Article: How can we make L&D a strategic lever for business

Learning & Development

How can we make L&D a strategic lever for business

At the L&D League Annual Conference 2016, experts talk about the importance of strategic alignment of learning modules for organizations to succeed.
How can we make L&D a strategic lever for business

The most important challenge for a leader in any organization is to get people with the right skills at the right job. But have we figured out any solution to minimize the risk of wrong hire? Well, in all probability, what matters is pushing for a strong culture in your organization which will ensure employees are all aligned with the company’s mission. We have a multigenerational workforce today. And according to Deloitte’s 5th Annual Survey, by 2020 about 64% of India’s population is going to be a mix of Gen Y and Gen Z. So how will an organization create value proposition to this workforce who are:

  • Low in emotional attachment
  • Love freedom, flexibility and hate micromanagement
  • High appetite for technology
  • Short attention span
  • Experiential premiums
  • Hyperactive on social platforms

The need of the hour is transformation. Building a next generation organization with people, process, and technology embedded in the culture of the organization. Design an approach which is people-centric. Integrate technology with latest applications and digital platforms, provide platforms for innovations which complimenting the multigenerational talent. The approach should also be core people focused and winning culture to be able to with-stand the VUCA world and also an organization should be able to have a succession plan ready with the right talent. And the challenge is how can we continue to have the same winning formula in this kind of workforce. The organizations need to own a structured culture – a clearly stated purpose and once the companies follow a sequence of this, then the organizations’ internal customers i.e the employees can also align with the vision/mission. However, the idea is also to have a flexibility approach in mind. While you can have a structured approach, 

Ajay Kaul, CEO at the Jubilant FoodWorks shared a point where he stated that all this can be done with a common goal in mind i.e. Aligning one and all. Learning and Development should be done with a common goal and the entire organization needs to share the same dream. And this is what he calls “Dil Se Baat.” It brings in accountability at all levels, belongingness at all levels and it’s the ambition of all the employees. A very interesting point that he mentioned was how Domino’s, part of the Jubilant FoodWorks devises its learning experiences for the top management. As part of ‘Bharat Bhraman’, the management team explores and studies the potential markets where they want to invest, deep dive in the unique culture of each of the micro-regions or the hinterland of India to understand the nuances of lifestyle. Their leaders have often travelled without ACs, watched numerous regional movies/serials and get themselves accustomed with the typical culture. This enabled their entry to the tier 2/3 cities and pushed out the corporate leaders to go out and ‘feel’ the market.

They view every restaurant as a profit centre and restaurant managers are given a ‘Mini CEO’ tag and they are empowered to take business decisions. 

However, there is an L&D capability gap in the entire world and there is a huge gap in the expectations that people have with regard to skillsets and people. So how do we change the mindset? Pre 2002, the challenges which rocked organizations were mostly with regard to the lack of performance management systems, immediate need of attaining operational excellence, managing the stakeholder experience. There was no process of training in place neither was there any concept of ‘learning’. So Praveer Sinha, CEO & MD at Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd spoke about measures they took to impact the development of their employees. They started small with the introduction of Performance Management Systems in 2004, then over the years in 2007 focus on technical skills development was introduced which aligned in alignment with their technology road map. In 2008, they put in place the education policy. In 2012, they redrafted their L&D policy with key focus on education, technical, tie-ups, reorientation of erstwhile employees. Here a very intriguing point that he mentioned was Tata Power has 5th generation workforce working with them. And now they have also tied-up with leading B-Schools throughout the world to ensure proper training and development. Among all of their trainings, special emphasis is made on women leaders’ development where they are mentored by senior leadership, self defence classes, and also with corporate grooming mechanism. 

The crux which emerged from the session was that if an organization puts emphasis on their learning and development modules and cares for employee development, the success rate is much higher, and when there is always a threat to existence because of newer/evolved organizations, they will have solid base of talent to fall back on rather than perishing for good. 

(This article is based on the learnings shared in a session “How can we make L&D a strategic lever for business” by Ajay Kaul, CEO of Jubilant FoodWorks, and Praveer Sinha, CEO & MD at Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd in the L&D League Annual Conference 2016.)

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Topics: Learning & Development, #LAndDLeague

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