Article: Future-proofing your distributed workforce: How tech can help?

Learning & Development

Future-proofing your distributed workforce: How tech can help?

The advent of technology has been helpful in bridging the distances and communication has become easier. However, training and equipping the distributed workforce with the necessary skills has not been that simple.
Future-proofing your distributed workforce: How tech can help?

How to get a relationship manager in a bank branch in some cities in the interiors, have a better understanding of investment products? How to train a retail executive in a showroom in some other city to speak the language of the brand?

For large organizations with operations across regions and cities, connecting with the on-ground workforce from the headquarters is a difficult task. Sometimes they speak a different language, they rarely are able to meet and talk to the leaders sitting far in metros or headquarter cities. The advent of technology has sure helped a lot and has bridged the distances and brought everyone closer. While communication has become easier, training and equipping the distributed workforce with the necessary skills has not been that simple. 

To discuss the challenges in skilling the distributed workforce and to find out the role technology is playing in enabling the process for some organizations, People Matters and enParadigm hosted a half-day session. HR leaders from different companies in the BFSI sector came together and talked about the challenges of skilling a distributed workforce and shared some of their best practices in the space. Hanuman Kamma, CEO, enParadigm highlighted some challenges companies often face in skilling their distributed workforce and Jai Balan, Head HR, Bharti Axa Life Insurance shared his company’s journey in developing a learning culture for the distributed workforce. Shyamali Basu, Senior Vice President & Head - Products and Marketing at HDFC Mutual Fund also presented a case study on ‘enabling teams to drive business beyond Top 20: Opportunities and challenges’. 

Here are a few key takeaways from the session:

Complex learning solutions for complex products: Hinders learning

Frontline teams often lack the knowledge and experience to handle customer conversations as they deal with complex products, especially in the context of the banking industry. Traditional LMS Platforms and long-form PPTs and reference documents are not sufficient to equip the field staff with all the necessary knowledge and the skills that would be required. 

The products are already complex, hence complex learning solutions often add on to the learning gap. The innovations in technology and newer solutions revolutionizing the L&D space are helping talent leaders simplify learning processes. 

For Bharti AXA Life Insurance some of the things that helped them amplify learning included gamification of training via leaderboard where they displayed the learning status and gave points on assessment completion as well, process guides - Sellers handbook, Product presentations, News & updates and most recent an app which is now being launched in Hindi as well. 

Speaking of small guides, what worked for HDFC was ‘How to guides’ – HDFC Sales handbook and 2-minute videos on every complex product that helped the employees understand each product more effectively. 

Logistical challenges & Language barriers: Tech at the rescue

Training people across geographies has logistical as well as communication challenges, as people in these different regions and cities speak different languages and are spread across the country. Over the years companies have been using in-effective modes of training conference calls or presentations but now collaborative tools and personalized learning solutions are not only helping companies in delivering learning initiatives effectively but also enhancing the learning experience for all the employees. 

With mobile apps focused on learning, companies are now able to provide all the information to the front line staff available both online and offline. In fact, even an app like Whatsapp is today being utilized by companies to engage with their employees and provide them with information as and when required. 

Sharing content has now become easier, but curating content sure remains a challenge. Tech is only here to make the dissemination of information easier, how one curate and consumes is still tasks left for the humans - learners and learning leaders. 

While the current solutions have made some progress and have helped companies in improvising their learning solutions, however, the road to transforming and completely simplifying and personalizing the learning solutions is still too long. AI-driven solutions are the future that will help create real-time experiences and enhance the effectiveness of learning programs for staff. But when and how will they make an impact is still yet to be discovered? 

With skilling being the most critical agenda in the age of disruption, all the eyes shall now be on the technologies and solutions in the L&D space. 

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Topics: Learning & Development

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