21-12-2023 09:00

Unlocking potential: The power of great leadership programmes

Nordea has stringent focus on execution and accountability all over the organisation to achieve its business strategy. This takes a forward-looking leadership and calls for an updated learning catalogue focusing on key leadership transitions with core capabilities designed to strengthen the execution power. 

In 2019, a clear mandate was given to redesign the company-wide leadership learning portfolio focusing on critical leadership transition and core capabilities. It was important to create one meaningful leadership practice to address Nordea’s strategic ambitions and ensure full integration into our corporate values and HR-processes, and to cover all specific leadership roles across the organisation. Our aim is to have great leadership that embraces our different employees and supports the feeling of belonginess, enabling all to feel included and able to perform at their best.

The Nordea Leadership Programmes, introduced in 2019, consists of five Leadership roles: Potential Leader, New People Leader, Experienced People Leader, Leader of Leaders and Strategic Leader. A similar track was also developed for our specialist roles where our employees on daily basis lead by knowledge and expertise without having a formal leadership role.

In the training programmes for each Leadership role, the key Expectations and transition needs are identified requiring shifts in Work Values, Time Application and Skills while learning journeys for all roles within the leadership programmes are established.


Prior to 2019, our leaders had been very successful in transforming our bank from a traditional financial services organisation to becoming a preferred partner of choice for our customers. And yet, there was still a clear need to strengthen the foundational leadership toolbox enabling individual leaders to lead their teams more effectively with the aim of raising engagement, accountability and performance. It was very much about getting a consistent, efficient and coherent approach to leadership across the whole bank.” 

Christina Gadeberg, Chief People Officer and Head of Group People.

As an entry to the programmes, leaders are required to have at least 6 months of practical leadership experience, while potential future leaders are enrolled into special programme enabling them to explore the leadership role, preparing them for quick assimilation and success in their potential future leader role or choose not to currently pursue a leadership role – both outcome are equally successful. Our Potential Leader programmes are popular. By end 2023, 1,243 employees have already completed the programme whereof 24% of the participants entered into a people leader position after the training.

With around 3,300 leaders in Nordea, of which around 2,500 are frontline leaders who impact 85% of our employees, it is essential to have great leadership and a common understanding and language for what leadership is in Nordea. 

Award winning trainings

Did you know that we just won two gold in the Brandon Hall Award for our License to Lead Learning Journey and for our Expectations and Learning Journeys for Leaders.

How do we measure key learnings and business impact

Great Leadership programmes are result-oriented. By establishment of clear goals and measurements the impact of our leaders development is easily tracked via participant’s progress and evaluations from their direct reports. In 2023, four years after the first introduction of the Leadership Programmes, we see a positive development within our leadership and employee engagement scores. 

Improved engagement and leadership scores

Along the introduction of new Leadership Programmes we have seen a large increase in our employee’s engagement scores which have raised to 
82/100 in 2023 from 73/100 in 2019. 

58% enrolled or completed

From 2019 to 2023, ~ 2,800 leaders have completed one of the core leadership programmes and around 500 leaders are enrolled. 58% of all leaders with direct reports are either enrolled or have completed one of the programmes.

To be able to track key learnings from the Leadership Programmes, leaders are provided with an impact process for each programme. Tracking leadership behaviour as a predictor of the strategic execution and capability help us to follow and measure actual business impact post-programme. The impact of the leadership trainings are very positive on all three measured areas; Attitude, Knowledge and Behaviour.

All leaders participating the programmes are measured before, right after the training and 3-6 month later to ensure their progress and behavioural change.

More than 50% of all current leaders in Nordea have completed one of our core Leadership Programmes while additional leaders are signed up for coming cohorts. The interest in Leadership trainings is high and we continue to receive high satisfaction scores while our impact scores outperform peers internationally. 

Our investment in Leadership programmes is an investment in unlocking the full potential of our employees and the organisation to build our core capabilities. The leadership programmes reinforce the common foundation of how we lead and raise employee engagement at Nordea.