Article (May-2021)

Articles

L&D must focus on data literacy, trade acumen and digital integration

Gautam Kumar

Designation : -   Director and CHRO

Organization : -  SKF India Ltd., Pune

01-May-2021

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Do you see L&D changing more broadly after pandemic crisis and why does it need a revamp for the new workplace?

GK The pandemic outbreak brought an abrupt halt to the economy, putting half of humanity under lockdown. Industries across verticals witnessed dramatic changes in working culture and systems. To cope with the new work demands of the world, it is crucial for L&D to focus on redesigning the global workforce with due consideration to the prospects of decimated industries, redeployment, updated policies, and revised job roles. Deployment of work-from-home programs, wellbeing and mental health programs, programs to build positive thinking and alignment and other safety programs are a few vital examples of the revised L&D.

In fact, this crisis has accelerated the terms of L&D and portrayed it as one of the main ways to combat the adversities.

Looking forward, we also need to rethink different methods of executing L&D initiatives, such as what will make most meaning for the individual and organisations to implement; will it be online modules, self-learning capsules, on-the-job learning, shadowing, coaching/ mentoring, cross-functional assignments etc. The good thing is that we have a much wider canvas to experiment with - since the pandemic has been an equalizer in many ways in terms of learning opportunities available for corporates.

How should learning and development be re-positioned or redesigned more strongly with a new road map?

GK In the post-pandemic time, there are drastic changes organisations had to make. Most significant and effective change is treating learning as a driver of business success. As part of redesigning, the L&D fraternity must focus on identifying/upskilling three key capabilities i.e., data literacy, trade acumen and digital integration. To influence decision making it is important to upskill the ability to read, understand, create, and communicate data as information. Another key to ensure sustainable business growth is understanding the full value chain; the business - its strategy customers, external operating environment and how does the process flow in business. Similarly, digital literacy is the biggest skill gap. In fact, both Digitalization and Digitization are key drivers to integrate the technology ecosystem in an organisation.

What are the key lessons on learning that organisations should keep in mind in, while redesigning the initiatives?

GK Some key lessons that organisations should keep in mind are :

Are the learning interventions present and future focused which gives a 360-degree view of what is happening in the world of business?

Are they tailored to the audience they are intended for, i.e. who are the recipients of the learning initiatives and what is the best way of learning for them?

Are they tailored for the business need that we have, i.e. what is the business need that we are trying to address in this learning initiative?

How will we experience the value from the initiatives and the key shifts in the organisation - what will change if we deliver this learning for the intended audience and organisation - what value and benefits will we derive from this?

What should people be learning right now, and how can L&D deliver it under the changed work environment?

GK The way we perceive things has changed dramatically with the pandemic outbreak. Digital is the key now. In these times, employees are trying to maintain regular workflow on top of the external stress brought on by a pandemic. Emotional factors like anxiety and stress leave a significant impact on a person's ability to absorb information, taking this into account, organisations must work out ways to balance long-form learning sessions with easier-to-grasp formats along with training sessions that offer a broad view of industry topics, including basic concepts and emerging trends. Another change would be incorporating some form of interactive technology that will help engage employees in a refreshing way. It is certain that the L&D will be marked by innovations driven in response to this pandemic.

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