An improvised learning and development process helps in the employee retention of a particular company. In fact, 93% of the employees are of the viewpoint that if the company invests in their career development and learning process, then they are willing to stay longer and provide their services to the company.
Nitin Thakur, the Head of L&D- Jindal Stainless, a Harvard alumnus & a TEDx Speaker with 21 years of visionary leadership in Talent Management, Leadership Development & Learning speaks on the importance of L&D initiative that is undertaken by most of the organizations today.
He says that the L&D programs not only help in employee retention but also boost the productivity flow, thus empowering businesses to earn more profit.
How is your organization adopting the workspace after the Covid-19 situation?
When the covid started, we were in the process of strategizing ourselves, our programs, and our plannings. When the lockdown was announced on 23rd March 2020, we were able to shift all our processes by 26th- 27th of March. Since then we are doing all our programs online.
For the manufacturing industry, it’s very different as people are not exposed to Google Hangouts, Zoom, or any other online mode of communication. It was a very new culture for them to adapt to. We redesigned the curriculums, redesigned the methodology, and got our people trained with online learning. And over a period of time, people were responding positively to the learning that we were giving to them.
How employees in your organizations are reacting to these changes related to virtual learning and working?
There were employees who were finding it difficult to adapt to online learning and working. But later understood that few things do not require training like attending a zoom call. Also, there were few sets of employees who believed that online learning might not be that effective. However, it depends on the methodology of how you create a program, and how you are able to put various pieces together and knit them in a manner that is really experiential, and entertaining for the participants.
How do you think digitization accelerated the learning initiative in business organizations?
It has done a 180 degrees shift in the way we are progressing with learning. Earlier, companies were capable of looking for things that are in demand, they conducted programs, but 100% of demands were not met as the employees were lagging behind in the case of certifications, lack of functional and technical training. We organize generic programs to ensure more participation in class.
But today digitization has given us learning platforms. These are AI-enabled platforms, which give one a learning path. Training is now conducted for employees through different mediums now. This learning is going to impact the business directly. Digitization is required for every sector now. People should be good with advanced excel, data analytics, and change management. These things were earlier uncatered to.
What are some of the learning strategies applied by the businesses in their training programs?
The first and the most important strategy is linking your program with business. Gone are the days when you can lift your learning and developing department on the man-hours and man-days you train. Today, things have changed. The companies need to understand how they derive the functional and technical training from every function. Second is building up a learning culture is equally important where the employees will be themselves keen to learn and implement it wherever required. The third is, building up a trainer’s network in your organization. The trainer population is imparting full-time or partial education. If you can encash this population, then the impact is multiple.
How is your organization assessing this kind of capability gap?
Earlier we used to do one training program of 2-3 days and would work on the returns which came and it was too difficult to calculate. But we found a simpler way to show the results. We started with a learning journey of 2-3 modules or a course kind of thing. We were then able to calculate the impact of learning through these modules.
The next stage is doing the learning retention check, asking the participants how much they were able to retain.
The third step is asking the participants to use their learning.
And the fourth is the resultant business impact.
At times, when you are introducing certain things, 50% of projects might fail, but that 20%-30 % of projects that go exceptionally well showcases the business impact which an employee makes.
We use a tool called Supernova from a consultant which helps us to understand the objective of a project from the very beginning. Every detail about the project is tracked on that tool. That is the kind of monitoring required when you associate projects with learning programs.
What are the essential components of L&d programs which your organization is having right now?
I think the biggest essential component is that it is led by the senior management, people like CXOs who are inspiring people to take benefits out of the L&D programs. These are not only HR-led interventions only. Also, if learners are keen on learning only then things would go right. In our organization, we made learning a mandatory part of the job.
We ensure that our learning process is smooth. We ask the employees for their feedback and how much they were able to retain in the learning process and how they have implemented it in their real lives. And lastly, we evaluate the business projects that they have done under those programs. So, this is how we monitor the impact of L&D programs on the employees. We also award to people who have excelled in the learning process. We conduct it quarter wise and there is a reward for every program.