Instilling a learning mindset: Siemens India’s disruptive approach
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In times of rapid change, learning agility is the leading predictor of organizational success. This means that there is a need for employees to constantly learn, unlearn & relearn new skills and develop newer perspectives to stay relevant.
As a part of Siemens’ India Vision 2020, the employee connect & their development was identified as one of the key focus areas. This meant a cultural change involving mindset shifts & better learning agility in our people. Every employee had to own their development.
Siemens India launched various initiatives and the learning team worked on a Learning Week (LW) which was launched in 7 major locations covering almost 80% of the organization. It was conceptualized to foster a learning culture to achieve the vision 2020, a first of its kind in Siemens history.
Pic 1.1- Learning Week @ Siemens- Make a difference for a better tomorrow
Pic 1.2 – An initiative to drive Learning Agility @ Siemens India, Jan-Aug 2016
This intervention offered world-class learning experiences to employees through innovative activities. It was one-of-a-kind HR initiative that shook up the entire organization and consequently established a huge momentum to drive noticeable change. The ‘Learning Week’ offered excellence, innovation & never-before-seen experiences to employees through high impact & innovative learning initiatives like: Learning Booth, Box Office, Gamified Grass-side chats, Teach back, Simulations, Flashmob, MOOC, Byte-size learning, Webinars, External & Internal facilitators, to name a few. In all, it led to a positive disruption in the way our employees learnt and also sensitized them to different forms of learning in a digital world. In our pursuit to build a learning culture, the success of ‘Learning Week’ gave a lot of confidence & further encouraged us to launch various forms of learning at the company.
As part of the learning culture transformation and to promote varied forms of digital learning, Siemens India launched ‘My Learning Power’ (MLP), with a prime focus on promoting self-paced learning.
The goal was to move topics that employees were expected to learn into e-learning. Our learning partner Skillsoft helped convert the classroom trainings that were as long as 16 hours into e-learning models. The advantage of working with a learning partner is the huge content base that is made available to you. Skillsoft’s content team helped identify the right trainings/e-learning that can be offered to employees.
Then learning paths were designed with select modules. The goal was to track whether the employee completed the learning and when they go beyond that specified modules, that’s when you know you’re on the right track.
Siemens partnered with Skillsoft on a number of innovative e-learning initiatives including: Thirty@3 – Learning, Share, & Reflect: This initiative involved self-learning for 30 minutes every day in helping them in completing the learning program in which they have enrolled themselves.
Pic: 1.3 My Learning Power: Toolkits for Modern Learner @ Siemens India
Communication and engagement
A strategic project management approach towards driving e-Learning at Siemens is the key to its success. Branding and communication has led to creating a big drive and has helped in spreading awareness. Usage of various internal platforms has further helped to create a big push. A few significant highlights are as follows:
- Various communication methods were deployed to get people to participate in learning programs. Workshop stalls were placed at business exhibitions so that people could experience the innovative methods, first hand. For example the box-office program was held in a small setup behind the stall to give people a live experience of how it feels to learn in that environment.
- Seminars by prominent industry leaders were held to emphasize the importance of learning and its advantages.
- For e-learning, creative & quirky mailers and e-booklets; giving an overview of the program were sent out to employees.
- Group learning sessions to make the employees realize the stimulation and knowledge one gets from being a part of such learning programs.
- In the ‘rent, a book’ program participants were given bookmarks during the soft launch. Participants loved this sweet gesture and reminded them of the joy that comes with reading physical books.
- Thirty@3 – Learning, Share, & Reflect: This initiative involved self-learning for 30 minutes every day
- Digital Learning Enthusiasts Day: This was one-day event wherein various activities such as group learning sessions and contests were held to celebrate learning and development.
Furthermore, the rewards and recognition helped to motivate the employees and reward the right behaviors. Last but not least, regular reporting and publishing dashboard helped in creating more awareness and updates to managers, business and HR.
This has all added to the Employee ownership in learning, the employees have also adapted the self learning style along with this. MLP helps in successfully equipping the employees for the ever-changing business environment.
Scaling-up the learning programs
The partnership with Skillsoft as our learning partner helped us to put the designs in place to support self-learning at scale. After the learning week, the number of employees enrolled for learning program tripled in 3 years. With learning programs getting digitized, the approach is shifting from a classroom session to a more self-driven method. Having the right learning partner enables the need identification process and also the demand identification, which is difficult to do using physical resources.
Pic.1.4 - Application of Learning holds the key to Success
Measuring the Impact
From a strategic standpoint, we observed that improved learning agility across the organization has brought in significant awareness about learning and development offerings; leading to an immediate spike in addressing the learning needs by 3 times in the last three years.
Siemens India CEO says, “This initiative has had an impact on business and led to an improved NPS (Net Promoter Score) top line and bottom line”.
MLP has been acknowledged as a first step in the right direction in fostering a learning organization, thereby increasing learning agility to stay competitive. This initiative is intended to ensure that Siemens remains a learning organization and a living company.
The initiatives driving the learning transformation were sponsored by Mr. Ramesh Shankar, Executive Vice President & Head of HR, South Asia, Siemens India
- As told by Ravi Hemnani to Jerry Moses and Sharon Lobo