Do you manage an early talent development program?

Data, events, community and insights to help you and your programs thrive.
Serving 40% of the Fortune 100.

LDP Connect is a community of professionals like you who grow early-career hires into leaders.

You’re doing important work. We’re here to help.


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LDP Connect is the community of professionals who lead, manage or support early-career talent development programs.
With an active membership of over 400, we have been serving members with research, tools and events since 2012. Join us!


The annual best-practices event for hundreds of early career development program managers and recruiters.


Original research on how organizations manage and evaluate their talent development programs for early career hires.


Facilitated small group meetings that dive deep into a critical issue facing talent development program management.


A supportive community of hundreds of professionals working to develop an early career talent pipeline.


A library of insights, tools and answers created by and for professionals running successful early talent development programs.


Community Member

A small sample
of our community

Professional Member

For dedicated early-career talent development professionals

Enterprise member

For organizations invested in an early-career talent pipeline


THe LDP SUmmit

With the long-standing support of…

Cincinnati, OH

May 7 & 8, 2025


What is early talent?

Early talent is generally defined as the set of employees who are within the first several years of their career. There isn’t consensus on the point at which early talent becomes “mid-career talent,” but usually the term is applied to professionals with less than five years of experience. Early talent is also sometimes referred to as “emerging talent” or “early career talent.” Although early talent professionals are often young, the term refers to professional experience and not age. 

Early talent development refers to an employer’s intentional efforts to attract, retain and foster the growth of relatively inexperienced professionals.  Although new hires will often begin working in roles that are considered entry-level, “early talent development” represents a future-focused approach to an employer’s longer-term workforce development that goes beyond the value of simply filling junior roles.

Employers invest in early talent development for many reasons, including, but not limited to the following: 1. They prefer to build and shape the future leaders of their organization – as opposed to hiring leaders from the outside (“build vs. buy” model);  2. Their workforce is deficient in a particular competency that they believe early talent professionals offer (such as technical savvy); 3. They believe that intentional investment in early talent development will produce more productive/loyal/competent employees in the long-run; 4. The costs of acquiring early talent are often lower than other types of recruiting because organizations can leverage the resources of universities and other educational organizations; and 5. Early talent candidate pools often provide easier access to diverse people.

An early talent development program is a structured professional growth experience built and administered by an employer for its early career hires. Programs typically contain a beginning and an end, elements of formalized training, and often a variety of assignments cultivated to develop specific competencies for participants.  Early talent programs that provide multiple assignments are often referred to as “rotational programs.” There is much variety among programs in structure, length and objectives.

Early talent development programs typically exist to deliver on one or more of the following objectives: 1. To on-board new early career hires and speed their path to productivity; 2. To build a pipeline of capable and diverse talent within a specific function or business unit; and/or 3. To identify and “fast-track” high-potential early career hires to leadership roles or other positions of high-impact for the organization.

A Leadership Development Program (LDP) is a structured experience of formalized training and assignments designed to fast-track high-potential employees into positions of leadership.  Many, but not all, LDP’s are built and run by an organization for their own employees. Although there are LDP’s designed specifically for early talent, LDP’s exist for professionals at other stages in their career as well. 

Founded in 2012 by a former early talent rotational program manager, LDP Connect is the community of professionals who lead, manage or support early talent development programs. We provide events, research, tools and support to the people working hard to build their employer’s early talent base. 

Some Participating Organizations

LDP Connect includes professionals from many of the world’s marquis employers, including 40% of the Fortune 100..

Free Whitepaper
Getting Results from Early Talent Development Programs

Based on data from 183 programs. An analysis of key success factors in early talent development programs, and the practices that drive them. Get your free copy here.

The 2024 Reports are here!
Early Talent Program Data

Rention rates, NPS scores, Diversity metrics

Curiculum elements, Program structure & more!

From 165 early talent development programs

Across 97 organizations and 10 functional areas

Graduate Development Program Leaders' Summit

London, November 13, 2024



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