the selection committee.
  2. Interview: The selection committee personally interviews each applicant.
  3. Commitment Letter Signing: If selected, each participant must sign a commitment letter along with their manager to ensure both individuals understand the time requirements. The employee is expected to continue to work full time while in the program. 

Program Curriculum

The curriculum is an amalgamation of classroom study, personalized development eLessons, professional leadership coaching, guest speakers, book study, a final project and graduation.

  • Personalized Development eLessons: All participants use the ZERORISK Clear Direction program which includes 13 personalized development eLessons based on the participants’ unique motivators and thinking. In addition to bi-monthly eLessons, a monthly coaching call with a professional leadership coach is included.
  • Book Study: Each participant chooses a book to read and completes a presentation on the book to the class.
  • Monthly Workshop: Each month, a guest speaker in brought in for a half-day workshop on topics like interviewing and presentation skills.
  • Final Project: The program ends with a project, designed and completed by each person. The project must support the Immanuel mission and is presented to the leadership team as a requirement of graduation.


It has been a huge success and continues to evolve each year. Over fifty employees have graduated from the program, creating a ripple effect of success for both the company and the employees.

Some of the most notable results from the program are:

  • Company Growth: When I Grow started in 2016, the company had 700 employees. Today, Immanuel has nearly doubled in size with 1,200 employees and counting.
  • Leadership Talent Pool: Since the start of the program, 20% of the participants have been promoted. The program has created a great way to train employees and given them the opportunity for growth in their careers.
  • Community Impact: While determining what to do for his final project, one of the participants discovered some of the seniors in the living centers were eating alone on holidays due to not having family around. As a result, he created a program called “Never Eat Alone.” The program pairs senior residents with volunteers who come eat with them on holidays. The project was so well received, “Never Eat Alone” is now a permanent program in Immanuel living centers.

Implement This in Your Company

ZERORISK HR is honored to partner with Immanuel and is very proud of the success they have experienced with their leadership development program. We believe in first hiring the right people, and then developing those people along the way. That is exactly what Immanuel has achieved.

If you are interested in creating a leadership development program for your company, contact us. We can help you design a program that hires, develops, and retains the best team for your business.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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