Article: Spaced, generative, social and engaging: The four pillars of learning at Accenture, shares Ambrish Rastogi

Learning & Development

Spaced, generative, social and engaging: The four pillars of learning at Accenture, shares Ambrish Rastogi

Accenture has been at the forefront of training and developing their employees to become future-ready. And that hasn’t changed in the Gen AI world. Ambrish Rastogi takes us through the firm’s learning promise and achieving gender-balanced workforce.
Spaced, generative, social and engaging: The four pillars of learning at Accenture, shares Ambrish Rastogi

While learning and development has been hailed by leaders as the function that will drive agility and improve engagement, productivity, retention and innovation within organisations in the new decade with the advent of Generative AI, there are still organisations struggling to curate the right L&D, reskilling and upskilling programs. 

Accenture has been one of the pioneers investing over $1.1 billion and 40 million hours in the training and development of its employees globally in the financial year 2022 and its Managing Director, Learning & Leadership Development, Ambrish Rastogi, who is set to be a panellist at People Matters L&D Conference, takes us through the learning promise at Accenture, that’s embedded into the flow of work. Other than that, he touches upon the firm’s endeavour towards personalising the learning experience in Gen AI-powered world, how D&I forms the core of everything at Accenture culminating into achieving a gender-balanced workforce by 2025, the way forward to leveraging AI and other technologies to supercharge upskilling and reskilling and what will define the L&D leaders in the next decade. 

Excerpts from the interview:

Technology is changing at an unprecedented rate and innovation is more important than ever. What are some of the things you are doing to help Accenture stay on top of these changes?

Technology is indeed changing at a rapid pace and new areas are emerging but the fundamentals remain the same. When we look at our client strategies, they all continue to lead to technology; reinvent every part of their enterprise using tech, data and AI to optimise operations and accelerate growth. Our learning is geared to help realise this in a seamless manner. We do so by following our learning promise of ‘learn to work’ and ‘work to learn’, which translates into embedding learning in the flow of work. While ‘work to learn’ is about learning through the work that we do, building new skills and leadership behaviours continuously, ‘learn to work’ is about preparing for the future of work where we build trust and connect beyond set spaces and places. 

This requires a different set of tools and mindsets. It needs a far greater collaboration with our project teams, which in turn, allows employees to personalise learning, meet their own aspirations and have a seamless experience while doing so. It also encourages them to leverage formal and informal channels, mentor networks, communities of practice, etc.  

Learning, hence, is not only contextual and relevant, but also ‘spaced’- easy to digest, ‘generative’- allows for reflection, ‘social’- encourages co-creation and ‘engaging’. 

Globally, in FY22, Accenture invested $1.1 billion and 40 million hours in the training and development of its employees to make them future-ready. How have you enabled personalised learning journeys? What’s the way forward to unlock people’s potential in a Gen AI-powered world?

Meeting aspirations of our people while meeting the business needs is a fundamental principle of our learning. And personalising the learning journey is a great enabler in realising it. It begins with recognising that a learner is an empowered individual and equipping them with the right tools and guidance to make the choices in terms of  content and medium. Guidance comes in the form of mentor networks, supervisors’ inputs, group exercises such as hackathons and multiple peer forums. Besides, a ready battery of assessments with nudges allows learners to set their own learning goals. Our systems, platform and governance are all geared to support learners personalise their learning and actualise their true potential.

Coming to Gen AI, we are truly excited about our early leadership position in this space. We see Gen AI helping further our endeavour of personalising the learning experience. It will help learners make more informed decisions about their learning and careers at Accenture. It is an exciting phase for us learning professionals to further leverage technology for learning while continuing to leverage learning to service technology. 

The organisation plans to achieve a gender-balanced workforce by 2025. What is your action plan in driving this? Any best practices you would like to share from an L&D lens? 

We've been ranked No.1 on Refinitiv Index of World’s Most Diverse and Inclusive Companies. Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) is at the core of everything we do. It pans every employee process that we have, and learning is no different. Learning programs across career levels and needs help drive it. We have learning interventions for early hires to experienced leaders, for specific situations including returning to work, making a career transition, life events, day-to-day needs, imbibing individual skills and honing leadership behaviours, among others. All these needs are supported by a diverse set of mediums; standardised group programs, personalised coaching, mentoring, networks formed for a given purpose, curated programs on specific needs and ongoing dialogue with each other and our leaders. And learning helps in ensuring that all employees are aware and supportive of this goal. 

As L&D leaders look towards upskilling and reskilling initiatives, how can AI and other technologies aid the workforce in keeping pace with the evolving skills demand? Additionally, how can it boost learner engagement and productivity?

Leveraging AI and other technologies can supercharge upskilling and reskilling efforts by enhancing learning experience; offering personalised content, recommending the best medium for a given skill/learning, providing real-time feedback and improving the learner’s engagement and productivity. Here are some examples which come to mind: Personalised Learning Paths, Adaptive Assessments, Virtual Learning Assistants, Predictive Analytics, Immersive Technologies, Gamification and Natural Language Processing (NLP).

At Accenture, leaders lead with excellence, confidence, and humility. What do you believe will define leaders in the new decade of work? 

I believe, all the attributes mentioned above are critical to the next decade and beyond. Zooming into learning, it will be an unquenchable thirst to personally learn and create an environment which values and encourages learning. 

Now, that you know the best practices at Accenture and how the firm is enabling personalised learning journeys, discover how AI-enabled learning platforms can be leveraged to create the roadmap to success with Ambrish and Asma Shaikh, at India’s most progressive learning and development conference, People Matters L&D Conference on October 13 at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai. Register now!




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Topics: Learning & Development, Skilling, Diversity, Technology, #PMLnDIN

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