First, understand the business. HR is not rocket science. It is about understanding business, understanding what people want – and building the bridge. Second, have the courage to experiment and present your well-researched ideas to the people who matter. Third, understand how and when learning happens, and what is the learning culture of your organisation – to reach somewhere, you must understand where you stand “as is” and then vector towards your “to be” state.
Possessing no background in L&D or tech and as a fresh b-school grad, I was given a project to understand and design a system to assign, track and capture On-the-Job Learning. This is something that has not been tried by too many organisations – and it was a deeply enlightening experience – right from diving into the deep waters of the psychology behind learning to detailing the functional aspects. It ended up like a product management role, where I even designed the wireframes for the product.
Good strategy can only be developed from a lot of information, knowledge and wisdom processed and pieced together. This needs pro-active measures by HR folks to develop a foresight for getting strategies and thinking about the future. HR professionals must take initiative towards this; otherwise they will keep tackling superficial issues or delivering symptomatic treatment for systemic issues. Learning about how technology and platforms can simply work and assist decision making is absolutely essential – technology will change the face of how we see HR in the next 5 years. It will happen, and there is no going back from it once that happens.
Talking to people and understanding their emotional stance, especially when it concerns change. I was an extremely analytical person originally, but with time I realised the undeniable fact that people work through emotions. Unless we develop the empathy to understand what basic insecurities/fears/needs a person has – we won’t be able to see the big picture. No amount of technology can change this bit.
As someone who has researched experiential learning in some depth – I can say this with confidence that experiential learning is the only kind of learning.
Rest is just knowledge accumulation. Learning is a hard process that takes place when multiple faculties of the brain are repeatedly deployed during practice. Just think of the number of workshops and theoretical training programs we attended in the past, how much of that still remains with us? That being said, theoretical and instruction-based learning is also essential to remove known-unknowns – that scape is changing through micro and byte-sized learning.
Once again, understand the business. Understand what the nature of work is, and how specific skills will improve performance on job, or improve efficiency, and/or improve morale. Connect that to business results. Excite the business by showing how this will get them ahead of competition, or how not doing it is a disadvantage. Show your end to end execution plan to inspire them about how it will come into action and deliver the promised impact. Finally, don’t just organise training programs to complete KRAs.