Interpersonal Skills Training

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                       Evaluating Corporate
                          Training Practices
 Corporate Interpersonal Effectiveness Training Practices

Key Findings
•   73 percent of training professionals believe interpersonal effectiveness training works.

•   84 percent of organizations integrate IET into broader programs, while 39 percent offer IET as a
    stand-alone class.

•   95 percent would rather have multi-rater feedback from others and a self-rating of a participant
    rather than a self-rating profile alone.

•   86 percent use one of the top three IET instruments (Social Style, DiSC or Myers-Briggs).

•   Not all branded instruments are the same. Users of the top-rated instrument perceived it as 44
    percent more effective than users of the bottom-rated instrument.

•   IET is projected to grow in 2006 as companies continue to see its value and benefits.

Interpersonal Effectiveness Training         In the fall of 2005, Leflein surveyed 100    well or extremely well, and that
(IET) has become a staple in today’s         executives responsible for developing,       increased to 82 percent for those who
business environment as organizations        acquiring or implementing corporate          offered an IET stand-alone program.
look to improve productivity without         training programs and who had familiarity
increasing headcount. Interpersonal          with interpersonal effectiveness training.   Almost nine in 10 professionals (86%)
effectiveness is the ability to create       Each executive knew of one or more of        used one of the leading third-party IET
productive interactions and maintain         the leading programs (Social Style,          models: Social Style, DiSC or Myers-
positive working relationships.              Myers-Briggs and DiSC). The companies        Briggs. These professionals identified
Companies of all sizes and industries        were geographically dispersed throughout
now offer stand-alone IET or build it into   the United States and averaged 50,000
                                                                                                 FIGURE 1: PERCEPTION OF
their overall development efforts. The       employees and $8.7 billion in sales.                  HOW WELL IET WORKS
TRACOM Group, an industry leader in          Forty-eight percent were Fortune 500
                                                                                              Social Style Users — 88%
interpersonal effectiveness training,        companies. The participating companies
sought to quantify organizational            were randomly selected from a variety        Myers-Briggs Users — 73%

use of IET and attitudes toward this         of sources. Only one person was                DiSC Users — 61%
increasingly popular development tool.       interviewed from each company.

TRACOM commissioned independent              Perceptions of Effectiveness
research firm Leflein Associates Inc. to     and Importance of IET
uncover best practices for interpersonal     Ninety-nine percent of the surveyed
effectiveness training. This study looked    companies had experience with IET.
at the value and impact of these             Close to three-quarters of the
programs and how they are implemented        participating training professionals
inside corporations.                         (73%) thought IET training worked very

        FIGURE 2: IMPROVEMENT IN                • 98% believed it was very important                                        Methods of Delivery for IET
       MANAGERIAL SKILLS POST-IET                 for communicating effectively.                                            Virtually all companies surveyed (99%)
                                                • 97% believed it was very important                                        offered IET in some form. IET was more
     Effective relationships – 27%                for managing conflict.                                                    commonly integrated into a broader
  Effective Communication – 20%                 • 94% believed it was very important                                        program than offered as a stand-alone
                                                  for retaining valued employees.                                           (84% vs. 39%). At least three-fifths of
    Conflict Management – 22%
                                                                                                                            leadership, communication and
      Staff Commitment – 22%                    These findings were consistent with                                         supervisory programs included an IET
                                                other research, including the recent                                        component (67%, 65%, and 61%
                                                Managerial Success Study by The                                             respectively).
                                                TRACOM Group. This scientific study
                                                linked high levels of interpersonal skills                                  The larger the company, the more
                                                with high performance on 43 factors of                                      likely they were to offer stand-alone
                                                managerial performance. Managers with                                       IET programs. (Figure 3) While
                                                high-level interpersonal skills showed                                      integrated programs offered advantages
                                                significantly higher performance than                                       of connecting IET to specific business
  Social Style as the most effective            their low-level interpersonal skill                                         issues, there were some drawbacks to
  IET model. Companies currently using          counterparts; these included:                                               the integrated approach. Survey
  Social Style were more likely than users
                                                                                                                            participants said that stand-alone IET
  of the other leading instruments to           • 27% established more effective                                            programs were more likely than
  believe that IET works. Eighty-eight            relationships with direct reports                                         integrated programs to include all the
  percent of Social Style users believed        • 20% communicated more effectively                                         important features of IET — pre-class
  it worked very or extremely well,             • 22% had greater ability to effectively                                    assessment, after-class job aids and a
  compared to 61 percent of DiSC-                 manage conflict                                                           follow-up assessment. (Figure 5)
  based products and 73 percent of              • 22% had greater ability to positively
  Myers-Briggs users. (Figure 1)                  impact the commitment of his/her                                          Organizations most often used off-the-
                                                  direct reports to the organization.                                       shelf IET programs from independent
  Eight in ten of those responsible
                                                                                                                            developers (71%), but over half of
  for training programs agreed that                (Figure 2)
                                                                                                                            surveyed companies also developed
  salespeople and managers/
                                                                                                                            their own IET content (56%) or licensed
  supervisors needed excellent                   FIGURE 3: PROPORTION OFFERING IET                                          content to include in existing programs
  interpersonal skills to be successful              BASED ON SIZE OF COMPANY                                               (54%). Almost nine in 10 (86%) used one
  (80% and 78% respectively), but only
                                                                                                                            of the leading third-party IET models:
  one-third (33%) indicated a high need                                                                 55%
                                                                                41%                                         Social Style, DiSC or Myers-Briggs.
  for the same skills for technical positions
                                                          23%                                                               Many organizations used more than one.
  in IT, accounting or engineering.
                                                                                                        Sales $5 billion+

                                                                                                                            The more participants an organization
                                                                                Sales $2 - $5 billion

  Training professionals believed
                                                                                                                            had, the more likely they were to offer
                                                           Sales < $2 billion

  interpersonal skills were very important
                                                                                                                            blended or e-learning options. Companies
  for a multitude of tasks performed in
                                                                                                                            with 300 or more IET participants were
  the daily work environment:
                                                                                                                            more than twice as likely (78%) to use
  • 98% believed it was very important
                                                                                                                            blended learning as those with less than
     for building and maintaining co-
                                                                                                                            300 participants (36%).
     worker relationships

 Corporate Interpersonal Effectiveness Training Practices

   FIGURE 4: VALUE OF MULTI-RATER             Emerging Trends                                      Since interpersonal skills programs have
   FEEDBACK VS. SELF RATING ONLY              Blended learning delivery of IET was on              historically been hard to measure,
                                              the rise. Fifty-seven percent of surveyed            professionals often relied on evidence
                                              professionals currently used blended                 like personal experience (71%) and
                                              learning, and an additional 23 percent               general research (53%) to prove it
                                              planned to offer it in the future.                   worked. However, as they were called
                                                                                                   on increasingly to provide ROI for
                                              In the areas of program format and ROI,              training, professionals were focusing
                             5%               there seemed to be a disparity between               more on providing proof that IET has
                      Self Rating Only        what professionals recognized as                     paid off. Based on this study, it would
                                              important and what they actually                     appear that evidence and ROI
                                              implemented.                                         measurability were as important as ease
      95%                                                                                          of implementation when deciding on an
   Multi-Rater                                Universally, training professionals                  IET program.
                                              recognized the importance of IET.
                                              They had faith in its effectiveness,                 Other important elements have been
                                              understood the need for follow-up, and               identified to make an IET program
When asked about ideal length for IET,
most training professionals chose a
half-day (37%) or full-day (24%) class.                         FIGURE 5: STEPS IDENTIFIED FOR TRAINING SUCCESS
                                                                   VS. ACTUAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE STEPS
The largest companies (over 23,000
employees) were most likely to provide                                                                   Believed it was        Currently
full-day IET classes (36%).                                                                                important          implemented
                                                Bring Examples to class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85% . . . . . . . . 59%
IET Model Selection Criteria
Virtually all of the training professionals     Pre-Class IE administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81% . . . . . . . . 54%
who rated assessment tools as very              Foundational review of materials . . . . . . . . . . . . 76% . . . . . . . . 54%
important found it more valuable to
have both self-rating and feedback from         After-class job aids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96% . . . . . . . . 82%
others as opposed to self-rating alone          Follow-up assessment measurements . . . . . . . 92% . . . . . . . . 46%
(95% vs. 5%). (Figure 4)
                                                Follow-up workshops/online . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84% . . . . . . . . 38%
Professionals identified several steps as
important to successful implementation:
                                              increasingly wanted to be able to                    successful. (Figure 5) On average,
bringing examples to class, pre-class
                                              measure ROI. Putting this into practice,             eighty-six percent of surveyed
administration of the interpersonal
                                              however, has always been difficult. Even             professionals recognized certain
effectiveness instrument, a foundational
                                              though three-quarters (73%) of training              components of an IET program were
review of the material, after-class job
                                              professionals believed IET works, just               essential to its success, but just 56
aids, follow-up ROI assessment, and
                                              over a third (36%) used specific                     percent actually implemented these
follow-up learning after the class.
                                              measures to prove it.                                components. This represented a 30
(Figure 5)
                                                                                                   percent disparity. While stand-alone
                                              Ninety-two percent said follow-up                    programs were on average 11 percent
                                              assessment was important, yet only 46                more likely to incorporate these
                                              percent currently offered it.                        important elements, just 39 percent of
                                                                                                   companies offered stand-alone IET.

   Summary and                              This research validated TRACOM’s         • Have you embedded
   Recommendations                          experience working with individual         interpersonal skills training in
   Interpersonal Effectiveness Training     organizations and other data from          other curriculums?
   (IET) were common within large           the field. It identified key trends in
                                                                                     • What steps are you taking to
   companies, especially when               interpersonal effectiveness training
                                                                                       ensure post-class impact of
   integrated into leadership,              and will guide the future develop-
                                                                                       the training?
   communication and management             ment of TRACOM products and
                                            services.                                • Have you measured your
   training programs. Stand-alone
                                                                                       programs and instruments
   programs were more often found at
                                            Peak organizational performance            effectiveness over the long-term?
   larger companies, and were more
   likely to be integrated programs that    requires an effective workforce with     • How many instruments should
   offered a robust learning experience     strong interpersonal skills. In trying     you be using, and do they all
   with long-term benefits.                 to improve your own organization,          work together?
                                            evaluate how it compares to the data
                                                                                     • Consider the double standard
   Training professionals believed IET      gathered in this study and also
                                                                                       that exists based on job functions
   worked and was important for a           consider the following:
                                                                                       (perception that IET is more
   multitude of tasks performed daily in                                               important for jobs like managers
   a variety of job functions. More users   • What is your company doing to
                                                                                       and sales than technical jobs).
   of Social Style believed IET worked        ensure successful implementation
                                                                                       Are you doing enough for all of
   than users of Myers-Briggs or DiSC-        of interpersonal effectiveness
                                                                                       your employees?
   based products. Nearly all training        training?
   professionals preferred profiles with    • Are you covering all of the
   both multi-rater and self-rater            important steps (pre-class             For more information
   feedback to only self-rating
   instruments. Professionals
                                              instrument administration, follow-     about IET, please call
                                              up learning, etc.)?
   recognized the importance of                                                      303-470-4928 or visit
                                            • Do you use a multi-rater profile       our website at
   collecting ROI information or
                                              that is indisputably preferred by
   providing follow-up learning;
   however, the average company did
   not engage in these activities.

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      As organizations continually look for
  operational efficiencies and competitive
advantages, it's important to consider the
  performance potential that exists within
  their own people. The TRACOM Group
         offers a variety of services to help   To enhance your company’s performance,
                                                contact us to discuss your objectives.
                    maximize performance.
                                                David Collins
       TRACOM is committed to ongoing           VP, Training Products Group
           research which documents the
  connection between interpersonal skills       303-470-4920
     and job performance. These studies
                                                Bob Schwieterman
provide valuable data about companies in        VP, Performance Consumer Group
           a variety of industries and their
   employees. Contact us to learn more.         303-470-4925

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