While there is no dearth of learning portals and courses, the key question that often crops up in an organizational context is to do with utilization and impact. At Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE), an integrated engineering consulting service, we had a similar problem. The utilization rates of our learning portal were quite low when compared to the cost that we were incurring. The business context also forced us to re-look at our learning models in view of the global expansion of our business.
Our goal, therefore, was to identify a learning solution that delivered consistent, open access training to 3,000 employees disbursed throughout the world. We also had to take into account the fact that most of our employees were hard-pressed for time – with strict deliverables and timelines. It was becoming increasingly difficult to align a one or two-day exclusive training program. And so we partnered with Skillsoft in order to provide the best-in-class learning experience to our employees.
Mapping the learning strategy
The focus of the business is primarily in design engineering and supervising project management. The TCE team, therefore, also includes construction supervision jobs which require employees to work out of the construction sites. Hence, the need was to identify learning tools that would enable an ‘anytime, anywhere’ interface that caters to all types of employees. From a skills point of view, our focus was also on identifying courses on project management skills and soft skills.
In order to ensure customized learning, we mapped our competency structure with the course content with the help of Skillsoft. This meant creating clusters of employees and identifying the courses and skills that would be most relevant to that level. Employees were broadly divided into four groups: 1) Individual contributors 2) Team contributors 3) Managers and 4) Senior Management. For example, a training for a junior level employee might focus on skills for communicating with peers and managers, while the same communications training at the managerial level would focus on team management and stakeholder communication. Thus the entire approach became highly ‘need based’ and closely tied to the business objectives. And this very fact of ‘meeting business objectives while learning continuously’ became the greatest value proposition
Identifying a partner
What attracted us to Skillsoft was the variety of content. There were 90 baskets of learning content which were further divided into smaller modules. The modules were structured in a way that learners were able to finish the modules by spending a small amount of time. Apart from the content, there were other features that made the portal attractive, and this includes features like built-in assessments, mentoring, project management support and access to thousands of relevant books – all of which provided greater flexibility. There were 31 soft skills that were tackled through the learning program. It included skills ranging from problem-solving, communication, decision making, and emotional maturity.
Driving adoption and utilization
To promote a culture of learning and employee driven development, and in order to ensure that employees benefitted from the initiative, a communications campaign was launched called ‘Friday@5’. Friday@5 focuses on the time-strapped employee and connects a simple behavioral change technique with a powerful process to enable people to learn and reflect. The motto is to #LEARN&REFLECT.
This involved sending links to learners every Friday@5pm that comprised of short stories and blogs which took readers only 5-minutesof their time to read. These bytes were connected to other related learning material on the portal. The feedback from this exercise drew a great deal of engagement and utilization. TCE also stringently tracked the status completion every month and sent reminders to the learners. Through these engagement activities, TCE aspired to build a culture and habit of learning and it actually yielded some great results, for instance:
- Over 2000 employees of TCE are now registered users of Skillsoft
- Over 13000+ resources have been referred
- Over 16000+ resources completed in a year by 1100 users
- More than 31 skills were focused on in the different Learning programs
- 300+ unique resources were referred
- 1400+ users completed their Training Plan
- Employees expressed more confidence in their ability to do their job
Apart from utilization, TCE has measured the progress by inviting first-hand feedback from the learners and it has been great to hear success stories from the learners where the ramifications are not just limited to learner’s workspace but have extended to their personal lives. In the upcoming years, we would like to leverage the knowledge of analytics to measure the impact of this learning initiative on the business performance. For example: tracking employees’ attrition by comparing people who have taken the course vs. those who have not.