HRs should have a visibility to various Business Models of the Organisation

Q. Tips for a budding L&D/HR professional?

I would say I am still shaping myself as an HR professional and there is no end to “sharpening the axe”. However, below are some tips that have helped me and others may also benefit from them: 

Be perseverant– Remember, perseverance is the key.  Do not get bogged down by the obstacles coming your way. Draw a roadmap as to how your role contributes to the greater scheme of things and course-correct as necessary. 

Listen– While most of us as HR professionals are eloquent speakers, listening is an aspect that differentiates the best from the rest.  Listen very carefully – pay attention to the verbal and non-verbal cues. Also, try to withhold judgement while you are listening. Listening may help in letting the best solutions emerge!

Be responsive and follow through– As HR professionals, we interact with various internal and external stakeholders. The key to enhance your reliability is to always follow through and close the loop with each of them. None of us like unfinished business! Do we?

Q. Your personal achievement as an HR professional?

My biggest achievement has been the immense learning that I have been garnering in my professional career spanning around 6 years.

As an HR professional, my penchant has been always towards Organizational Development, which led me to work on a live project on Organizational Restructuring, with focus on Job Analysis, with one of the Big 4 Consulting Firms soon after I completed my PGDM in HR. It was indeed an enriching learning experience towards the beginning of my professional career.

From the beginning of my career, I have been contributing to areas like Performance Assessment, Competency Development, Organizational Development, and Leadership Development in various organizations and I hope this journey of learning continues.

Q. How can an HR/L&D contribute strategically to the organization?

Over the last few decades, the role of HR function has gradually evolved from Personnel Management (that included recruitment, payroll & benefits, leave management, grievance handling, and exit management). In addition to the previous role, the present-day HR function focuses on strategic aspects such as Competency Management and Development, Performance Management, Leadership Development. For the HR and the organization to be strategically aligned, as the HR should have visibility to the various business models in the organization, it is also imperative that the line-management is made a part of decisions with respect to people strategies.When the people strategies are co-created along with the rest of the organization, the entire organization strives towards a bigger and greater purpose.

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

Approaching a situation from a learning mindset always helps. As HR professionals, we need to wear multiple lenses to analyse a situation. If we can withhold our judgment and explore the infinite learning possibilities, decisions can be taken in a more objective manner. Judgment can arise basis our perceptions.

Often our perceptions are colored by our pre-conceived notions, past experiences, present circumstances, expectations from the future, self-concept, values and belief systems, culture, faith, and other factors. But if we are able to rise above our perceptions and the resulting judgment, that can unfold innumerable learning avenues.I do not have any specific example as I practice it as a way of life, but the ones who are reading this right now will definitely be able to relate to it.

Q. Do you think experiential learning is more impactful? Give an example.

Experiential learning is definitely impactful due to its personalized approach. In fact, most of the learning organizations are using this approach due to its higher ROI compared to other traditional approaches. 

In this context, I would like to cite an experiential learning intervention from my present organization, where our senior leaders are taken through a journey for 4-5 months. This journey begins with a 2-day workshop, followed by action planning, action implementation, and impact assessment. During this journey, they have to essentially wear 3 hats of a Role Model, a Champion, and a Coach. As a Role Model, they lead by example by exhibiting certain positive behaviours. As a Champion, they spearhead certain people initiatives within their span of control. As a Coach, they coach someone from their sphere of influence for a specific outcome.

This intervention is enabling our leaders to become chief promoters of the organizational culture. That’s the power of experiential learning!

Q. How do you create a buy-in for training at workplace?

There is an array of factors that play key roles here:

a) There should be a clear “why” around the learning program. It has to be connected broadly to the organisational goals. While subject matter expertise is a pre-requisite in the design and delivery of a learning program, in certain scenarios the buy-in will be definitely more if the program is co-created with the organisation.

b) There should be clearly defined KPIs which will lead to measurable impact. Often we fall prey to metrics that are vague and difficult to measure later. Caution should be exercised while coming up with the metrics and the organisation should also be in alignment. Also, check-points at regular intervals have to be integrated in the learning program to track learning progress.

c) Seeking feedback on the existing learning programs can also help in creating a buy-in for the present and the future ones, provided the feedback is utilised to course-correct as necessary. 

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