How to design learning at work place which means designing a learning culture? This was the crux of the session by Sushil Baveja who talked about how culture should be created in a way that it enables business performance. We need to relate to a context. The context is VUCA world and apart from it is the STEP world which includes the changes that’s happening in the society, technology, environment, economy etc. so we are in a context marked by VUCA and STEP. If this is the context in which we operate then we need to look at the perspective that we need to deal with which should be a lot more contemporary and way different from the perspective that we have been following till date. Going further with the discussion, Baveja said, “Learning is not about learning itself, learning is finally at end of the day the value that it actually creates for the business and the end customer, and according to him end customer is the final customer who gives you bread and butter. This is the perspective keeping in mind we need to design the complete learning at our work places.
So in order to make an impact on the business and on the customer, the most paramount thing to understand is what are the business challenges and what are the trends that are actually impacting overall performance and the outcome of business. After understanding the trends with respect to the market, industry and customer, we need to consider the challenges associated such as:
Competitive advantage: This is one of the imperative factors in designing a learning module for any organization. The entire design has to be done keeping in mind how learning will influence the final business outcome. We should understand the sources of competitive advantages that exist in the organization we work. And the sources of competitive advantages in any organization could be innovation, service, branding, relationship etc. So we need to first find out the sources.
Core technical competencies: Once the sources have been tracked, we must understand the core technical competencies that we need to need to have in an organization that influences these sources of competitive advantages. These core technical competencies are the ones which are central to the business strategy of the organization which when leveraged and taken to world class level uplifts the organization. This is the kind of competitive edge one needs in order to have a positive outcome on the business. The core technical competencies vary from business to business, industry to industry. For e.g., for company like Toyota the core technical competencies will be automobile engineering, for Pharma company the core tech competencies will be molecular biochemistry so we need to see what are the core tech competencies which when taken to world class level will have a positive impact on the business.
Cultural capabilities: This is another element that needs to be considered that an organization needs to have because technical competencies along with cultural capabilities bear all the sources of competitive advantage. These cultural capabilities could be around fast innovation, proactive responsiveness, and collaborative customer focus. It is these cultural capabilities which need to be translated to specific behaviors which are understandable.
Once we understand that these are the behaviors we need to have at work place that corresponds to cultural capabilities, and in return can correspond to sources of competitive advantage and influence the business outcome, we can conclude that this is the Learning design that we need to have in our organization. Entire learning design needs to be built around the fact that these are behaviors that we need to work with thereby influencing business performance.
After having a clear picture of the important factors in designing learning we need to have Stakeholder engagement in the entire design and in the entire delivery of this particular learning solution. Stakeholder means people, leadership and customer because customer is the biggest Stakeholder for any company. The entire learning solution needs to be designed for the customers to make them happy and take services and products from us. Organizations today work closely with customer perspective in designing learning modules as they participate in delivering programs and in assessment. So this is the kind of Stakeholder engagement we need to have. So we need to include such stakeholder engagement in the design of learning solution which consequently will influence cultural capability, sources of competitive advantage ultimately influencing the outcome in the business. Another factor to keep in mind is that we need to ensure that we deliver programs and also measure the effectiveness keeping a note of how much impact we create in business.
To summarize, Baveja concluded by stating that this is a contemporary approach in designing behavior change which will help in fabricating a learning culture thus facilitating business performance.