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BW Businessworld

The Focus of Today’s Learning Should Be Making The Organisation Anti Fragile And Future Ready

HR and L&D experts came together to share their thoughts on digitization of learning and the rising need for up-skilling across industries. This pandemic has highlighted the relevance of learning and development function in an organization.

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The organisations are aware and also recognising the importance of timely learnings in today’s highly uncertain world. The recent technological disruption made each one of us realise the changing demands for new skills, learnings, talent, and much more. To stay relevant and updated; organisations have lately realized the need and importance of new-age learning and training interventions for employees to sustain in this totally volatile world.
BW People, in association with BW Businessworld had organised a day-long conference, with the name of HR Learning and Development Excellence Summit 2020. This panel consists of HR leaders; Ashish Anand, CHRO, SAR Group of Companies; Tanvi Chowksi, Head-HR India, JLL Business Services; Manish Sharma, Director-HR, PWC; and Amit Das, Director HR & CHRO, Bennett Coleman and the session was chaired by Hoshie Ghaswalla, CEO, BW Engage.

Witnessing the Accelerated Digital Transition 

Work from home is nothing new and it has existed for decades especially in the IT sector but this covid pandemic has transformed the way we think about work deliverables and it has accelerated the process in a new sense. While discussing the disruption has impacted the L&D as a function; Amit Das while sharing his point of view said, “I think this shift has been the blessing in disguise for L&D function since it has accelerated the adoption of online and virtual learning which has always been a challenge in Pre-Covid era.”

In the right sense, it is nothing but the availability of the right technology which has made this transition seamless and that gradually resulted in enhancing both the experience and effectiveness of learning and development. Learning needs to be deeply integrated with an organization’s strategy and core talent processes, such as performance management to keep up with the needs of their businesses.

Adapting To The Transformation swiftly

Earlier, the question was- Can we do it in person, and now the question is- Do we need it to do it in person? 

The transition from conventional to the virtual environment and maintaining the continuity in such extreme forceful conditions was a humungous task for everyone. Manish Sharma while sharing his insights and observations said, “The key challenge was adoption. It is always behavioral because we have been habitual to be close to our clients and the format of our training was very similar to that. People were not really keen on adopting the online models in place of training we were conducting in an offline format in pre covid times.”

As HR leaders discussed the changing landscape of learning and development; all the panelists have agreed on the fact that in the initial phase of this disruption the challenge was to build a connection with our employees in a virtual environment. The L&D leaders have to totally reorient the training model in a very different way. 

Sharing some data points and real experience; Tanvi Chowksi shared and explained, “We always have a challenge of having a much-dispersed kind of workforce. Our 89% of our employees out of 1200 employees working across India work in clients’ offices. Reaching their L&D tables individually and equip them through virtual mediums in the Covid era was itself a challenge.” While praising the efforts of the L&D team she said, “Our L&D teams have acted really quickly in a first few months.”

Building Future-Ready Organisations

The HR experts across the industries assert that Rather than being just the company equipped with the high- end technologies or artificial intelligence but now the current need is that the L&D leaders must accept the transformation; adapt to the changes and act swiftly in a forward-thinking manner.

Ashish Anand being really optimistic and was sharing his outlook for the future of work and said, “The transition from physical to the virtual environment was massive but it was really certain in my mind that it is a temporary phenomenon and it got a little heightened with the outbreak of emotions. Life would never be 100% virtual and we would progress in a hybrid world.”

In a physical setting of training, we can see the emotions and consumption pattern and this is what is missing in a virtual setting. Ashish Anand added to it and said, “There is a brighter side to it that your ability to reach and influence people through the screen is much larger in the virtual environment.”

The most critical shift that we all witnessed is a mindset shift. Specifically, in the L&D sphere, the style and means of consuming knowledge have of course changed and the impact will be evident in a few upcoming years.