A New Blue­print for Learn­ing and Or­ga­ni­za­tional De­vel­op­ment in Cor­po­rates

FICCI Business Digest - - Contents - San­tosh Babu, Founder & Chair­man, OD Al­ter­na­tives, on the

In to­day's world of tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances, it is be­com­ing more and more im­per­a­tive for or­ga­ni­za­tions to de­velop a learn­ing cul­ture to reskill and up­skill their work­force to pre­pare them for the work of to­mor­row, else, they stand the dan­ger of be­com­ing ir­rel­e­vant. Es­pe­cially as an in­creas­ing num­ber of work­force is young and am­bi­tious and en­ters with dif­fer­ent ex­pec­ta­tions, about how they would want to work, learn and con­sume in­for­ma­tion.

With In­dia poised to be­come the third largest econ­omy by 2035, L&OD Func­tion (Learn­ing and Or­ga­ni­za­tion De­vel­op­ment Func­tion) in an or­ga­ni­za­tion has as­sumed sig­nif­i­cance. The core role of the L&D func­tion is to sup­port and ac­cel­er­ate learn­ing that en­dows an or­ga­ni­za­tion with the knowl­edge and skills nec­es­sary to ex­e­cute its busi­ness strat­egy in an ag­ile and re­spon­sive man­ner.

How­ever, the big­gest dilemma that or­ga­ni­za­tions face to­day is – where does L&D right­fully be­longs – busi­ness, HR, or a mix of that, or maybe – it's time to run L&D as a stand-alone func­tion. While the ma­jor­ity prefers a busi­ness-HR col­lab­o­ra­tive struc­ture, there is an un­der­cur­rent seek­ing L&OD as a stand-alone func­tion with its grow­ing char­ac­ter and spe­cial­iza­tion.

Ad­dress­ing some of the key is­sues and trends sur­round­ing L&OD, FICCI or­ga­nized the 4th Edition of the FICCI-HR Con­fer­ence on 25 May 2018, which ex­plored the var­i­ous facets of New Age Learn­ing – method­olo­gies, cul­ture, ROI (re­turn on in­vest­ment) and driv­ing hu­man learn­abil­ity in to­day's time.

Speak­ing at the con­fer­ence, Ran­jan Ku­mar Mo­ha­p­a­tra, Di­rec­tor (HR), In­dian Oil Cor­po­ra­tion Lim­ited

The in­flux of AI, Robotics, 3D print­ing, au­to­ma­tion in the work­place is dra­mat­i­cally trans­form­ing the roles and skills in­side or­ga­ni­za­tions. To be able to max­i­mize the po­ten­tial value of these tech­nolo­gies, or­ga­ni­za­tions must put hu­mans into the loop. We can't just ne­glect that in this en­tire thing, that is, ne­glect­ing the hu­mans. Re­con­struct­ing work, re­tain­ing peo­ple, rear­rang­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion, the great­est op­por­tu­nity is not just to re­design jobs or au­to­mate rou­tine work, but to fun­da­men­tally re­think work ar­chi­tec­ture. Ran­jan Ku­mar Mo­ha­p­a­tra, Di­rec­tor (HR) In­dian Oil Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd.

stressed on the fact that L&OD can no longer be looked as a stand-alone con­cept. 'There was a time when we used to hate this word called – chang­ing goal­posts. But I think, these chang­ing goal­posts have be­come a new nor­mal these days. And or­ga­ni­za­tions which adapt them­selves to this are more suc­cess­ful now,' said Mo­ha­p­a­tra. 'The in­flux of AI, Robotics, 3D print­ing, au­to­ma­tion in the work place is dra­mat­i­cally trans­form­ing the roles and skills in­side or­ga­ni­za­tions. To be able to max­i­mize the po­ten­tial value of these tech­nolo­gies, or­ga­ni­za­tions must put hu­mans into the loop.' 'We can't just ne­glect that in this en­tire thing, that is, ne­glect­ing the hu­mans. Re­con­struct­ing work, re­tain­ing peo­ple, rear­rang­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion, the great­est op­por­tu­nity is not just to re­design jobs or au­to­mate rou­tine work, but to fun­da­men­tally re­think work ar­chi­tec­ture.' He opines, 'I be­lieve all these tech­no­log­i­cal changes hap­pen­ing around us have to put the spot­light back on hu­man re­sources, which all of you sit­ting here with HR pro­fes­sion­als and will love to have it. The fo­cus is back again on the HR and they play a key role in re­design­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion and equip­ping them with the re­quired es­sen­tial skills and fur­ther­ing their lead­er­ship char­ac­ter­is­tics.'

For Ra­jeev Bhadau­ria, Group Di­rec­tor (HR), Jin­dal Steel & Power

Ltd. the do­main of L&OD lies within each and every­one in the or­ga­ni­za­tion. 'Learn­ing and De­vel­op­ment has at­tained gar­gan­tuan pro­por­tions. And the mag­ni­tude alone is not the is­sue -the is­sue is the method­ol­ogy, the whole cul­ture, the whole par­a­digm, the as­sump­tions that we have grown up with. So, when we talk about learn­ing, what kind of learn­ing are we talk­ing about? Whether it is the hours that we put in or the im­pact? No­body's guess at all. It has to be in to­day's con­text im­pact and hours just don't count. Speed, ef­fi­ciency and pro­bity that is what counts.' He adds, 'There­fore, the do­main of L&OD lies within each and ev­ery­body in the or­ga­ni­za­tion. You have to cre­ate that ap­petite, that kind of yearn­ing for learn­ing, in the sense, that you learn some­thing the next mo­ment you re­al­ize you have to un­learn it and re­learn some­thing else. That par­a­digm keeps on chang­ing and it re­peats.'

Role of L&OD in the Chang­ing Cor­po­rate En­vi­ron­ment

Ac­cord­ing to a study by KPMG and Na­tional HRD Net­work (NHRDN), In­dian cor­po­rates need to step up on the L&OD front as it seeks to build a work­force with the right skills and knowl­edge to stay rel­e­vant in this fast-chang­ing busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment. The study as­sessed the state of learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment in 138 lead­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions in In­dia across the sec­tors. About 81 per cent of or­ga­ni­za­tions re­port that their learn­ing strate­gies are aligned with their busi­ness strate­gies. How­ever, mea­sur­ing the im­pact on busi­ness out­comes is an un­touched area, with only 18 per cent or­ga­ni­za­tions mea­sur­ing it.

'I feel what will be very sig­nif­i­cant in times to come is, one's learn­ing will be­come shorter be­cause with the ad­vent of mo­bile phones and your de­vices the hu­man at­ten­tion span is get­ting shorter and shorter, 'says San­deep Tyagi, Di­rec­tor HR – Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics. 'So ac­cord­ingly learn­ing will also have to keep pace with it. Learn­ing will be mi­cro learn­ing, bit-size learn­ing. Smaller pieces of nuggets of learn­ing, in­for­ma­tion, shar­ing, which peo­ple who are on the go can un­der­stand and share and im­bibe. Gone are the days when you had whole-day train­ing ses­sions and ba­si­cally take in all the learn­ings within you,' he adds. other hand, be­lieves that L&OD role is ex­tremely im­por­tant in the chang­ing era of the cor­po­rate world as or­ga­ni­za­tions should train their em­ploy­ees to adapt to any sit­u­a­tion.

The do­main of L&OD lies within each and ev­ery­body in the or­ga­ni­za­tion. You have to cre­ate that ap­petite, that kind of yearn­ing for learn­ing, in the sense, that you learn some­thing the next mo­ment you re­al­ize you have to un­learn it and re­learn some­thing else. That par­a­digm keeps on chang­ing and it re­peats. Ra­jeev Bhadau­ria, Group Di­rec­tor (HR) Jin­dal Steel & Power Ltd .”

From an or­ga­ni­za­tion's per­spec­tive, they should fo­cus on cre­at­ing an or­ga­ni­za­tion that can adapt to any change in the fu­ture. So, it's more about how the or­ga­ni­za­tion is train­ing lead­ers not by giv­ing them skills but cre­at­ing a mind­set so that they will be able to adapt to any change. San­tosh Babu, Founder & Chair­man OD Al­ter­na­tives

pro­fes­sion­als and not gen­er­al­ist HR lead­ers. Al­though nearly 65 per cent of those who pro­pose L&OD to be with HR func­tion, are gen­er­al­ist HR lead­ers. 33 per cent re­spon­dents yet chose the clas­si­cal route of col­lab­o­rated re­spon­si­bil­ity between busi­ness & HR.

There­fore, it's ex­tremely im­por­tant that the or­ga­ni­za­tion de­vel­ops a cul­ture of com­mu­ni­ca­tion first. That it clearly de­mar­cates where learn­ing stands and its meth­ods. 'The key to suc­cess as well as re­main ef­fec­tive in lead­er­ship roles, across these ver­ti­cals is to keep your tal­ent which we spoke of, up­dated, in­formed and open to learn­ing new ways of do­ing things. Again the same thing, I would re­peat, to learn, to un­learn and to re­learn. In other words, we also call it skilling, up­skilling and reskilling. This needs to con­tinue again and again and again,' says Mo­ha­p­a­tra.

'Un­less the lead­er­ship is able to iden­tify the gaps, col­late ac­tions to be taken, re­vi­tal­ize the work force, it would be dif­fi­cult for it to sus­tain. The or­ga­ni­za­tion needs to be proac­tive in cre­at­ing a cul­ture of mu­tual trust, a cul­ture of learn­ing and a cul­ture of sus­tained growth in the face of any ad­ver­sary – an or­ga­ni­za­tion which un­der­stands it faster is able to lead,' he adds.

Preetinder Chadha, Di­rec­tor, Global L&D, Metlife, be­lieves that many still see L&D as mere a 'course provider' rather than see­ing it as a 'strate­gic en­abler'. 'L&D is still per­ceived as a course provider. But I be­lieve that there is a clear op­por­tu­nity that L&D can stand up to­day and be­come that strate­gic learn­ing en­abler than just a depart­ment. It's a func­tion that will help peo­ple to un­der­stand why they should learn and how can they learn best,' Chadha ex­plains.

How­ever, Preetinder does feel that not all com­pa­nies uti­lize L&OD to its full po­ten­tial. 'Un­for­tu­nately, not many com­pa­nies uti­lize L&D to its best po­ten­tial and L&D still to­day is not there where it should be. There are very few com­pa­nies who re­ally, re­ally un­der­stand it…so you have to be a learn­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion and if com­pa­nies don't learn with time, they will even­tu­ally die. For ex­am­ple, look at where Nokia was and where is it to­day or where Black­berry was and where is it to­day,' he re­flects.

For CS Ma­hesh, Di­rec­tor, Ana­hat Or­gan­i­sa­tion De­vel­op­ment Con­sul­tancy Pvt. Ltd, de­vel­op­ing cul­ture means what learn­ing looks like from the em­ployee's per­spec­tive? What might they want to see in this cul­ture that they find sup­port­ive. 'Learn­ing is like join­ing the lines. Per­haps it is not so mag­ni­fied. But every new learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is some­thing that evokes both ex­cite­ment and anx­i­ety. That is very, very well un­der­stood. But if you want some learn­ing to hap­pen you can't just pick up the ex­cite­ment of hu­man na­ture. You have to pick up a bit of the anx­i­ety of the hu­man be­ing also,' says Ma­hesh. 'Is the em­ployee ex­pe­ri­enc­ing this cul­ture as an in­vi­ta­tion or step­ping for­ward or is the em­ployee ex­pe­ri­enc­ing this as a co­er­cion. At the end of the day when you look at the bal­ance the or­ga­ni­za­tion has some im­per­a­tive. So, I am not say­ing that this will not be a co­er­cive process,' he ex­plains.

Mea­sur­ing the im­pact

Nu­mer­ous mod­els to eval­u­ate train­ing ef­fec­tive­ness have made the rounds of HR text­books. For com­pa­nies, eval­u­a­tion stages in­clude learn­ing, be­hav­iour, and re­sults, with very few mea­sur­ing re­sults in line

with the busi­ness strat­egy.

More­over, to­day we see a highly evolved L&D land­scape, with di­verse learn­ing chan­nels like on­line, mo­bile, class­rooms, gam­i­fied learn­ing, and so­cial learn­ing. Each of these de­mands a dif­fer­ent train­ing-eval­u­a­tion ap­proach, that is, a blend of quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive met­rics to mea­sure train­ing im­pact.

Most com­pa­nies con­tinue to carry out stan­dard eval­u­a­tions on the ba­sis of tes­ti­mo­ni­als, and line man­ager feed­back. But none of these re­ally as­sesses learn­ing ef­fec­tive­ness in align­ment with strate­gic func­tional and busi­ness goals. It is time HR pro­fes­sion­als move be­yond the ob­vi­ously seen and delve deeper into the busi­ness im­pact of L&OD ini­tia­tives.

Ask Ashish Anand, Global Head HR, Reli­gare Fin­vest and he would tell you that 'learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment func­tion should be able to serve some pur­pose'. 'My opin­ion is that there are two types of learn­ings. One that is called reg­u­lated learn­ing. You have no choice be­cause some­body else tells you to do it. Be­cause there are reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments and if you don't do these reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments, you can't earn money,' ex­plains Anand. He adds, 'Sec­ond is the non-reg­u­lated learn­ing, which I say that with most peo­ple in this en­vi­ron­ment. If you look at the full train­ing func­tion, this is purely my ex­pe­ri­ence, you can just bracket into 3 as­pects: self, team and lead­er­ship. There is no third thing that you re­ally need to give to peo­ple or they need at the end of the day.'

Babu too echoes sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments as he points out, 'We need to have a dif­fer­ent model for learn­ing which is not pre­scrip­tive but would pre­pare the sys­tem to do.' 'Lead­er­ship is all about know­ing what to do when you don't know what to do. Can I pre­pare peo­ple so that they will know what to do when they don't know what to do?

Then you are cre­at­ing trans­for­ma­tion which is not pre­scrip­tive. And, you all know, this model, I did not get this model from any of the lead­er­ship books or change man­age­ment books,' he ex­plains.

For a petro­chem­i­cal com­pany like Deepak Fer­tilis­ers & Petro­chem­i­cal Cor­po­ra­tion Lim­ited, train­ing was not just the only way to mea­sure the im­pact. For Naresh Ku­mar Pinisetti, Pres­i­dent – Hu­man Re­sources breaks down the process to how much of em­ployee en­gage­ment has hap­pened. 'In the last four years we have been look­ing at the em­ployee en­gage­ment lev­els? We de­cided on mea­sures at the time of em­bark­ing upon this jour­ney. And de­cided we have to mea­sure this at the end of every year,' ex­plains Pinisetti.

'To cut this long story short all these mea­sures which have been done with the help of con­sul­tants like Mck­in­sey and the in-house HR team, we were trend­ing at 13 per cent em­ployee at­tri­tion rate in 2014 and last year we ended it with 6 per cent. The em­ployee en­gage­ment level was 42 per cent when we started this ini­tia­tive and we ended at 68. So, we could see every year we are im­prov­ing upon re­tain­ing our em­ploy­ees, in terms of im­prov­ing the em­ployee en­gage­ment lev­els. The sales per head or sales per­son, sales ex­ec­u­tive has in­creased tremen­dously. The pro­duc­tiv­ity lev­els in the plants have gone up. Our own EE (em­ployee en­gage­ment), this is ac­tu­ally the mea­sure of equip­ment ef­fi­ciency, down time, and also the qual­ity of the prod­ucts we chose to be 68 per cent and we touched 90 per cent. So, these are some of the in­ter­ven­tions we have made. But I would not at­tribute this en­tirely just to train­ing,' he adds.

Ritu Bhati, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor HR, De­liv­ery Cen­tre for Op­er­a­tions in In­dia and Sri Lanka, Ac­cen­ture, em­pha­sizes on the fact mere learn­ing is not suf­fi­cient. In fact, what you do with that learn­ing is equally im­por­tant. 'Re­search shows that af­ter one hour of learn­ing you lose about 10-20 per cent. Af­ter a week in a sense you have lost 90 per cent of learn­ing un­less you did some­thing. If you didn't do any­thing with it, you have lost it. So, what is durable learn­ing mean? Many of us in many spa­ces al­ready do this, it is not rocket sci­ence which is to re­it­er­ate.'

Way For­ward

With the work­place con­stantly be­ing a place of dis­rup­tions and changes tak­ing place, the case for a strong Learn­ing & De­vel­op­ment func­tion has be­come in­creas­ingly clearer. L&OD can evolve into a busi­nes­sand em­ployee-en­able­ment func­tions – the one com­pris­ing valu­able and skilled re­sources who can help their busi­ness de­fine the de­sired im­prove­ments in per­for­mance, cre­ate multi-di­men­sional so­lu­tions to drive these im­prove­ments and track and mea­sure their im­pact and ef­fec­tive­ness.

'You can't get trained talk­ing about do­ing some kind of a train­ing which is ir­rel­e­vant. Cre­ate some stan­dards and mea­sur­able stan­dards which you must main­tain ir­re­spec­tive of sit­u­a­tions. It should be a mis­sionori­ented train­ing. It should be per­form­ing space rather than clock­ing the num­ber of hours. The most in­ter­est­ing that I have al­ways found is train­ing should de­fine the sta­tus quo,' says Sameer Sinha, Head HR, Groupe Re­nault (In­dia).

'In a nut­shell, what I want to say is that you need to cre­ate that en­vi­ron­ment that peo­ple feel they want to learn some­thing. They want to go out and cre­ate that kind of cu­rios­ity in them,' he adds.

Ac­cord­ing to Mo­hit Gun­decha, Co-Founder & CEO, Jom­bay, L&D has to 'shed the bag­gage of learn­ing' if it has to go be­yond to a sit­u­a­tion.

Source: Learn­ing Philoso­phies In­dia, 2018 & Be­yond – Rethinking L&D Fun­da­men­tals Sur­vey 'From an or­ga­ni­za­tion's per­spec­tive, they should fo­cus on cre­at­ing an

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