At People Matters L&D Annual League Conference 2017, a panel discussion was held on the topic “Demonstrating the value of L&D Investments.” It was led by Ester Martinez, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief, People Matters, Rituraj Sar – Head, Learning and Development, Lupin Ltd., Siddhartha Gupta – Chief Revenue Officer, Mettl, Krishna Kumar - CEO, Simplilearn and Dr. Tanaya Mishra - Managing Director – HR, Accenture
The discussion started with Ester asking the audience – “Why is demonstrating the value of L&D investments a challenge? And why is it so critical?”
Mamata from a BPO Global Services Company noted that in the case of behavioral interventions, the challenge is in demonstrating tangible benefits in a short span of time. The key question posed was “Is the business patient enough?” Sachin from Capgemini said that while the performance of an individual depends on various factors, training and development might only be one aspect of it. In this context, how does one correlate success back to training and development? Especially when the individual is in fact successful?
Setting the context for the discussion, Krishna Kumar from Simplilearn said that today’s L&D professionals should not be asked about “ROI in L&D, but instead should be asked how they can change their organization’s learning culture – from being an event-based intervention to a continuous learning process?” So that extent, incremental improvements need to happen continuously and in a progressive manner. The aspect of adding value continuously was also highlighted by Rituraj Sar. L&D should not take credit for success; so long as it stays engaged with impact making initiatives, it should not be preoccupied with proving its relevance. Engagement of employees should not only involve business understanding and achieving business goals, but it should also involve understanding their aspirations.
Siddhartha said that while ROI in L&D is a buzzword for today’s times, every employee is being measured on a day-to-day basis. Understanding the core competencies and skills of employees and matching those to business needs is crucial. Dr. Tanaya said that we need to first understand the environment that we are in. L&D is very much part of the business and one has to continue this journey of keeping ourselves agile and learn, she stressed.
Here is an excerpt from the conversation:
What is the secret ingredient to create successful learning partnerships?
Krishna Kumar: Align the training and development goals of the business to each employee’s career aspirations. For example, instead of just providing training, if a certification is provided that is externally recognized, employees go after this option and they want to achieve this. There is a perceived value that the certification stays with the employee, even if they move to another organization. Instead of asking employees to attend a training program, provide them with options for training that they can choose. It has been seen that the adoption rates and success rates are very high. The key is that there should be a match between the organization’s goals and the employee’s goals.
Rituraj: How do you ensure that you understand what the business wants in their language is a key factor. Speaking to them in their language that is better than what they are doing themselves is important. Initiatives need to be implemented studying the requirements and the need for both the business and the employee. Changes need to happen fast and the impact should be seen now. For example, the Induction Program at Lupin Ltd. was slashed down to 6 days from 12 days with a greater impact. L&D needs to merge with business completely in all its efforts, rather than making it a battle between the management and them.
How do you measure the investment on L&D, especially in terms of volumes?
Siddhartha: Employees should feel comfortable while learning. There are companies that do not push employees to get trained and there are those companies that are very particular even about taking attendance during L&D programs. The truth lies somewhere in between these two extremes. Understanding the learning agility of employees, every job role, and the technical competencies, knowing what employees’ core skills and strengths are is very important.
How do you deal with attitude when the talent acquisition guys get you the wrong people?
Tanaya: Always hire for attitude and then train for skills. The magic lies in the word CEO – which is Content, Execution, and Outcome. You have to continuously keep on learning and be relevant.
What is it that you need to stop doing and start doing?
Krishna Kumar: Stop treat business and L&D as two separate things.
Rituraj: Have a continuous dialogue with business on their demands and stay away from business from they do not need L&D’s advice.
Siddhartha: Nudge the company to understand core competencies and stop apologizing to employees, this is the real world and we need to work together.
Tanaya: Believe in cross-functional expertise. Bring your experts together. Stop being apologetic.