National Insurer Boosts Productivity 11% by Increasing Communication Versatility

Business Issue

In a business comprised of different departments driven by seemingly opposing objectives, tension is certain to exist. Stress and misunderstanding result. Ambition and creativity are diluted. If left unchecked, lost productivity costs market share.

The challenge here was simple to understand, yet daunting to overcome: Deliver great customer service and market affordable insurance. To that end, the company knew it needed to better maximize both its revenue-generation and its cost- and risk-control operations.

Managers of teams responsible for revenue generation and managers responsible for underwriting, risk management, and financial control needed to find ways to collaborate in light of their differing goals.

To make the situation even more challenging, there was a lack of leadership bench strength to fill open positions as senior leaders moved up or retired.

Solution

To address this challenge, the company worked with Wilson Learning, an award-winning, global learning and development provider.
A key company executive, who had worked with Wilson Learning at a prior employer, knew Wilson Learning would be able to develop a more collaborative, trusting, and productive workforce here too.

Wilson Learning’s Building Relationship Versatility became the cornerstone for a complete leadership development curriculum.

To deliver its solution, Wilson Learning engaged cross-functional participants in the two-day workshop Building Relationship Versatility. Prior to attending the workshop, participants completed an online survey to help them identify their own Social Style. Surveys were also completed on each participant by five of their colleagues, providing essential multi-rater feedback on their current level of versatility and behavioral style as perceived by others.

Through instruction and role-play, participants learned to understand their own style and that of others, including differences and reactions under pressure. They discovered ways to increase their versatility by adapting their behavior to improve communication and manage conflict effectively.

To help solidify newly learned skills and behaviors, Wilson Learning provided participants with key learning reinforcement tools: a Versatile Response Planner and an Extended Learning System with automated reinforcement.

The Versatile Response Planner helped participants identify a key individual with whom they wanted to build more trust and improve communication.

Throughout the workshop, participants completed different sections of the planner, using the planner as a guide in skill practice and application exercises. Participants left the classroom with a completed planner that served as a roadmap for applying new skills with a specific colleague when building trust was critical.

The Extended Learning System provided automated reinforcement to participants with links to quizzes, videos, planners, and interactive mini-modules designed to drive skill application. Participants’ managers received corresponding messages with tips for simplifying coaching and links to the same reinforcement content received by direct reports. Managers also received materials for leading a Best Practices Meeting, making it easy for them to hold participants accountable for applying what they learned. The technology-enabled system automatically distributed the right reinforcement message to the right people at the right time to maximize learning transfer.

Outcome

As a result of the program:

  • 96% of participants reported at least an 11% productivity increase.
  • 86% of participants agreed applying new skills on the job was easy.
  • The greatest change identified was in how participants identify styles and recognize back-up behaviors.

Today, Building Relationship Versatility serves as the cornerstone for a new leadership development curriculum that is successfully equipping leaders across six levels to tackle emerging business problems, building a strong bench of leaders for the future.

Participants Say:

  • “I’ve become more sensitive to my Driver/Driver style and the styles of others, and as a result, meetings with others are more productive and conversational.”
  • “While visiting agencies, I met an individual who clearly was an Analytical. I toned down my approach and asked questions that helped this individual feel more comfortable. As a result, we have an opportunity to add premium to this account.”
  • “I deal with three very different peers, all with different styles than mine. I have been able to now use their styles to tailor my discussions with them.”

Managers Say:

As one manager noted, “If this program were taught across the organization and more people had knowledge of building versatile relationships, it would be easier to break down barriers and work together in a more cohesive fashion.”

When the Director of Training first learned about the Extended Learning System, she said “Wow, this is going to save me so much time! The fact that the new Extended Learning System automatically sends the right message to the right person at the right time is fantastic!”

I deal with three very different peers, all with different styles than mine. I have been able to now use their styles to tailor my discussions with them.

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