As business models evolve and change, as millennials make way into pivotal roles and technology alters the DNA of the workplace, L&D leaders need to redesign the learning narrative. How do we embrace the art of unlearning and re-learning continuously, the culture of failing fast and re-creating in order to deliver on this requirement? In a deep dive session at People Matters L&D Conference 2019, Manavi Baveja, Head of APAC People Development at Uber, talked about the next wave of learning, what’s powering it and what they follow at Uber.
“It took 40 years for a bedroom-sized binary code system of the 1930s to develop and evolve into a personalized computer that we use today. Move forward to the last seven years, Uber has upended the taxi industry in every city that it operates in today,” said Manavi. While we debate whether our Uber drivers are our contractors or employees, we are actually scratching the surface about how these changes are affecting the people dynamics in our organizations. And therein lies the frontier. This gap requires dynamic thinkers, people manager, and HR experts to accelerate, respond and fulfill this gap.
Talking about Google's latest leap in Quantum computing, she says, what Google's Sycamore processor can do in two hundred seconds, our best of the breed computing system will take 10 thousand years. This signals the kind of double exponential increase in our capability we are getting to achieve.
Citing about Uber Copter which will go live in Mumbai next year, Manavi says, the service will bring down ETA from two hours to five minutes. Even autonomous cars, which are going to completely revolutionize how a car will look like –maybe without a steering system, will do away with driving licenses anymore. Recently NASA launched an all-women crew into space for a spacewalk, she adds. So the rules of the game are changing in the fourth industrial revolution. The data is the new currency and the world is going to be boundary-less.
All these are happening right now. Latest McKinsey study shows that 100 percent of CTOs and CIOs believe that artificial intelligence is here and they need to adopt it. Coming to the people industry, we spend $399 billion as an industry offering to provide learning opportunities to our people. Only 12 percent of the people who are covered apply these new skills while only 25 percent believe that learning improves our performance. Interesting, a whopping 75 percent of people are dissatisfied and un-impacted with this learning.
Here are a few perspectives or rather mind shifts that we can embrace to adapt to change, suggests Manavi.
Fire extinguishers to kindling more fires
For far too long, we believed that learning professionals are supposed to give tools to quench the curiosity of our learners. This actually reflects the education system which is curriculum and model-based and that comes with extensive pre and post-assessments. “The mandate for us is to ready the learners and not the learning. At Uber, for instance, the most talked about subject is leadership development. And we believe leadership is about relationships, authenticity, and risk-taking. We take our learners out in an absolutely uncomfortable zone because think earning never happens in a “safe space,” Manavi adds.
Calendar learning to learning organically
People learn when they have to. Referring to American psychologist Edwin A. Locke's feedback and loop and its impact on behavior, Manavi says, employees learn very uniform topics of L&D, and they learn it at L&D schedules and calendars which may not be relevant with their jobs and roles. When you provide learning to learners you have to deliver it just in time when they need it –in the middle of the chaos. “At Uber, we have spent a lot of time in readying the top layer of our organization as our coaches. And we host them in a LinkedIn like platform,” Manavi adds. At the end of the day, you need wisdom that can help you solve a problem. We should use a user-centric design approach to understand our learners and figure out how to best coach them.
Uber believes in moving their talent around. “We move people with customer-facing roles to business roles through coaching,” she adds. “Don't take your learners out of their ecosystem, adds Manavi, Wing learning to them wherever they are.”
Express learning to brewed learning
We should move away from 2-day express learning because anything learned over two days is lost in six days, Manavi argues. With Spacing Effect of learning –which demonstrates if you periodically expose a learner to information, Manavi says, the relationship to retention is much higher. “If you use spacing effect in how you design a learning program, then your learners are going to retain 80 percent of what's learned for the next 60 days at least.
This explains the fact if we embed learning into our system and make sure that our ecosystem is echoing, then learning is going to stay with the learner.
Finally, charity begins at home. Go ahead and invest in yourselves. Find out new skills and learn “yourself”.