A recent study by ASSOCHAM-Yes Institute revealed that Indian companies were spending less time and resources for training their employees. Only 16% per cent of the Indian firms carry out any in-firm training themselves, as against 80% of Chinese firms. With majority of the graduates from Indian universities found unemployable, it also reflects on the quality of those selected for various jobs. SKILLDOM Learning Solutions is in the forefront helping organizations strategize on their learning and development initiatives. Its state-of-the-art Assisted Learning Platform –iCOG is one such offering that helps meet the L &D concerns of an organization.
Anirudh Gupta, Director, SKILLDOM has over 15 years of experience in L&D and Organisational Development (OD) with leading companies such as Wockhardt Ltd, ICICI Prudential, MetLife, India and Glenmark. He shares his thoughts with Sreekumar Raghavan of Corporate Ethos on the need for L&D in organizations and how it can be implemented.
1) A recent survey indicated that companies provided lesser number of hours to employees for learning and development compared to China and other emerging economies. In your view how can companies be persuaded to allocate more resources for learning.
Learning and development in India have been more of a reactive measure rather than a proactive action. Now this may seem as a very opinionated statement, however I do implore the L&D fraternity to introspect that how many times they have conducted training because of ‘Sales is going down, non-compliance has happened, error rate has increased, customer satisfaction has gone down etc.,’ rather than conducting training and L&D programs to ensure these do not go down ?
Another significant reason is that education is not seen as a key differentiator. It is seemingly easy to get and restricted to a degree or a certification that necessarily is not for application at work, but to be able to increase the economic value of the one’s CV.
Changing this is not easy. The root cause has to be addressed and that is in the organization’s ability to analyze its learning culture and whether it is really transforming into a ‘learning organization’. The number of days and hours of training actually does not matter, what matters is that our employees getting the right training at the right time and more importantly are they getting the opportunity to apply their learning. Therefore to persuade companies to allocate resources for learning is not what the Indian industry actually needs – but to 1) provide for proactive training based on historical experiences and strategic intentions 2) Right Training at the right time – quality and not quantity 3) enable application of learning at the workplace – coach, support and monitor, and measure.
2) What would be the best method for learning- classroom or digital or a good mix of both?
Behavioral and experience sharing is best done through Classroom training. Transfer of knowledge, facts, data, concepts, review and refresher modules etc can be done through digital media in a very optimal manner. Hence combining these two makes the best-blended learning solution that is able to follow a 70:20:10 model. For this system to be effective an online learning platform is essential and the learning plans need to be designed well – incorporating elements such as self-paced learning, pre-work, post-program work with assessments and assignments.
3) What new skills can be imparted to the organization and what all for specific groups?
As business environments change a new spectrum of skills evolve that each demographic, as well as hierarchical groups in an organization, need to learn. Some of the few new skills requiring L&D intervention emerging are
1) coping with digital change: for all demographics who are not millennials
2) working and managing an ultra-diverse workforce – which is comprising of people who joined the workforce between the massive technological change period of 1980’s to 2018. This is more the middle and senior managers who joined the workforce till 2005.
3) Understanding the millennial mindset – 35% of the workforce by 2020 will be millennials. It is imperative for the most managers who will not be millennials to know how to manage them as the millennials will form the maximum population in the base of the hierarchical pyramid.
4) Inter personnel Skills and EI for the millennials as they will have to go beyond their handheld devices to manage and work with other people aka humans.
5) Self Awareness and management – with emerging trends of virtual – home office etc, and the massive array of distractions – how to ensure that workforce is able to focus on work – timelines and productivity. ‘You may ban YouTube through the company network, but you can’t ban it on my cell phone – and if you ban my cell phone at work – I am a demotivated employee !’
4) Could you tell us how SKILLDOM Learning Solutions is helping the corporate world to become more productive by learning and development activity?
SKILLDOM is striving to create a blend of technology with fundamentals of cognitive sciences. The corporate world is struggling with many issues – dynamic business environment, internal politics ( we can’t deny it), changing workforce dynamics and a stress (like never before) on every rupee spent. Yet these conditions and situations only make the need for a well-entrenched L&D function that is able to meet the need of today and tomorrow. SKILLDOM consults and assists in brainstorming, thinking exercises and end-to-end learning solutions. Its state of the art Assisted Learning Intelligence Platform – iCOG is one such offer that helps meet the large spectrum of L&D concerns faced by an organization. Along with a robust L&D platform, SKILLDOM provides for research-based diagnostics, Facilitated classroom session, eLearning off the shelf libraries and custom learning solution development.
5) Would incentives for getting new certification or achievements help more employees seek new knowledge and skills in an organization?
Maybe! Unfortunately, it depends on the credibility of the certificate – who has given it! However, if there is rigor in a course or a program post which adequate testing is done, then the certificate develops internal credibility. Else unless a brand name is associated with the certificate issuance that can be positioned for enhancing the economic value of the CV, certification will not have a major attraction for learners.
6.In your view, how much hours per person is required for training and development that can lead to measurable change in employee productivity and company ‘s revenue growth?
This is a tough question – as many factors influence this – one of them is the job that the person is doing and the job the person wants to do. Another key factor is the industry in which the person is working. However, a time and learning correlation can be established as follows: 1) Self Learning – around 45 to 55 hours. This learning happens by taking new tasks at a workplace, attempting to do new things and taking challenges like raising the performance bar. Recording these learning experiences in any format – but regularly is a great way to self-learn 2) Learning from others – 12 to 18 hours of structured coaching from a coach or mentor in a year is a good number. This is to create clarity in one’s mind, stretch imagination and creativity, build confidence and more explore/discover self. 3) formally structured learning – either through eLearning or classroom session – focussing on skill building, discussion-based explorations like conferences, behavior sensitization etc – which can be between 16 to 72 hours a year ( junior to Senior leadership).