Article (May-2021)


Time to think and act beyond capability building initiatives

Ruhie Pande

Designation : -   CHRO

Organization : -  Godrej Housing Finance & Godrej Fund Management, Mumbai


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

RP Learning priorities and L&D strategy have changed for 94% of organisations in response to the pandemic, with two in three making significant changes to what they do and how they do it.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a major swing to digital learning, with spend increasing on almost all areas of digital, led by content. 82% report that demand for digital learning has increased from senior stakeholders, whilst 71% have experienced an increased demand for digital learning content from learners themselves.

Meanwhile, as people get used to working remotely and in virtual teams, collaboration is becoming a key priority. 84% of L&D leaders think it is more important to integrate digital learning into other corporate platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Trello for example.

So-called learning experience platforms (LXPs) and collaborative learning specialist platforms are rated as the most successful systems after - predictably - virtual class rooms.

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

RP  Use of more collaborative or social learning methodologies.

In 2019, we saw more investment, through an influx of capital investments and consolidation, in learning experience platforms (LXPs). Traditional learning libraries are no longer cutting it for organisations that need to aggregate content from multiple sources and providers to create more offerings for employees. As a result, organisations are transitioning to on-demand learning to support employees at the time of need, and AI and machine learning are becoming more commonplace in a range of tools, from delivery platforms (LXPs as well as traditional learning management systems) to chatbot-based coaching tools and content curation applications.

  • Peer-coaching

Peer-to-peer learning should provide benefits to those who share and receive knowledge. Students need to learn as much as they would if they were in a formal classroom. The same applies to workers who have to acquire as much knowledge as they would from a hired external expert. Some of the benefits of this kind of learning include :

  • A study, conducted by Degreed, found out that employees prefer to learn new things from their peers rather than approaching their bosses.
  • Peer educators understand what learners go through every day. They know the experiences that learners face and this gives them an edge over external trainers or teachers.
  • This psychological safety makes people feel more free to discuss their challenges, setbacks and hopes without worrying that they'll be judged. Research that when people pause to consider their learning efforts, how far they've come, what they need to do next and how it fits into their lives, they succeed more quickly in mastering skills. One person told us that peer coaching forces participants to stop and be thoughtful about how you're developing. Another said it "helps paint a bigger picture to understand who I am as a person."

Peer-coaching helps contextualise learning as the peer understands the real barriers to implementing learning, Improves credibility of a concept, process thought when peers who have implemented it successfully teach and help employees reflect deeper on their learning.

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

RP 1. Make all learning fully digital : short, impactful interactive modules that can be delivered "just-in-time" where they are most needed.

2. Run programmes at scale. Getting participants in a learning room in much higher numbers allows for a critical mass of learners to absorb important content and work to shift their behaviour collectively.

3. Think if how you can leverage peer-learning and involve participants in each other's development journey.

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

RP In my view, this shift is stronger to improving personal efficiency & effectiveness along with digital literacy. For example, how to engage with customers and stakeholders for stronger working relationships in a remote environment and how to grow and develop one's career while working remotely. Soft skills like creativity, agile thinking, communication and collaboration will stay in high demand.

From the perspective of capability building for people leaders, Employee wellbeing is a team effort across the organisation. Everyone needs to pull together to change company culture for the better. The role L&D plays in improving employee wellbeing is educational. There are five key ways you can do this :

1. Train your leaders so they have a better understanding of mental health and wellbeing.

2. Provide educational material for employees to help them better understand how they can improve their own wellbeing.

3. Provide resilience training for your staff. Some aspects of emotional wellbeing can be learnt. Where this is the case, L&D should do what they can to support.

4. Use empowering features on your learning platform to give staff a voice. Whether that's surveys, forums or social clubs, there are plenty of different ways you can use your learning tools for staff listening.

5. Develop staff in their role to better equip them to do their job. Few things are worse for your mental wellbeing than a sense of helplessness!

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