Every employee is expected to follow a code of conduct and ensure ethical business practices. July is celebrated as the “Ethics Month” in the Tata Group and companies in the group focus on engaging and educating employees about the Tata Code of Conduct.
Research has proven that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. This premise gave birth to the “21 Day Ethics Challenge”- an e-learning experience. At Tata Chemicals, the focus was to experiment with online courses and incorporate new-age methodologies in its ethics-advocacy, while in the previous years the focus was on classroom training.
The program design
To design an engaging learning-intervention, the L&D team curated content modules around ethics and unconscious bias with a goal to reinforce the Tata Code of Conduct. Learning modules were varied, brief and relatable. We used business challenges, courses, skill-briefs, videos, etc. The company’s focus on the learning curve included a focus on personal effectiveness, managing relationships, leadership fundamentals and functional excellence, all of which were incorporated in the module-design.
The competition was designed such that employees could compete in all the 21 challenges and winners were declared at the end of 21 days! Planning for the program was centered on branding and communication, how to arrive at and announce the winner, and how to keep the momentum going for entire 21 days.
Communication and Engagement
Since learning was primarily based on offline classes, e-learning was a fundamental shift, one that people would take time to absorb. One of the early focus areas was making people join the online course. While initially there was high traffic, in the next few days the traffic had begun to dwindle. So, the key question was how do we keep the traffic and campaign’s attraction and interest throughout the 21 days?
We used employee testimonials for our messaging. This helped in keeping the momentum going. Another selling point was curating quick and easy courses, most of which took hardly 10-20 minutes for the employee to complete- a maximum investment of 30-minutes a day.
The communication campaign talked about how employees would benefit with this new program, and technology was used to send out periodic updates. Offline engagement in the form of live interactions with participants was used to gather insights on how the program was affecting them. These data points were then used to better orient employees to new and engaging content.
The 21-Day Challenge found a positive response with participants ranging across business units and demographics. It delivered learning in peoples’ hands, made employees realize that they had a platform they could go to, without restrictions and approvals, and simply learn. This sense of freedom, and feeling of not being dependent on anybody and being entirely responsible for one’s own learning and career progress created excitement.
The content on Skillsoft coupled with bite-sized learning modules was appealing to employees. And the challenge format helped employees compete with each other in a positive way, and it brought out their learning zest, creating positive change.
Measurement and Tracking
Some of the key metrics tracked were the total number of people completing the whole 21 days, total learning hours, and how many people accepted the course.
- A total of 120 employees logged into the Skillsoft platform and accessed at least one out of the 21 courses relating to the campaign.
- The initiative helped create the highest number of hours clocked in a month.
- 10% of employees who participated in the campaign completed all the 21 modules.
In addition to the metrics, employees came forth with excellent feedback. It was the beginning of a behavioral shift, with the potential to build a self-learning organization. The 21-day challenge helped reinforce this amongst different stakeholders, both within the company and the business chain. The exercise encouraged stakeholders to bring forth their ethics-dilemmas, in an open and trusting environment, so that they could be resolved. Positive solutioning on a foundation of learning and education thus formed the crux of the 21-day Challenge.
The Way Ahead
The aim is to make the format available globally for TATA’s significant international presence across North America, Kenya, Europe etc. Since e-learning content is also available on mobile, it is the most preferred option for employee-driven learning. Recently, we have launched the Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption (ABAC) module in India and Kenya and Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) module on the SkillSoft Platform.
The next step for Tata Chemicals is to continue building on the blended-learning approach. We are looking at ways to pair e-learning in a complementing design that matches with classroom training, either as a pre-training or post training exercise. This will spark the learning pull for the employee.
As told to Jerry Moses and Rhucha Kulkarni