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April 27, 2015

High Impact Learning

A massive assortment of learning solutions usually ends up making the learner feel frustrated due to choice paralysis! Organizations need to strategize to make learning pervasive.

The structure of our workforce is changing, with increasing heterogeneity in nationality, culture, skill and largely age. This, coupled with the expanding skill level needed in the evolving global economy, creates a compelling need to develop and transform the capacity of this workforce through innovative non-traditional learning relationships.

As an organization we have the mounting challenge of creating a learning architecture that can engage a diverse demographic workforce, have a global reach and cater to a multifarious skill gap development.

Currently, with an average employee age of 29 years and imminently expecting a majority of our workforce to be constituted by the Gen Y population, there is a clear need to transform our learning architecture. The goal is to make the learning relationship more democratic, making learning an individual's responsibility while providing a framework that facilitates greater integration of the varied learning solutions. This means our learning architecture had to help impact the business while also playing a significant role in the employee's growth as well.

As part of talent development, the goal was to create a cultural of learning and enable continuous engagement. One of the key challenges that shaped the new architecture was - Making learning a habit: majority of the workforce did not have a natural inclination to control their own learning. Also, a massive assortment of learning solutions usually ends up making the learner feel frustrated due to choice paralysis!

Thus, the strategy was to make all learnings in the organization pervasive. In Dan Pontefract's book Flat Army, he characterizes pervasive learning as continuous, collaborative and connected. While each of the training functions delivered independently, the constant need was to collaborate as our audience was one and learning had to be one continuous process instead of being trapped as multiple disconnected segments of the LMS (Learning Management System).

The final learning formula has the following components:

Meeting Organization/Industry Needs:

  • Foundation Skills: a formal learning residential program that forms the base of all future learning within the organization. This is amplified with simulation labs, tablets and online learning platforms.
  • Competency based programs: A robust learning ecosystem that identifies individual training needs through the appraisal system and links it to a learning offering on the Learning Management System.

Enabling Self-Directed Learning:

  • Cloud based learning platform: a cloud based learning platform to enhance scalability, create a collaborative learning community and to facilitate autonomous learning - making learning available at the speed of need. This is a self-guided learning platform that can be accessed anytime - anywhere providing talents an opportunity to learn at their own pace.
  • Anytime Learning Kiosks: Positioned across the work floors to enable autonomous learning round the clock on varied modules through audios, videos, games etc.

Creating Communities of Practice:

  • Language enhancement program in partnership with an International Language Training & Certification Body: augmenting learning with coaching, mentoring & giving feedback and thereby creating communities of practice embedded in the work space.
  • Mentorship programs: Building a self-sustaining ecosystem through selection & coaching of mentors within the business to facilitate ongoing and peer to peer learning.

Facilitating Learning Networks:

  • Manager Development Programs: integrating the academic and corporate space to enable learning through long term programs.
  • Social Networking (Intra-Org social groups): significant learning and innovation is generated in the informal arena and also gives us a pulse of the learning inclinations. We have learning blogs, online library, social forums and learning portals.

The learning architecture caters to the needs highlighted earlier- diverse demographic workforce (Anybody), global reach (Anywhere) and a multifarious skill gap development (Anything). The learning relationship stands on the principal of 3As - Anywhere, Anybody, Anything. The focus is to accelerate learning experiences to develop people capabilities.

One of the primary outcomes driven through this learning architecture was to create an embedded continuous learning relationship, while maximizing learning value with minimal investment. This brought in 3 major dimensions of impact:

  1. Organization: Creating a culture of learning
  2. Team: Impacting business through retention
  3. Individual: Enhancing individual capability

Apart from the customary effectiveness analysis on Kirkpatrick's 4-Level Training Evaluation model, the impact analysis of the learning formula devised is measured through the following modes:

  1. Creating a Learning Culture: The significant increase in the number of employees signing up for online/self-directed courses is an overwhelming indicator of the transformation in the learning culture of our organization. There has been 97% increase in the number of learning hours spent on online learning platforms compared to last year.
  2. Capability Development: CSAT and ESAT surveys provide substantial input on the performance improvement observed due to the learning solutions. This has shown a positive trend compared to last year.
  3. Talent Retention: This is a focal dimension for business as it results in an opportunity cost saving against replacement, consultant fees and salaries.

The entire learning formula propagates one core fundamental value and that is - "We Invest in People by investing in their capabilities". This integrated learning architecture helps us align to the changing landscape by embodying an agile learning culture. We believe that sustaining and improving Human Performance is key to improving the Organization's capabilities.

April 9, 2015

Enhancing Customer Experience: The digital movement

The last decade has seen dramatic changes in customer buying patterns and customer service requirements.

"Satisfied customer is a repeat customer and a business requisite for success" - this quote holds true and remains a fact for customer-driven organizations. Changing customer requirements have forced organization to adopt new organizational strategies focusing on providing better customer service thereby enhancing success of the business. Service plays a pivotal role in enabling organizations movement towards customer seamlessly. In the current situation where customers have easy access to technology and are taking to digital services, new challenges have emerged and there is a need to emulate customer expectations.

The last decade has seen dramatic changes in customer buying patterns and customer service requirements. New technology products, developments in social media, and changing customer requirements in the digital space, mandate that organizations adopt the online medium of sales and marketing at the earliest.

Change in customer expectations

Demanding customers and intense competition has brought about changes in the way organizations functions globally. Innovative transformation solutions and timely execution pave way for organizations existence in today's world. Time is of essence for both the customer and the organization selling products and services.  For instance, a delayed product release or promotional activity means a lost opportunity for the organization. In the current business scenario, customers expect:

  • Convenience - Ability to connect with businesses anywhere and at any time.
  • Easy and quick website navigation - Navigation within the customer portal made easy and convenient for customers to complete actions. Dedicated applications to reduce time and make transactions more user friendly.
  • Self-help and elimination of 3rd party dependencies - Availability of self-help guide and an effective customer advisor (virtual) to provide immediate solutions.
  • Quick information "on the go" - Ability to get information about products and services. Access to organizations through digital means to make quick decisions.
  • Safe and secure product and service processing - Hassle-free transactions and appropriate payment systems to enable online transactions. Payment systems should be meticulous to enable quick and safe payment processing.

5 steps organizations should take to get closer to the customer

  • Technology augmentation: Leverage an efficient content, campaign management and analytics tool to ensure quick, easy, and predictable information retrieval. This eliminates the need for multiple tools and ensures better integration between relevant tools. These tools provide an overall "one view" of processes and their effectiveness.
  • Business process simplification: On the one hand, organizations must centralize content for marketing needs, brand building, and promotional activities. While on the other, they must localize / segment content based on geographies/ regions to attract potential customers. Localization helps to bring organizations closer to customers and attract prospects.
  • Skill is the key to deliver value: Quality output is undisputable and hence resources are often re-skilled to provide quality work. Niche skills, required to provide appropriate information to customers must be ingrained in resources who understand both technical and business processes. Leveraging skilled/ experienced resources on tools and techniques would contribute incrementally to the value delivered to the end-customer and the business.
  • Doing more for less:  Reduction of cost is a priority for all organizations - they should constantly keep looking for opportunities to reduce costs and improve services. However, investments in technology, infrastructure, and people to reinforce the shift towards digital space are very high. Hence, identifying niche partners who could deliver quality output can help organizations reduce cost.
  • Business value driver: Changing customer requirements, frequent process changes, and radical shifts in technology enforces the need for all organizations to keep pace with times and deliver innovative solutions to customers.  The more convenient and simple the processes are for customers, the more beneficial it would be for organizations to build an environment conducive for customers.

The demand for digital services is growing exponentially that requires a very agile and dedicated customer support / management services to keep customers delighted. Developments in the technology industry have invariably increased the demand for digital services.  To stay on par with the competition, organizations need to focus actively on the services provided to customer.

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