Interviews, Learning & Development

5 More Critical Insights into Learning & Development

Here is the long-awaited Part II of the interview – Critical Insights into Learning & Development with Abhipsa Mishra, L&T Infotech.

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1. Learning assessments, defining ROI on training, a little blurred? 

ROI on training is a little blurred. If after an 8-hour workshop, I don’t get a certificate and if the results are not immediately known, there appears to be no value in the training. The challenge is when there is no clarity. Secondly, learners (stakeholders) also get complacent and do not find the need for sharpening their skills. So there is an urgent need to figure out the programs that enhance skills and build a structure with concrete plans. A trainer might be convinced with DISC or MBTI-like certifications and be confident that they can assess a learner, but is the learner himself convinced enough about whether the assessment is crucial and relevant? We cannot ask everyone to go and take certifications. Self Awareness sessions which help build inner connections are critical for stakeholders in this fast-paced environment to evaluate themselves and understand their needs.

2. Contrary to the popular belief, engaging Millennials could be easier, technology helps

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Managing and engaging in the age of millennials is not a challenge and in fact, engaging millennials could be easier because they are open to changes and embrace it. Motivation is a factor for all generations and according to Adult Learning Principles, you can’t tie a person to a chair for more than 40 seconds. So how we can constantly innovate and bring in new ideas to engage learners is important.

So we are doing what it takes to engage all generations. For example, in HDFC Life, they have their own Facebook-like platforms to communicate with each other and get instant feedback. As things are evolving, people are interested in only tweet-like messages and information. That happens only when you are open to new platforms. That is the reason there is LMS. People may be cynical and have different views about LMS. There are few things that cannot be taught on LMS. But to a certain extent, to know certain things about your company or to take up a test, it actually helps.

There are things like gamification, robotics and other variable technologies coming up. The introduction of robotics or the virtual learning system in the learning periphery is trending. MOOCS is another hot topic.

And not just technology, there are other concepts as well. Mythology is another concept, where drawing inferences from mythology to business, like from ancient mythology, from Puranas to business, from Panchatantra to business and such are in place.

Such things are brought in to make it interesting and include all generations.

3. Engagement can be inferred incorrectly

Why do we need to engage employees? If work is boring or the training is boring, we need to engage people. But if we can make work interesting, you will look forward to work every day. But why a Googler, for example, is not required to be engaged, but why someone else needs that. It is about liking what you are doing. It is about making what you are doing for others interesting.

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Change is the answer to the question on next big thing in HR or L&D. There are companies investing and employing Robots and bringing in a huge change. Over a period, there could be massive layoffs. Because for a company, a one-time investment in a Robot would be equivalent to employing hundreds of people and training them. But no one knows if it will be a good sign or a bad sign. For all we know and already seen through the era of computers, replacing humans with Robots for routine work could bode well for us. There could be a lot of other jobs created as it happened when computers made its way.

5. Academic to Professional Excellence, a serious gap

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There is definitely a wide gap prevalent. According to Harvard Business School’s findings, only 5% of the current generation are below the threshold of average students compared to 25% in the previous generations. But are all who are getting good grades from good Business Schools becoming CEOs or at least in good positions.

For example, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pick out good software developers to average ones. There are no good Finance professionals or HR professionals placed through the system, unlike marketing streams. The reason being, the present education system doesn’t train people on life skills.

Why a Business School won’t prepare people with the required life skills, but a company has to invest in such programs. Why can’t schools promote Earn with Learn models, rather such programs are ridiculed in the society? Not even the top-tiered schools have been able to. Students don’t seem eligible for even summer internship programs these days. Maybe the mindset is there, but because of the rigid system of exams and exams and exams throughout their study period, there is little room or scope to include such programs.

For example, at one of the campus drives, I questioned a student on what would you like to become. I was surprised at the answer. He said “I want to become the CEO of the organization. Another one said I want to see myself in your position within 5 years. The reason it took me by surprise was goals differ for each individual. If one wants to become the CEO of an organization, he would rather be working on it and contributing to making his dream come true than attending such interviews. How can someone else want to be in my position, because it is my own goal and growth path? They don’t even have the capacity to think through. Students seem to have no clue about what to expect. They have either absolute questions which demand a yes or no answer or rhetorical questions, which cannot be answered.

So there is a serious gap and that needs to be addressed. 

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The Downsides of Sharing Your Goals With Others

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Remember the movie ‘Julie and Julia’ where Amy Adam’s character takes up the challenge to cook up all the recipes in Julia Child’s first cookbook? The fear of starting a task and not being able to complete it makes her share the goal online in the format of a daily blog. As she updates her progress every day, her followers grow, who keep her accountable for the next recipe. And eventually she achieves her goal. But what if she never had followers? What if nobody cared about what she was doing? And her blog was lost somewhere in the big void called the internet? Would she have been able to meet success?

We humans naturally are big time dreamers. We have a lot of dreams, ambitions and plans we would like to accomplish in life. In most of the cases, we also know what would be the steps in achieving them. But our biggest problem is to take that first step. We lack in putting our dreams into action. The disconnect between knowing what you should do and actually doing it is called Intention – Behavior Gap. Is there a way we can bridge this gap?

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In 2009, Peter Gollwitzer and some other researchers at NYU released a paper, called “When intentions go public does social reality widen the intention – behavior gap”. In the experiment conducted, they divided people into two groups, one who disclosed their goals to everyone and the other who kept their goals to themselves. After 45 minutes, the ones who had kept it a secret were more realistic about their achieving the goals, than their counterparts who had revealed their goals. The group which talked about their goals had given up working on the task just after 33 minutes, but still felt like they were nearing their goals.

When someone affirms our goal, we feel like we have actually taken a step towards the goal. It gives us some satisfaction and that’s called Social Reality. This is why we find so many blogs and vlogs where people announce their goals and document their journey in the hope of achieving them. But sometimes when we share our goals with everyone, we tend to deceive ourselves and others due to pressure and the fear of being judged as a failure. The expectation of others makes us talk what they want to listen rather than what we are actually doing.

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Another problem when it comes to involving others in our goals is that we often share the ultimate vision we have for ourselves.  We need to communicate the work we need to put in rather than the identity we want to achieve. For example, do not say I am going to sing like Elvis in 6 month’s time, rather tell them I am going to practice singing everyday for the next six months. Setting specific goals and thinking about contextual reminders is important. This sort of planning is also called Implementation Intentions.

So should we completely avoid sharing our dreams and goals with others? If you really have to disclose your goals to someone, make sure the person cares about your goals and takes them seriously, someone who would motivate you on a regular basis and keep you accountable. You could associate with someone who has a similar goal as yours or someone who would educate you on skills you need to know in terms of achieving your objective. There needs to be harmony among the people you choose to admit your goals to.

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So go ahead and plan your insane goals, but be wise when it comes to declaring them.

 

Interviews, Learning & Development

5 insights into Learning & Development that you need to know now

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Hema Markandan from Ripples Learning, in conversation with Abhipsa Mishra, L&T Infotech

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Abhipsa Mishra is a leadership coach, an author, and a blogger. She is passionate about learning. She has designed and delivered learning interventions in BFSI, Pharma, and IT sectors. Abhipsa incorporates storytelling in L&D. She is currently working as the Behavioral Competency Lead for L&T Infotech Ltd.  She loves traveling and exploring new places. She blogs about it in her page ‘Way wanderers’.  She is currently working on her book on Experiential Learning.

When I sat down with Abhipsa Mishra to talk about the changes and challenges in the field of Learning & Development, I hoped for deeper insights into this exciting domain of HR. L&D is arguably the most celebrated aspect of HR and a domain that attracts individuals who are not just looking for a job but often, responding to a deeper calling within themselves.  

The conversation with Abhipsa was deep and enriching to say the least. I have gleaned for our readers some of the best insights that I gathered from the discussion.  

Here is the first part of this two-part series 

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1. The concept of training is being revisited. It is now called Learning & Capacity Building

When a field is going through a transition, the first thing that changes is it’s vocabulary. 

The world of training has seen a transformation over the years. The bigger institutions and the corporate houses are already renaming and revisiting it. It is being referred to as Learning & Development and in some cases Capacity Building department. The recent trend we see is there is a shift from the training mode to the learning mode.

The essence is the learner. When it was referred to as training, it was more of a push from the organization’s end to up-skill an employee. But now the role is reversed and it is the employee who has to come forward and get upskilled as the competencies are mapped to the requirement. There are possibilities for IJPs in organizations. So learners here push for building their capacities and hence become the stakeholders of the companies.

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2. Different strokes for different folks is the new mantra (& not just for cricketers) 

Another transformation we hear about is the approach towards the delivery of training programs. Each trainer and the training delivery is different, like how cricketers play Cricket. There is as such no thumb rule to the style of delivery these days. There has been an influx of programs which are entirely new and refreshing.

For example, the concept of storytelling and incorporating it into the programs has gained immense appreciation among the training circles. Apparently, such concepts are quite interactive and engaging. Dramatics, Image consulting, Music and training by playing Harmonica or drum circles are other formats of delivery that’s finding their way into the training space. Every trainer has his/her own personality. Deriving management lessons from such concepts is becoming a phenomenon.

However, not all programs can be done differently. For a compliance workshop, storytelling is not the answer. So there is a need to constantly innovate and apply ideas according to the requirement.

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3. Training has a voice at the strategic table

Training is not just a support function anymore. Firstly, it very much is an investment and an ROI is mapped, as the function goes on to bridge the gap and meets the requirements of clients, customers, vendors, regulators and stakeholders (learners) alike.

Secondly, training helps in revisiting the mission of the company. At a fast paced world things are changing at breakneck speed. When it is easy to diverge from the goal originally set and focus on the urgent things, sensitizing and training people will help develop the skills required currently, and also prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. It definitely adds a lot of value to all involved and hence it earns itself a good position at the strategic table.

 

4. There is no trainer in the room. Only learners. 

A very common mistake is a trainer thinking he or she knows it all. There is no teacher-student relationship when it comes to training. There is nothing like one teacher and one learner, there are in fact two learners. Another common mistake or rather what a trainer should look out for is that no training program goes without a feedback session. The training should be measured on a continuous basis. Even after years of training, one will not be able to master the technique, because of the whirlwind of changes taking place in this world.

One needs to constantly discover and learn new techniques even for the most common behavioral training programs like Business Communication & Email Etiquette. Even if the sessions and the company you are working for remain the same, there is a new level of audience and requirements per se. Hence the style changes, the way you communicate changes, the approach changes.

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5. Anything that cannot be measured cannot be implemented.

We are still in the early stages of being able to effectively measure effectiveness of training.  Even if Behavioral training programs are difficult to measure, it is not completely impossible. Improving on the delivery and revisiting the content and customizing the program to fit the needs is equally important as having different models of programs. 

(Resultslab  is a solution from Ripples Learning which companies use, to help measure training effectiveness)

Watch this space for Part II – coming soon!

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Welcome to the CHRMP Blog

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A dialogue begins

We start this journey into sharing of ideas with a beautiful poem that reminds us that each one of us can soar to great heights, if we can be true to who we are.

Here is to a beautiful journey ahead!

The Albatross

Often, to amuse themselves, the men of a crew
Catch albatrosses, those vast seabirds
That indolently follow a ship
As it glides over the deep, briny sea.Scarcely have they placed them on the deck
Than these kings of the sky, clumsy, ashamed,
Pathetically let their great white wings
Drag beside them like oars.That winged voyager, how weak and gauche he is,
So beautiful before, now comic and ugly!
One man worries his beak with a stubby clay pipe;
Another limps, mimics the cripple who once flew!The poet resembles this prince of cloud and sky
Who frequents the tempest and laughs at the bowman;
When exiled on the earth, the butt of hoots and jeers,
His giant wings prevent him from walking.— Charles Baudelaire