Article (September-2016)

Articles

Training as career and new age competencies

Rakesh Seth

Designation : -   CEO & Chief HR Mentor

Organization : -  REEOCSYYS, Noida

01-Sep-2016

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In an increasingly competitive world, it is essential for organizations to be flexible, innovative and adaptive.  The reasons for the rapidly growing demand for training and development is for self-enrichment and survival in response to the chaos of the current work place. Progressive organizations have realized that training their employees on a continuous basis is the only real way to stay ahead of the competition. Employees are also realizing that the knowledge and skills they acquired in college are becoming obsolete, and they need to constantly stay flexible, marketable and competitive. Positions of higher responsibilities call for a different attitudinal perspective and hence methodologies have to be developed which build this attitudinal perspective.  In the fast changing world such a process will strengthen the organization further and makes the organization competitive. 


Corporate training is a career option that generates a lot of curiosity. In last two decades, India has witnessed a massive growth - some sectors have grown at an unimaginable speed like telecom, insurance, education (schools, management and engineering colleges), software, e-commerce business, healthcare, professional, scientific, and technical services, which have created a demand for large number of trainers, and training companies.  Some companies also started moving executives from line to training functions. In view of this growth, demand had arisen to train the novice workforce in typically low end technical and grooming (soft-skills) requirements which led to the advent of large population of line managers and HR managers moving into the training function.  Indian graduates passing out from colleges are also being perceived to be unemployable and hence they need to be trained for good duration to make them industry ready. 


Further, the following factors have also triggered the growth in demand for training activities:

  •     Volatile, complex and uncertain economic environment
  •     Digital, mobile, and social technology
  •     Demographic shifts
  •     Globalization

As a result, concepts-such as integrated talent management; employee engagement; and crowd sourced, collaborative, mobile, and continuous learning-have disrupted conventional notions of the training and development function's role and changed the competencies required for success. Training and development practitioners can no longer ignore this wake-up call if they want to maintain their competitive advantage.


Currently, Indian training market is fragmented and there are few dominant players in the market place which easily offers plenty of room for new players to enter.  Moreover, there are no entry barriers in this field. Further, corporate training is not yet a stream that is taught in colleges. At best, you have distance learning and online resources to learn about the training industry, how the training process works, etc. However, it is a good idea to get certified to begin with. A general certificate in training skills like the 'Train the Trainer' (commonly known as T3) from a reputed brand is a good idea. Once you decide what stream you want to train in, you can go in for additional certifications. In view of the above economic and sectorial growth, there are several others reasons as to why people are moving into the training and development functions: 

1. Dual Career
Another factor that has led people switching to training role is dual career where wife and husband are working and there is no one to look after either the old parents or children. Hence, out of the two one opts for career in the training as it provides a flexible working hours being a freelancer and also one can take up a work at his/her own pace. 

2. Passion/self-esteem/noble cause
Some people enjoy training and interacting with the other people - it is part of their personality and hence they get satisfaction by training other people.  Also training is considered and perceived to be a noble profession and also have a passion for training. 
 
3. Skills development opportunities
Government sponsored schemes for 'Make in India' and smart cities have created tremendous opportunities for skills development for large population in India.  This has also created a situation where a lot many trained managers are moving into the training/skill development function.  A number of skills centers in technical and behavioral skills have been launched by professionals. 
  
4. Sabbaticals
Several people/employees who take a sabbatical from corporate jobs for personal reasons turn to the training as a career to fulfill their short-term economic requirements.

5. Inflow of trained managers from foreign country
People who come back from foreign country find as the easiest route to set up training services companies to move into training function.  Since they are foreign educated they are able to develop quick acceptance with the needs of the relevant people. 

6. Mid-career movements from services/government background
In view of the prevalence of entrepreneurship and start-up culture a large number of corporate professionals, ex-serviceman and professionals from PSUs have moved into the soft skills and technical training areas to cater to the emerging needs of the young/matured population.  


Competencies
The new role of the trainer is highly demanding, because professional requirements are not reduced by the new systematic ones.  The value of demonstrating new and emerging competencies is now apparent.  Some of these competencies include: 

 

  • Staying abreast of new and emerging technologies and matching the appropriate technology to a specific learning opportunity or challenge
     
  • Moving beyond the role of deliverer of training to a facilitator of learning, content curator, information manager, and builder of learning communities
     
  • Fostering a culture of connectivity and collaboration around learning via mobile and social technology
     
  • Designing and presenting learning not as a discrete event-a training course-but as a process that engages learners in a variety of ways over time through formal and informal channels
     
  • Leveraging the learning styles and preferences of new generations entering the workforce and capturing the knowledge of those leaving it
     
  • Playing a role in integrated talent management so that learning informs all the processes and systems that create organizational capability and understanding the role and contributions of the learning function
     
  • Anticipating and meeting the training and development needs of an increasingly global workforce and contributing to talent development where the organization most needs it
     
  • demonstrating the value and impact of learning by using metrics that are meaningful to business and using data analysis to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of learning and development
     
  • continuing to be business partners who align their activities to the organization's business strategies and goals and can demonstrate their return on mission, especially during challenging times.

Skills for trainer

  • Communication skills: Excellent oral and written communication skills are critical for anyone entering the field of learning and development. You'll need to be able to speak in front of large and small groups as well as write effectively for a wide range of audiences.
     
  • Interpersonal skills: Training professionals must have good "people skills." Superb listening skills are required to successfully identify the needs of your audience. It's also important to be socially perceptive-so that you're aware of others' reactions and can adjust your message and approach as needed. Because most trainers act as consultants within their own organizations, it's important to be able to develop constructive working relationships with others.
     
  • Creative thinking: Training and development professionals need to be able to think creatively to design new programs and approaches to get their information across.  
     
  • Planning and attention to detail: Training and development professionals must be capable of putting together detailed plans and materials to support their educational programs.


Personality traits & others
Extroverted: Most of the training and development professionals I know are more extroverted than introverted, especially if they are engaged in training delivery. However, if you love teaching people but don't like getting up in front of big groups, don't cross this field off your list. There are many opportunities for people who enjoy teaching smaller groups or using online platforms. So, if you're an introvert, you might enjoy instructional design or training of a more technical nature.

  •     Idea person: If you think of yourself as an 'idea person' developing new programs and ways to present concepts should come naturally to you.
     
  •     Flexibility:  While trainers must be able to plan and pay attention to detail, they also must be able to 'think on their feet' and adjust quickly when something unexpected comes up.


Willingness to learn: Since there are no formal studies in many corporate topics you will be required to train in, the learning happens along the way. Self-learning skills can be critical to a career as a corporate trainer.


Marketing yourself: If you choose to go on your own, you will need to make efforts to find work. Social media, online job portals, LinkedIn groups, industry events -be active on all platforms where you can connect with people and find training opportunities.


A way forward 
To take a cue from Microsoft acquiring LinkedIn and what its implications could be.  Through linked acquisition of Lynda, LinkedIn picked up world class entity in the creation of coursework that we believe has transformed learning and development to some extent.  Now imagine that coursework deeply integrated throughout Microsoft eco-system and one example specifically we are excited about is integrating alongside some of the most popular productivity apps, anywhere in the world, Excel, PowerPoint and Word. Now, visualize a new tab added to office called learning and you will start to get a sense of the power of this.  When you are in these Microsoft products, you are going to be able to see who you can tap within your network, within the entire broader eco-system, freelancers and the actual coursework itself. To conclude, I would suggest in view of recent developments in training technologies, online revolutions, executives and managers should be very cautious and alert in building and committing themselves for a longer period of time in this training profession.  At any point of time, any disruption can occur in training profession which will change the way the training is delivered.