We live in a world of constant change. The rules to survive in this hyper-competitive and dynamic business environment are very different from a conventional set-up ten years ago. Some instances: Companies need employees to fare better on both the Intelligent and Emotional Quotients. Freshers quickly rise to become people managers and are expected to lead teams. Rapid expansion has companies enter new geographies and sales teams are expected to close deals from day one itself. A single unhappy customer can hurt a company as it takes little time to switch loyalties.
Not surprisingly, companies now concentrate on improving productivity, efficiency and enhancing the quality of product/service instead of focusing on cost reduction. As a result, the concept and perception about corporate training has changed dramatically. Corporate training is no longer a HR prerogative nor is it a mere support function. Today, CXOs take active decisions about training since corporates use training as a strategic tool to achieve scale and sustainable transformation.
Here’s an example case of how in-depth training can impact business. A leading car manufacturer planned to launch a new car and retain market leadership. The Business Head saw the need for a suitable training intervention to ensure a smooth launch and maintain consistent sales growth. A training company was engaged, which worked with the business team to design a structured learning program for sales and customer service. The focus was on critical aspects such as product and customer handling skills, sales delivery process and excellence in customer satisfaction. Knowledge sessions on car financing and induction programs for different segments were also conducted.
Participants in the program included pan-India dealer sales executives and customer care managers. The training methodology was a mix of instructor-led training and blended learning. The result: A standardized world-class launch across the country in record time.
In order to optimize training, companies can:
· Make training modules relevant and contemporary
· Look beyond classroom training to keep it flexible
· Design crisp and concise content
· Use appropriate technology and terminology
· Design and implement collaborative and experiential approaches
· Monitor implementation at workplace
· Homogenize content and achieve scale
As large organizations reduce campus hiring to avoid paying exorbitant salaries, they are faced with resource crunch. They look at efficient utilization of existing manpower through lateral moves, in-house training, internal job postings, etc. They hunt for the right training solutions to bridge the skills gap. Unfortunately, internal training does not always yield the desired results. Reasons could include lack of standardization, ineffective delivery and ad-hoc one-time training practices. A common challenge faced by Learning and Development professionals across different sectors is the practice of training itself. Companies understand these challenges and are increasingly outsourcing training activities. They realize that a result-oriented and focused approach along with training/learning efficacy is best left to experts, who bring a broader perspective and multi-industry experience.
It is imperative to understand that the one-size-fits-all approach will not work; a leadership training program for newly-promoted team leaders is different from a vision-setting workshop for senior leaders. The experience and competence of training personnel becomes critical in such scenarios. Besides this, the partnership will be different from a typical outsourcing arrangement as it requires a deeper level of engagement. For a program to be successful, the training company needs to completely understand nuances of the process that it intends to impact.
Optimally, a program will follow these steps: Deep dive to identify the exact training needs of the target group; Continuous, in-depth engagement with all stakeholders to create and implement a consolidated end-to-end learning solution; Implement metrics periodically to ensure that the program is correctly aligned to requirements.
The learner must enjoy and participate enthusiastically if the training program is to have long-term, sustainable impact. Classroom training and Jurassic methodologies should give way to innovative methods of training delivery that leverages technology to provide flexibility. Finally, as a ‘Guru’, the trainer has to always be accessible. Constant support, regular coaching, reinforcement and being available even after completion of the course are the elements that build trust. It will ensure that the ‘learning’stays long after the course is over.
Disclaimer: This is a contributed post. The statements, opinions and data contained are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of People Matters and the editor(s).