Here is the long-awaited Part II of the interview – Critical Insights into Learning & Development with Abhipsa Mishra, L&T Infotech.
1. Learning assessments, defining ROI on training, a little blurred?
ROI on training is a little blurred. If after an 8-hour workshop, I don’t get a certificate and if the results are not immediately known, there appears to be no value in the training. The challenge is when there is no clarity. Secondly, learners (stakeholders) also get complacent and do not find the need for sharpening their skills. So there is an urgent need to figure out the programs that enhance skills and build a structure with concrete plans. A trainer might be convinced with DISC or MBTI-like certifications and be confident that they can assess a learner, but is the learner himself convinced enough about whether the assessment is crucial and relevant? We cannot ask everyone to go and take certifications. Self Awareness sessions which help build inner connections are critical for stakeholders in this fast-paced environment to evaluate themselves and understand their needs.
2. Contrary to the popular belief, engaging Millennials could be easier, technology helps
Managing and engaging in the age of millennials is not a challenge and in fact, engaging millennials could be easier because they are open to changes and embrace it. Motivation is a factor for all generations and according to Adult Learning Principles, you can’t tie a person to a chair for more than 40 seconds. So how we can constantly innovate and bring in new ideas to engage learners is important.
So we are doing what it takes to engage all generations. For example, in HDFC Life, they have their own Facebook-like platforms to communicate with each other and get instant feedback. As things are evolving, people are interested in only tweet-like messages and information. That happens only when you are open to new platforms. That is the reason there is LMS. People may be cynical and have different views about LMS. There are few things that cannot be taught on LMS. But to a certain extent, to know certain things about your company or to take up a test, it actually helps.
There are things like gamification, robotics and other variable technologies coming up. The introduction of robotics or the virtual learning system in the learning periphery is trending. MOOCS is another hot topic.
And not just technology, there are other concepts as well. Mythology is another concept, where drawing inferences from mythology to business, like from ancient mythology, from Puranas to business, from Panchatantra to business and such are in place.
Such things are brought in to make it interesting and include all generations.
3. Engagement can be inferred incorrectly
Why do we need to engage employees? If work is boring or the training is boring, we need to engage people. But if we can make work interesting, you will look forward to work every day. But why a Googler, for example, is not required to be engaged, but why someone else needs that. It is about liking what you are doing. It is about making what you are doing for others interesting.
Change is the answer to the question on next big thing in HR or L&D. There are companies investing and employing Robots and bringing in a huge change. Over a period, there could be massive layoffs. Because for a company, a one-time investment in a Robot would be equivalent to employing hundreds of people and training them. But no one knows if it will be a good sign or a bad sign. For all we know and already seen through the era of computers, replacing humans with Robots for routine work could bode well for us. There could be a lot of other jobs created as it happened when computers made its way.
5. Academic to Professional Excellence, a serious gap
There is definitely a wide gap prevalent. According to Harvard Business School’s findings, only 5% of the current generation are below the threshold of average students compared to 25% in the previous generations. But are all who are getting good grades from good Business Schools becoming CEOs or at least in good positions.
For example, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pick out good software developers to average ones. There are no good Finance professionals or HR professionals placed through the system, unlike marketing streams. The reason being, the present education system doesn’t train people on life skills.
Why a Business School won’t prepare people with the required life skills, but a company has to invest in such programs. Why can’t schools promote Earn with Learn models, rather such programs are ridiculed in the society? Not even the top-tiered schools have been able to. Students don’t seem eligible for even summer internship programs these days. Maybe the mindset is there, but because of the rigid system of exams and exams and exams throughout their study period, there is little room or scope to include such programs.
For example, at one of the campus drives, I questioned a student on what would you like to become. I was surprised at the answer. He said “I want to become the CEO of the organization. Another one said I want to see myself in your position within 5 years. The reason it took me by surprise was goals differ for each individual. If one wants to become the CEO of an organization, he would rather be working on it and contributing to making his dream come true than attending such interviews. How can someone else want to be in my position, because it is my own goal and growth path? They don’t even have the capacity to think through. Students seem to have no clue about what to expect. They have either absolute questions which demand a yes or no answer or rhetorical questions, which cannot be answered.
So there is a serious gap and that needs to be addressed.