How talent is Today’s Competitive Advantage?
Business houses which accommodate right Talent have a strong Competitive Advantage in the market. Businesses who have a strong Talented Workforce can confidently claim for better opportunities and more service orders.
As we can observe, market is very dynamic and we can see new technologies and new trends are emerging almost every fortnight. To run the business in these ever changing market conditions, businesses need to adopt new disruptive technologies to sustain further.
Businesses which have ingenious employees can get their projects done on time with expected quality. Being smart talent, they can be expected to give productivity from optimum to above optimum levels. In this scenario, it’s not enough for the employees to be talented, but they need to be abreast with the emerging market technologies. They need to put consistent efforts to up-skill themselves to meet up to the market needs.
Now, it becomes an essential purpose of investment for the organizations to keep their employees upskilled. This not only gives the competitive advantage, but also engages the workforce, which results in lowering down the attrition rate.
Strong competitive advantage, consistent upgradation of skills, optimum productivity with best possible quality and on time delivery of services / products obviously will result into the higher profitability of the organization.
Now that we have understood the importance of Learning in an organization to grow, let’s see the details of What to learn, which way we need to take up for learning and How to learn to move forward.
What are the different dimensions to consider while defining the learning?
As we have discussed above, every employee is an individual contributor for the overall productivity of an organization. Employees need to upgrade their skills according to the emerging technologies and market needs.
How to Identify the Training needs?
Preparing the employee skill matrix helps us to understand, what are all the different skills needed by the workforce of an organization and at which level each skill is needed.
Training Need Identification (TNI)
First of all, we need to chalk down the different skills that organizations need.
We need to consider the below listed three dimensions while preparing the skill matrix
- Industry related skills
- Job related skills
- Task related skills
Industry related skills: Depending on the industry, the required skills differ from one to the other. We have to research and understand the skillsets needed by that particular industry into which the organization is.
Job related skills: Every job role specifies certain tasks and projects to be handled by the employee. Depending on the job role, every position needs certain skills to deliver the expected outcomes.
Task related skills: Again when a process is divided into smaller bits and chunks and endorsed to different roles, each of the tasks need certain set of skills to get completed. These are the task related needs.
Identifying the skills that can be trained?
Now that, we have listed down different skills needed for the workforce, the next task is to identify the required level of skills and the existing level of skill possessed by the employees in the organization. This is nothing but Employee Skill Matrix preparation.
How to prepare Employee Skill Matrix?
For this Skill Matrix preparation, every role, it’s deliverables, needful skills and the required levels for the positions are to be understood clearly. While listing down the required skills, we need to remember that we have to take the skill level which is in demand for the role and instead of the person who is working in the role. This is the list of required skill.
Once the required skill levels are identified, then the exercise of measuring the existing skill levels of each employee is to be followed. By measuring which, we can understand how much gap is there between the required skill levels and existing skill levels. This is called Skill Gap identification.
By preparing this skill matrix and identifying this gap between Required and Existing skills, we can understand which skill gap needs an immediate attention and which can be postponed or which can be left for their self-learning by giving some time. This gives us a clarity on preparing the training calendar and make the proposed participants to attend.
This learning becomes effective only when the Learning objectives are specific and measurable / observable. Every training have an objective to achieve. The participants are supposed to acquire a knowledge or learn / master a skill or they may learn about a change in attitude or all the three or any two of these three.
Once the participant is identified and asked to undergo the training, we should be able to measure or observe how much his skill level got improved. This can be known by assessing and evaluating his skill level after attending the program. We can compare the evaluated skill level with the earlier existing skill level in the skill matrix. This gives a clear picture how the participant perceived the program and how well he could understand the concept of the training.
Once he completes the assessment and goes back to his work place, he / she needs to implement the learnt concepts in his daily duties. If he is able to implement effectively or not is to be observed by taking differed feedback. We also can assess the delta change by observing their performance levels before the training and after attending the training program. If we have observed a better performance which is nearer or equal to the expected level of performance, we can confirm that the training is effective.
These kind of effective trainings are to be conducted depending on the need of the employee and the market also which makes the organization a learning organization.
How to fix the Training Budgets?
While fixing up the Training Budgets, organizations need to understand the impact of Trainings on the performance levels of the employees. A HR professional needs to show the clear picture of the different Training and development aspects that were carried out earlier, and what was the outcome and how it added value to the overall productivity and profitability of the organization. This will make the decision makers understand the importance and can decide how much budgets they can allocate from the total budget for the year.
A general study of market shows us that companies can invest 2-2.5% of their total budgets for Training and Development activities in an organization which can improve the performance levels, help to retain the talent, engage the workforce which in-turn leads to better quality output every time.
How to calculate the Training ROI?
The overall impact on the performance of the individual as well as the organization level productivity, are the key factors which can give us an insight on the ROI how it got utilized. The efforts, time and money organization invested in learning, how it got manifested into the productivity is to be calculated. This decides what can be our future perspective of L&D in the organization. The trainings, as we already have discussed, it gives a competitive edge for the organization. And the clearly defined skill matrix gives a better understanding of knowledge management in the organization irrespective of the employees associated with those positions.
What different kinds of Trainings can we categorize?
Depending on the skill and the learning capability of the associate, we can take help of different kinds of learning methods to make them upskilled.
Once we have sorted out the skill on which the employee needs to get trained, if it is such a task which can be learnt by themselves, then they need to be encouraged for this Self-Learning mode. Self-learning is the best way one can learn by doing and experiencing which gives an effective impact on the performance. The things which are learnt by experience always stay for long and help the employee experience the difference by himself / herself.
A modern concept of learning where the knowledge is imparted in small snippets of videos or sessions. This enables the learner to gain the knowledge quick and effective. It’s a strategic division of the entire subject into smaller units which won’t last more than 1 or 2 minutes. The videos are featured with ‘to the point’ approach which makes it more crispy and clear. This consumes less time and more the effectiveness expected.
Online Learning through Videos:
The popular online learning method where some are interactive videos and some are pre-recorded videos. The total subject is divided into few learning units or lessons. Each topic is prepared with a pre-recorded video which can be accessed by the participant at their comfortable time and watch. These videos are prepared in several different ways which includes, a trainer based lecture, or any animated or ppt based videos or any voiceover based videos with explanations etc. At the end of each video, the participant can be asked to fill up a quiz to make it clear that the subject is well understood.
Moreover, organisations can think of this method of training for their employees where it’s a one time effort and investment.
Online Live Coaching:
Present generation choice of physical learning where, there is a hassle free learning without of much travel and other issues. The participant needs to have an arrangement of a laptop or desktop with internet connection and virtual platform to connect to the session.
These are typically Trainer lead interactive Learning Sessions, where there will be a very minute difference in physical classroom sessions and online live coaching sessions.
The Trainer and participants, both manages to have a quite space to sit and the training is delivered by the trainer with the help of some objectives and ppt based which helps the trainee understand the subject well with examples. And interaction is also possible, which helps them clear their doubts cleared then and there itself by initiating some discussions or raising any questions.
Today by the enablement of technology, there are several virtual platforms available to make these sessions more effective, only thing is to ensure the better quality internet. This is the most favourite kind of Training sessions that are gaining popularity these days, as they are enabling the participants to have a trust that they are having an expert trainer on the other end who can be accessed anytime to get their doubts resolved. And even they don’t have to move here and there to attend the sessions. This reduces the travel expenses and efforts. The only things they have to invest is their time and the course fee.
How to move Forward?
As it’s clear that organisations need to focus on Learning & Development aspects for growth, it’s time to check for the ‘way forward’ to implement the process….
1. Fix up the SMART Goals
2. Provide Requisite Tools & Learning Material
3. Have a periodic reviews of Learning
4. Give Feedback (Constructive Criticism)
5. Observe the patterns how the Learning are being translated into the job
6. Create a plan of rewards and reward the Progressive Performers
Download the document here: Why to invest on Learning