2011 Top Product Winner: Manager Ready

See all of the winners of the Top HR and Training Products of 2011 in Ahead of the Pack .

Sunday, October 2, 2011
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What It Is: Manager Ready is DDI's electronic version of its "day-in-the-life" assessment experience that it has been offering at its facility in Bridgeville, Pa., for years. Long in the planning, the interactive and simulated three-and-a-half-hour experience now gives online participants the same opportunities to respond to realistic job challenges -- although only through open-ended emails as opposed to the live assessment's additional role-playing and telephone activities. Like the in-person experience, Manager Ready lets participants come face-to-face with real business problems in the form of videotaped messages and steadily streaming emails from supervisors, subordinates, colleagues and customers -- all of them needing to be prioritized and acted upon. DDI assessors follow up with reports, ratings and development plans for both the participant and his or her manager. The product -- which has been culturally adapted with English versions in India, Europe and North America, as well as a simplified Chinese version -- costs $350 per person with a minimum purchase of 50 and $250 per person for volumes of 300 or more.

Why We Like It: Unlike most of the video training and assessment products on the market that offer multiple-choice interactions, Manager Ready demands its participants make quick decisions and demonstrate real leadership by acting upon those decisions in the form of email communications. It's as close to the real experience of being thrust into a manager's role to sink or swim as anything else we've seen. Already a proven expert in this type of simulation, follow-up reporting and developmental support through its long-heralded assessment center, DDI has now made that experience universally available online at a much cheaper cost than a center-based experience, which can run between $700 and $1,500 per participant, depending on what's being measured. The quality and believability of the video scenarios and constantly incoming emails solicit the kinds of behavioral responses DDI needs to deliver its characteristically high-caliber, real-world assessments and reports.

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