Atul Joshi, Vice President – HR & admin at Mahindra Finance is responsible for developing the HR strategy roadmap for the company. The industry veteran has shared his learnings in this time of crisis. In this interaction, he shares how the crisis has changed the entire learning process and how Mahindra Finance is planning to bounce back from a crisis.
What are the new workplace learning paradigms that COVID-19 has pushed into the spotlight?
Covid-19 suddenly changed the way we work and how we do business. A large section of the workforce started working remotely. The new way of working accelerated Digital adoption. WFH resulted in long hours spent working, thus blurring the boundaries between separate time for learning and working. Learning became integrated with work. Need for safety and Social Distancing guidelines prohibited Instructor-Led Classroom training leading to Video-based learning session. New demands for L&D cropped up, in order to address questions like How to facilitate a program in remote working? How to manage a team while working remotely?
How has the pandemic highlighted the need to invest in L&D?
The pandemic has significantly impacted the overall budgets of most organizations for the financial year FY20-21 forcing them to judiciously look at investments in L&D. So, in the short term the focus is on prioritizing the L&D investments for better returns i.e. business impact. On the other hand, the pandemic has also encouraged organizations to further accelerate organizational capability building initiatives, in order to be more agile and Future Ready.
How will the way we learn and deliver learning initiatives in an organizational context change?
A hybrid model of Work from Home and Work from Office is likely to be the new normal. Instructor-Led Training (ILT) with a physical interface is not feasible at least for the next few months. There is likely to be faster adoption of Digital learning. Learning would have to be integrated with work. However, there are a plethora of learning opportunities available which could lead to confusion in the mind of a learner. Curated and customized learning solutions are the need of the hour, to ensure that Learning is specific, focused, and relevant.
Have you revamped your L&D strategy? Or are you looking to? What are the key learning priorities for your organization as you prepare to bounce back from a crisis?
At Mahindra Finance, we have tweaked the approach to L&D in line with the business scenario. Our focus in the short term (next 6 months) is on building capabilities for improving business performance. From a long-term perspective, our focus continues to be on Leadership development and making the organization resilient and Future Ready. There is a big focus on digital adoption and making digital a way of life while striking the right balance between the digital and physical approach to business.
How is the role of L&D professionals changing?
As mentioned earlier, people are looking for specific inputs on what to learn? How to learn? And Resources to learn. Designing and developing generic skill-building programs for functional skills as well as soft skills is no longer sufficient. The Business is expecting the L&D professional to add more value by understanding the business context, challenges, and then curating specific and customized learning content. With more and more Digital adoption, the administrative part of the L&D role has reduced. The speed of building new skills is taking prominence. L&D professionals need to be completely clued into current business requirements and are expected to also think ahead of the curve and envisage learning requirements to enable Future Readiness. There will be a need for higher accountability for the investments made in L&D in order to show business impact.
As talent leaders, reimagine workplace learning, what are some of the non-negotiables?
What is non-negotiable in the short term is building capabilities for business performance and from a long-term perspective, there is no choice but to invest in future capabilities like Digital.
The pandemic has brought learning & development to the forefront and has opened a plethora of new-age learning opportunities, not only for the employees but also for the organizations. How do you see the larger picture of L&D and skilling initiatives across organizations and how the employee L&D strategies have evolved in the last few months?
The Future is uncertain and it is imperative for the organization to be agile. This demands ensuring fungibility of talent, speed of learning, and delivery. The Future is digital. Most of the repetitive jobs would get automated. Men and machines working together will be a new reality. As such, there is a need to focus on building human skills like creativity, critical thinking, judgment, empathy which are likely to be in demand as more and more processes get digitized.
Know more about the latest trends in the learning & development landscape at the People Matters L&D Conference 2020 coming to your screens from 21st-22nd October. Click here to register.