Month: May 2017

Rise of the ‘learning & development’ renaissance

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Blog Image“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage” — Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO

People often use the terms ‘training’ and ‘learning and development’ interchangeably, but they mean different things. Training is a sub-set of learning and development. Training was a terminology used in yesteryears, we now use the term – ‘learning and development’. I had once asked a trainer during a training session, why you use, learning and development instead of training. The L&D Manager said to me – “Training is for dogs, you’re a manager, it’s learning and development for you.” That stuck to me! It registered that training is one dimensional, whereas learning and development is a multi-dimensional approach to human resource development. To break it down further – learning is a process of acquiring knowledge, development is a process of applying the knowledge and converting it into a skill, training is a process in which an attempt is made to impart the knowledge, having said that, they both are inextricably linked to each other. So we too have to make that transition in our minds.

Over the years L&D has redefined itself, recharged and emerged stronger than before. Companies are allocating higher budgets to L&D departments, more man hours are being assigned to them and across industries L&D is being taken seriously. We have even found ways to find out ROI (return on investment) of our training sessions.

Most organization adopt a top-down approach for L&D. L&D is no longer about shuffling people through formal training courses, but about providing the tools to access a variety of informal learning on their own. Workplaces are now using mobile videos, social discussion forums to even VR (Virtual Reality) to impart learning. Gone are the conventional instructor-led classrooms, instead we now read about new learning formats like talk shows and learning festivals.

As virtual reality devices are becoming more common and more affordable, the use of virtual training will expand, enhancing learning experiences in every industry in 2017. Also, YouTube is an incredible resource for many reasons, but when it comes to learning one stands out in particular: just-in-time learning (JIT). The platform is the perfect example of quick, easily accessible learning that’s available at all times.

2016 marked the shift toward mobile, device-friendly systems for delivering a growing majority of learning content. This will continue to expand in 2017. Mobile learning comes with the unique benefits of flexibility, portability, and accessibility.

We also have to bear in mind that learning is contextual. Employees want their training to look and feel like their day-to-day working, so they can see exactly how to apply new knowledge and skills situationally. This improves productivity, performance, sales – and therefore, your bottom line.
I had spoken of ROI earlier on. The focus is no longer on training completion rates, but on the measurable business impact of training. What’s your organizations training ROI? The general benefits of training are undisputed: greater productivity, improved customer retention, increased sales, higher employee engagement, etc. But are you measuring them?

To measure specific KPIs, identify them before creating your training program. Ensure the metrics are measurable. You could maybe incorporate a balance scorecard matrix. I have worked on a balance scorecard matrix and totally vouch for it. You need to integrate a testing function into the program, to see how your training is benefiting your operations and your employee’s morale.
So, gone are the days when we witnessed – When the going gets tough, it’s time to cut the training budget. Today L&D is an integral part of every organizations growth and imperative for its success. The world around us is causing your Learning and Development department to be more important than ever. So take it seriously!

Take note of the rise of the ‘learning & development’ renaissance.

The need of the hour – Training

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Sigmund Freud was laughed at when he presented his ideas to a scientific community in Europe. He got back to his desk and starting writing.

Henry Ford failed and went broke in business three times before he succeeded.

Michael Caine‘s headmaster once told him, “you will be a labourer all your life”.

Van Gogh only sold a single painting in his entire life, for 400 francs to a sister’s friend. However, he didn’t stop painting 800 other works of art.

J.K Rowling was broke, living in poverty for quite a while before she thought of Harry Potter while on a train from Manchester to London.

Abraham Lincoln lost in 8 elections and failed in 2 businesses. But that didn’t stop him from becoming the 16th President of the USA.

Charles Darwin‘s father told him that he was an ordinary boy and wouldn’t do anything substantial in life.

Sachin Tendulkar played cricket for twenty years until he won his first World Cup in 2011.

Chris Gardner was a homeless man, living on the streets, in the worst poverty has to offer, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a millionaire through his investment firm.

Michael Jordan didn’t make his school’s basketball team. He went home, closed his door and cried. But that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the greatest sporting icons of all time and definitely the greatest basketball player of all time.

There are hundreds of inspirational examples – who failed miserably and came back so strong that there was no stopping. They became an example for all. Every common man/woman looks up to them and has a strong desire to be like them. There are thousands of sites and newspaper articles,  which sing about their glory.

Sadly, there are not tens, not hundreds, not thousands but lakhs of people trying to make it big, like others. Many young/old are leaving their jobs to follow their passion or something they feel is right for them. They fail and get up again to get it right the next time. They fail again. And again. And again till they have nothing to fall back on. These failures happen for a reason, it’s about time to understand the same.

The reason for all the repetitive failures is – Lack of training.

I know of a person who is passionate about photography, but he feels taking training is useless. It’s his passion and he will succeed as many have done it. They failed a lot of times and got success at the end.

Another one left a job to make an application; he won’t even release it on a smaller platform because he feels someone will copy his idea. Now, neither does he have a job nor his application has been released anywhere. He strongly feels he needs no training to do such a thing; many have made apps and have become a millionaires.

There are a few exceptional people who are experts, for others to succeed – you need to become an expert. To be an expert, there is just one way – Training.

trainingRatan Tata took a trainee job on the shop floor in his own ancestral company. He was just training himself to reach to top and stay there without falling.

Narayan Murthy worked at IIM-A as chief systems programmer and Patni Computer Systems in Pune (Maharashtra), before he created Infosys.

Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulakar, M.S. Dhoni, P.V. Sindhu, Sania Mirza and all the players, who have reached the pinnacle of success, have done so not only because of their passion but also because of the intense practice which goes on every day.

It is rightly said – Training is the essence of transformation.

If it glitters, be alert!

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Once upon a time there were two friends – Anil and Sunil. They were travelling by train from their village to the city. They both were planning to do a lot of shopping in the city malls and were discussing this. The first thing they wanted to buy was a wrist watch.

A very well dressed young man with impeccable manners was also travelling along with them. He overheard their conversation and politely asked if they would be interested in buying a couple of watches – that he had. He showed them the watches and the watches were stunning and glittered marvelously. He informed that these watches were imported and the straps were made of pure gold.

Anil liked the watches so much that he immediately agreed to buy one. Sunil however cautioned Anil not to take a hasty decision since they did not know for sure if the watch was made of pure gold. But Anil just loved the watch and wanted to buy it right away.

He paid a huge sum of money and bought the watch. It was indeed a beautiful watch and was the best in the village. Well, just for a few days, the watch stopped ticking and when Anil took it to a watch repairer; he was told that the watch was not made of gold and that he had been cheated.

It was not difficult to guess that, isn’t it?

Now that we have read the above story, consider the following situations:
A house help agency has many house helps. The agency says that they have done the background verification for all the house helps. You like one of the house helps. Plus you are in dire need of one.

What do you do?

You hire one of them, right!

Somewhere in Bangalore….
The family hired the help and she was great. She charged only Rs. 12000/- for 24 hours. The agency wanted the entire salary to be paid to them and they would pay the girl and her family, which looked okay to the family. They were very happy. It seemed that they won a jackpot.

After a few months, the girl committed suicide.

02mayAfter a lot of investigation, the facts came to light. The girl was an orphan and was a beggar. She was picked by this agency. They never paid a penny to her! The whole feel was extremely glittery. The house help was great, she charged so less and (as informed by the agency) already had her background verification done; the agency knew the family (as they were paying her salary to them). It was all good to go.

Hence, more the glitter, the more careful you need to be!

There are not one but many cases of house-helps fraud backgrounds, many from Bangalore. It is a busy city with more and more couples working, leaving behind old parents and small children in the house to be taken care off.
Apart from what happened, there were many more possibilities – theft, kidnapping or worse. She was a stranger to the agency and to the family. If she wanted to do harm to the family, she could have done that. She could have vanished in thin air without any trace left behind. She had no family or no one rather. Having said that, what happened was also equally bad!

It’s time to be more careful and take background verification more seriously. It is better not to be penny wise and pound foolish.

Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for April 2017

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for April 2017.

We observed that 3.3% of the overall number of cases had discrepancies (could be major or minor).1

Next, let us look at the breakup of the discrepancies to identify further which types of components (checks) were the source of these discrepancies. These discrepancies were in education, address and employment checks, with employment verification accounting for 62.5% of the total discrepancies. Education verification accounted for 25% and address check accounted for 12.5% of the total discrepancies.
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