Create a Learning Strategy that aligns with Business Strategy

 a) Tips for a budding L&D/HR professional?

In the past, HR managers primarily performed administrative tasks, payroll, benefits and managing employees time. Later on, it evolved to serve as an advocate for both the company and the people who work in the company.

The role of HR is quickly evolving to meet the needs of today’s fast-changing, fast-paced global business climate.While many HR professionals still have responsibility for the day-to-day accounting and employee paperwork, many of their role has developed into enhancing an organization’s competitive advantage.

When I started treading on my journey, the concept of HR had already seen a change with the HR manager partnering with business. It was very important for me to take a note of the changing market dynamics and its consequences on the company’s business and its impact on people sentiments. Early in my career, I understood that in order to be successful HR business partners and leaders of change, HR professionals should be armed with a solid foundation in business principles and understanding of the company’s strategies.

Few of the skills which have value added and contributed to my success in creating a competitive advantage for me and organizations are the below:

  • Agile way of working
  • Clear communication
  • Negotiation and bridging the gap 
  • Having a Digital Mindset 

b) Your personal achievement as an HR professional?

An HR Leader needs to be a strategic partner to the business. Substantial years of my career has been into heading end to end Plant HR in an auto manufacturing set-up, I could take it to my credit that there has been no single day disruption of production due to industrial issues. I have spearheaded numerous change management initiatives that have been implemented for streamlining operations, revamping employee experience initiatives and developing committed teams. I learn about the new innovations that are reshaping working cultures as a result of the pace and volume throughout my industry and profession. 

For overcoming these challenges and finding solutions for them, I have always tried to be flexible and curious. I have brought in technology to play a key role in HR processes/experiences to bring in significantly positive efficiencies and effectiveness. Harnessing the capabilities of evolving technologies (AR/VR, blended learning, the like) to improvise talent engagement has also been my forte. 

c) How can an HR/L&D contribute strategically to the organization?

HR professionals are perceived as “the rules representatives,” and too often we’re seen as just policy wonks, somehow disconnected from the real world of organizational needs. For sure that’s in the job, but its primary to understand the organizational needs, vision and goals, which the HR of today are rapidly gaining experience with and are also providing business a real partnership environment. 

The leaders of L&D functions need to revolutionize their approach by creating a learning strategy that aligns with business strategy and by identifying and enabling the capabilities needed to achieve success.

This will help shape and develop a learning strategy based on the company’s business and talent enablers. The learning strategy seeks to support professional development and build capabilities across the company, on time, and in a cost-effective manner. What it also accomplishes along the way is bridging of the gap between the vision/leadership principles and the actual outcomes, a realization that builds a long lasting employee morale.

d) One HR/L&D practice that has always worked for you as an HR.

Investing on a robust curriculum which is effective, applying innovative learning methods and technology thereby building the human talent pool needed to master the digital age – has been my success mantra through and through. 

I would like to talk about one real-time program that was developed for the Sales team, the program has helped us in establishing a good product-service distinction in the minds of our customers. The key enabler for this program was the concept of value-added selling and getting real time feedback from customers directly AND highly innovative and customizable programs for different segments. Example – the 2x increase in business and No. 1 position in internal global organization for aggregates in the past two years. 

e) What do you think about experiential learning and its role at workplace in the coming decade?

Curiosity is the key to our sustainable growth. Throughout the experiential learning process, the learner is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious and creative, solving problems, assuming responsibility, and constructing meaning. This combines direct experience with focus reflection.

With Millennials and Generation Z employees coming into the workplace, the opportunities to learn and grow have to be on a variety of topics coupled with innovative techniques which are easily interpreted and accessible.

Similarly, these forces disrupt the culture of learning in the organization, requiring leaders to continuously learn about and adapt to changes. 

f) How do you create a buy-in for trainings at workplace?

Interventions undertaken always target a certain business area(s), their respective employees being the resources. A thorough work goes into conceptualizing the training. The needs for these initiatives arise from the collection of feedback, majorly through development areas in annual performance discussions, development center activities and various psychometry instruments. Training could be broadly bifurcated into two segments – new program deployment OR being agile and tweaking existing training practices. The solutions should be flexible to cater to the business needs with a visible outcome. Once a program is successful for driving the intended result, it becomes a sustainable initiative contributing to business.

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