Article: Make the employees not HR responsible for learning

Learning & Development

Make the employees not HR responsible for learning

Mohan Sitharam, Chief People Officer at Subex Ltd., on championing the agile model of decentralized learning
Make the employees not HR responsible for learning

Providing help as and when employees need it is the most appropriate way of building a learning organization today


A sustainable learning culture can only be built when the onus of learning is shifted from the organization on to employees. The responsibility of the HR is to create an ecosystem that facilitates this learning instead of trying to organize more trainings for the employees. 

At Subex, we provide Business and Operation Support Systems (B/OSS) to Communication Service Providers (CSPs) globally. As a product company, we always have a roadmap for products or new versions of products needed by a specific date in the pipeline. Thus, instead of organizing training program calendars, we have shifted to an agile model, which is driven by the pull factor. When our engineering teams feel that they do not have all the requisite skills to deliver the product or a version they are responsible for developing, they decide what learning is needed to fill the gap and enable it too. We have created a technical training team that includes a group of trainers who are experts in the business. When teams gets stuck at work, the trainer attached to that particular team is available to build that skill, walk them through the problem on the spot and enable them to move forward.We strongly feel that this kinesthetic form of learning is the more effective than getting people in a classroom, training them on something and asking them to implement it.

This evolution has happened because of the change in expectation and learning style of the generation at work today. If the millennial workers are stuck on a problem today, it makes no sense to them to have a training session planned for that problem two months later. Providing help as and when employees need it is the most appropriate way of building a learning organization today. Technology has helped us think differently. Self paced e-learning is highly relevant today because it is decentralized – available any time, any place and according to the need of the learner. The times are changing; we have got to be dynamic and keep things agile when the target is a moving one.

Today we have to do things differently and do different things. For training leaders, we now tap into unusual resources by inviting people from different walks of life – from the dabbawalahs in Mumbai to the CEO of a media company or an astronaut– to share their insights with us. I take my leaders to hospitals, to NGOs and to meet theatre artists, which they love doing. I think leadership is a behavioral change and that is unlikely to happen just by putting people in a training room with conventional modules. 

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Topics: Learning & Development

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