The concept of continuous learning has received significant interest during the last few years. As organizations around the world embrace the new way of working together, the learning and development (L&D) function across IT firms has become more important than ever.
Here are some L&D trends from the Indian IT industry that have emerged over the past year and are expected to influence how we work in the future.
Developing soft skills
Over the past few months, organizations have begun focusing on helping employees to develop their soft skills, such as communication, resourcefulness, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. Today, employers in the IT industry are helping their talent learn core soft skills such as time management, task prioritization, and mindfulness to help them perform better and achieve a better work-life balance. This trend was recently outlined in a study by Deloitte that suggests emotional intelligence and empathy were the top-rated human capabilities in focus during the last year.
Learner-centric training for today’s workforce
Traditionally, learning tools in an organization have been geared towards helping organizations fulfill their training goals and teaching employees how to do their job better. However, there has been a shift from this approach over the past decade with an increasing focus on the employee and their work experience. Industry leaders and experts believe an agile learning environment that centers around employees’ capabilities and experience can significantly affect the success or failure of a learning program.
New technologies, including AI-driven tools, virtual and augmented reality, and gamification, are being deployed by tech giants to create an experiential learning process for the new-age workforce. These tools help the worker apply knowledge and skills in the workplace, helping them obtain real-time feedback, and experiment in a safe environment for better problem-solving.
Comprehensive capability development
It is quite evident why organizations are increasingly investing in developing holistic employee capabilities rather than focusing on singular employee skills and competencies. Educational programs today help individuals understand the industry they operate in and the changes underway, focusing on comprehensive business know-how. This newfound focus on employee capability building is accompanied by shorter and more structured learning interventions, alongside providing opportunities for practical application.
Cultivating resilience and flexibility
If there’s anything that tech organizations have learned in 2020, it is that they must build a responsive and dynamic workforce that can adapt during unforeseen disruptions. As traditional work processes and rules evolved last year, organizations have doubled down to help their employees build resiliency and agility.
By experimenting with alternative forms of mentorship, co-learning, and multi-channel learning frameworks, organizations are working towards building collective resiliency in their workforce. Many employers are using data-driven tools and insights to pre-emptively identify learning needs within the organization.
ITBD: Training for a better tomorrow
IT By Design, famously known as ITBD in the Indian talent landscape, has spearheaded several progressive learning programs and policies that support its employees in finding the right career development opportunities. ITBD’s ever-evolving learning and development framework is based on the following pillars:
Mandatory business acumen training
The learning culture at ITBD is built on the foundation of growing together as a team and offering equal opportunities to new and existing employees alike. Towards this goal, all employees undertake mandatory training to understand the basics of technical and network tools used by its tech workforce. All engineers, once onboarded, learn about the company’s business model and industries ITBD operates in.
Core skill development at an individual pace
All employees at ITBD are trained to improve their communication, presentation skills, emotional intelligence, active listening, and other important soft skills. Their programs use a variety of interactive and instructional formats to help learners understand and apply the technologies and skills they learn. They are provided tools to keep track of their learning progress.
The master MSP incorporates multiple elements into its tech team’s onboarding. If role-play helps new employees absorb a concept, the company does that as well. ITBD also invites various leaders from across the company to participate—not only in the onboarding process but also in ongoing training and annual strategy sessions, encouraging a wider view of their business for the tech teams.
The company gives each new hire time and space to absorb the material and practice in their own way. This sometimes means slowing down the onboarding program, stretching it across a longer time to make sure that at least the biggest tech Bootcamp topics and talk tracks are not taught once, but repeated or recapped several times. To reinforce the training further, the company has follow-up materials ready including a video or audio recording of a talk track by a leader and a couple of live examples from the field.
Career development and leadership training
Career development programs are revised regularly to cross-train and upscale the knowledge of the human resource at IT By Design. Comprehensive leadership training modules help new and experienced leaders build the skills they need in their existing or new role(s). These leadership learning programs focus on crucial leadership skills such as strong people management, seamless project management, mentoring and coaching, leading effective team meetings, facilitating collaboration, and managing conflict in time.
Diversity sensitization training
Committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace, ITBD has a set of D&I sensitization and awareness programs that help employees learn about people from different backgrounds and cultures. These programs help employees contribute towards building a safe and inclusive workplace environment for every team member. Mandatory training on the prevention of sexual harassment also helps in building a mutually respected workplace culture across departments.
Educational reimbursement and individual career development plans
All employees who have been a part of the ITBD internal community for over one year can enhance their skills by pursuing technical certification programs, sponsored by the organization. So far, the policy has been used by almost all employees to upgrade their skills and take on new roles in the organization.
As rightly pointed out by the company CEO Sunny Kaila, “Along with our innovative employee training and leadership development programs, we have created personalized career development plans for every employee in our organization. This helps each ITBD community member to develop their skills and grow with us.”
Instead of only focusing on technical knowledge, today L&D programs are being redesigned to oversee the holistic development of the workforce. The entire learning experience is being adapted as per the needs, motivation, preferences, and challenges of the learner. This hyper-personalization of L&D programs is helping tech companies ensure effective learning and long-term retention. Along with required tech skills, crucial soft skills are becoming important to employers to help employees build resilience and agility in the new business dynamics.
To sum up, learning models and programs that meet the expectations of new-age businesses and a multi-faceted workforce are taking center stage in the L&D landscape. ITBD has put in place all these best practices as an industry leader to help its workforce prepare for the future.
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