HR Professionals must create a need-based platform for the employees to focus on Experiential Learning

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

Always start with a “Why” – Design your L&D/HR Initiatives with intent in mind.  Always ask yourself, does it equip your team with desired knowledge, skills and attitude which would eventually contribute towards reaching the company’s business objective.

Create a Buy-in – Hard working L&D/HR professionals may put their best efforts to plan their  interventions  and yet, most of the time, employees themselves don’t even  understand why they’re attending  that session.  Creating – a ‘’buy-in’ is part of the planning process wherein you connect with your target audience about the outcomes of the L&D initiatives planned for them. In this way the employees come mentally prepared and feel more engaged to participate actively.

It’s not about One-Size-Fits-All approach – While the intent of all L&D interventions is to align with the Business strategy of the Company but building capability cannot have One-Size-Fits-All approach. Be resourceful, imaginative and innovative because every team has a unique way of learning the desired skills and attitudes.

Walk the Talk – L&D / HR professionals are often seen as the conscience keepers in an organization. Live the values and ethos of the organization to drive a positive learning culture. It is very important for your team to see you as a leader who is fair, transparent and who values integrity irrespective of uncomfortable situations.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish – Passion and Drive are the key ingredients that make a successful L&D/HR professional. Never hold back from putting your heart and soul into driving a healthy learning culture. Remain curious about your surroundings and network effectively with other L&D/ HR professionals. There is great strength in sharing knowledge. Stay updated with new learning technologies and set aside time for your own personal learning growth too.

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

As per an article and survey published by Mckinsey, an increasingly competitive business landscape, rising complexity and the digital revolution are reshaping the mix of employees. The shift to a digital, knowledge-based economy means that a vibrant workforce is more important than ever.  Here are two paramount ways in which HR/L&D contribute strategically to the organization:

Invest in developing people – L&D/HR initiatives cannot be a one-time investment in people. It requires perseverance and persistence to keep investing in teams to equip them with new learning experiences and relevant work related experiences. Spending time on the shop floor to understand the dynamics of workflow, service standards as well as your customers can give great insights into connecting with your employees more effectively to plan and organize engaging and  meaningful initiatives for them

Invest in creating a Values driven culture – With AI becoming the game changer in providing cutting edge digital learning opportunities, a large part of the role of L&D / HR professional still remains in building communities with a strong sense of Ethos within the companies. Whether working with multigenerational teams or pure millennial groups, a sense of belongingness at work place plays a key role in driving positive performance results of any organization.

(c)   One HR/L&D practice that has always worked for you as an HR. (share an example)

Amongst many virtues that I have learnt from my mentors, the one that has truly shaped me as an L&D professional is the belief that I must play the role of being an Enabler for my teams. At the end of the day, I do not measure my success according to the man hours / man days of training, but how many employees did I enable to transform their learnings into making a positive impact on the shop floor. While numbers and documentation may be an important parameter but the true success of productivity is when a visible change is seen in an employee’s knowledge, skills and attitude, in their dealings with the customer.

Secondly, planning ahead and staying optimistic about the plans is also a key driver that keeps me going at work. There could be times when Plan A may not work as desired but maintaining an optimistic mind-set to keep the ball rolling drives me to think from a fresh perspective and move on to Plan B to ensure implementation of those plans !

(d)   Do you think experiential learning is more impactful? Give an example.

Yes. The new age learner has moved away from the concept of a traditional academic classroom setup and has evolved into someone who derives maximum learning by doing. Learning techniques which are more immersive in nature have a long term impact towards contributing in achieving business goals. We have to think about our learners as our internal customers. Just as today’s external customers are better prepared and equipped to tell us what they want to buy instead of buying what we them to buy, in the same way, our internal customers/learners are acutely aware about their surroundings, thanks to the digital revolution and perform best when they learn in a collaborative environment which engages all of their five senses.

(e)   How do you create a buy-in for training at workplace?

I believe in collaborating with the team when it comes to creating a buy-in for training. An L&D professional cannot work in isolation to drive a healthy learning culture at work place.

I always go for establishing a strong need for training first and for that “Going to Gemba” is the surest way. Based on real time observations, assessments and audits backed up with data from VoC enables me to plan interventions which help me to create that buy-in for implementing my plans.  Periodical interactions with departmental heads and departmental trainers help me to gain insights on what’s working and what can be improved. Sometimes one has to go the distance to realize one’s vision but if the intent truly is to build capability and competence of the teams, then one has to be willing to do so. 

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