Part 1 of Series 5
This special feature contains People Matters L&D League Annual Conference 2017 Award Winners — organizations with the best learning practices and ground-breaking approaches towards solving learning challenges; and also features People Matters and BITS Pilani research, “Learning & Development Trends Study – 2017” that investigates the changes in the priorities, drivers and the strategic role of the L&D function while examining the top areas of skill gaps that need to be bridged in the next 12-18 months.
The People Matters L&D League Annual Conference gave a platform to organizations with the best practices in learning and development to showcase how L&D is creating an impact to their respective businesses across five categories. The organizations that bagged the top honors were:
- Best in Re-defining technology in learning: Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd.
- Best in Culture transformation: Alkem Laboratories
- Best in L&D reengineering: Jindal Steel & Power Ltd.
- Best in On-boarding Solution: Concentrix Daksh Services India Pvt. Ltd.
- Best in Accelerating Leadership Development: Infosys BPO
Best in Redefining Technology in Learning: Bajaj Allianz
As a large private player in the general insurance industry with an ever increasing Salesforce in the remotest corners of the country, building sales & technical capability brings its own set of unique challenges. Bajaj Allianz General Insurance recognized that improving sales proficiency would be one of the key levers to growth. However, identifying the challenge was the first step to a long and exciting journey, as an innovative and creative solution was needed.
The two core challenges faced by the organization were to have uniform product knowledge across geographies and increasing conversion rates of potential business to actual business in the retail lines by employing effective selling skills. Upgrading technical and sales skills would not only mean increased business growth but also gaining a competitive edge in the market. The need of the hour was a robust sales force that was updated with new and comprehensive product information to facilitate sales with minimal time lag, and a cost-effective engaging learning platform to ensure quick on-boarding, effective and uniform learning.
To effectively handle such organizational challenges, Bajaj devised a first-of-its-kind gamified Insurance Sales Simulation, “Wolf of Park Street” that combines learning, engagement, social and gaming mechanics. The simulation allows sales executives to experience and tackle challenges faced on the field, and is designed keeping in mind the organization’s strategy of strengthening the core business contribution through enhancing technical proficiency and improving selling skills.
The game is designed as a narrative — a great story with an unforgettable legend, a difficult mission, and a glorious final prize. The narrative also gives an insight into the adventures that await the learners and enabled them to shape their own careers to become the next sales heroes in Insurance. The mission design, wherein employees advanced by selling and cross-selling the various retail products complimented the information about the products, which was given in simple, lucid info-graphics, a quizzing engine and well-illustrated imagery. Players take decisions on which they receive an instant sales guru feedback specific to that decision to check where they might be going wrong. Every wise decision and successful sale means rewards for the players and peer-performance could also be viewed to fuel competition.
The analytics engine of the game captures data, giving insights on engagement, performance, product proficiency, and also developing future learning interventions. The game is designed in close collaboration with business to make sure that the complexity and believability quotient of the game and its content sticks high with the players.
Good sales figures are a combination of multiple variables working in harmony with each other, of which sales capability is an essential one. The game’s analytics highlighted growth in this capability. A look at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ numbers highlighted the impact of the intervention. While the company grew by 29 percent in the first fiscal quarter of 2017 as compared to 2016, the number of policies sold was up by 34 percent in retail line of businesses – the key focus of the game. The average score of the employees on the first and fourth attempt grew by 42 percent, indicating increase in product proficiency. Top engaged employees who did well on the game showed improvement in their sales numbers and incentives earned. They echoed the sentiment in their testimonials, that the game has helped them a great deal to achieve this positive shift.
Furthermore, there now exists a single repository of product information on an easy-to-use platform accessible anytime, anywhere. The knowledge and information disseminated via the game is rich, relevant and important, and is readily used in sales tool kit, product brochures, performance aids etc. The spirit of competition keeps employees engaged, and the game reaches out to a much larger willing-to-learn audience, as compared to the previous smaller, forced-to-attend classroom training audiences.
It comes as no surprise that that the game has become the default learning solution for both sales proficiency and technical knowledge in the organization, in just a few months. When the game evolves from its first mission, the plan ahead is to make it more inclusive, and expand it to the extended sales forces – the intermediaries.