Sunday, November 30, 2014

Can we combat attrition

When we wander in the humongous land of Google, we come across numerous definitions and meanings of the word attrition. Amusingly it is extensively used in the fields of warfare, medicine, geology, language etc. The one apt to our context is that the attrition is the measure of number of employees moving out of an organization during a specific period of time. A classic example would be the case of Wipro, one of the top IT companies in India. In 2014 Wipro witnessed an attrition level of 17% and employees with 5-6 years of work experience recorded the highest in this category. So, how did Wipro combat this situation?
Well, like the famous quotation “solution lies within the problem”. The crux of this solution was with the employees itself. Thus, came the “NOTCH UP” one of the biggest employee retention initiatives.
Most of the employees are opting for higher studies after acquiring 5-6 years of work experience. To minimize this trend Wipro is now offering employees with more than 2 years of experience in the company a chance to pursue higher studies at Pune based Symbiosis, Pilani's Birla Institute of Technology and Science or VIT University in Vellore. It has also partnered with ICFA to offer two year professional accounting programme. The organization is anticipating positive results in retaining the talent. The fee structure has been worked out between the colleges and Wipro. The fee would be reimbursed to students depending on their scores.
Some popular reasons for high attrition levels are better opportunities in the industry, poor job prospectus, lack of acknowledgement, poor working conditions, autocratic management, less challenging work etc.
Another example is the case of Infosys. Infosys has seen an attrition level of 19.5% in 2014. Henceforth, they have given 6-7% hike in the salaries and promotions to around 5000 employees to improve retention levels.
Hence, critical aspects for reducing attrition levels are employee satisfaction, better career growth opportunities, manager’s support and consideration, qualitative company culture, trust in leadership, job autonomy last but not the least good team dynamics.


Don’t worry, we’ll be fine...

Employers must put contingency plans in place to minimize disruptions if top-level managers leave. Knowing why a senior executive has resigned can help employers prevent or prepare for similar exits in future. 

This article looks at five more:
·         Poor communication
Clear and consistent communication between the senior management team ensures senior executives are fully involved within a business.
Without this, they are likely to feel excluded, undervalued and lack the confidence to make suggestions to company management.
Poor communication can also cause feelings of insecurity and paranoia about their position within the business, all of which can lead top-level managers to consider moving on.
By involving them in key decision-making from day one and valuing their opinions, employers are more likely to make senior executives feel part of the senior management team and businesses are more likely to retain them.
·         Company direction
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, businesses are under constant pressure to re-evaluate their strategy and direction. This can create problems for senior management.
Over time, some executives may become detached from the route that the organisation is heading in, while those who are prepared to run with the change — but who lack the support to bring it about — are likely to become frustrated.
Either way, it is difficult for executives with differing beliefs from the rest of the company to justify remaining with the business.
In these circumstances, effective communication between executives and management can ensure both sides are fully aware of the facts before either makes a rash decision.
·         Dilution of company brand
To be successful, senior management must believe in the fundamental brand values of the business.
As companies and their brands evolve over time, executives need to buy into this change. However, some may be unable or unwilling to do this.
For example, a senior executive may have little belief in a new product or service or may not have the appetite required to rebuild a diminished brand.
Although it depends on the exact circumstances of the situation, this may be a sensible time to part ways.
·         Loss of company support
A senior executive who loses the support of the company — be it through internal or external politics, change in company direction, communication difficulties or under performance of the company — will find regaining it difficult.
Even if he is able to develop a solution for the bigger problem, he will be unable to push this through without the full and committed backing of the board and company as a whole.
Losing company support is a particularly common problem for senior executives at public-listed companies, which need to take shareholder opinion into account.
·         Personal circumstances
Personal circumstances can be the primary motivation for a senior executive to consider leaving his position.
Senior managers may decide against moving as part of a wider company relocation.
Executives who look for new positions may want a shorter commute to work, or to spend less time travelling on business.
Family commitments are often pivotal to their decision. In the right circumstances, businesses have allowed executives to carry out a suitable portion of their working week from home to retain them.
Long- or short-term illness can also be a difficult barrier to overcome.
In these circumstances, some businesses have employed affected executives in smaller advisory roles so that they can continue to contribute their expertise and experience, while at the same time reducing their personal commitment.
·         Explore options
The success of a senior executive is aligned with the wider success of a company — depending on circumstances, his resignation may or may not therefore be welcomed by the business.
If it is not, senior management should carefully consider the cause of resignation and explore the options available.
Where appropriate, improved remuneration packages, greater opportunities for career progression and demonstrating a reasonable understanding for individual personal circumstances can all persuade executives to stay.
Where senior managers are not prepared to reconsider, the business does not need to suffer.
Most organisations realize that the best executives are ambitious and are likely to seek new challenges in time.
Employers who prepare for these circumstances and put contingency plans in place are unlikely to experience too much disruption when a senior member of the staff leaves.
A parting of ways may sometimes be in the best interest of both parties.

For example, if an executive does not agree with a company’s change in direction or branding strategy or has lost the support of the organisation, a new appointment may be more willing and better suited to driving the business forward.

Best workplaces are 'female-friendly'

Just what makes a workplace great?
The answer is more elusive than you might think, given that more people are versed in the dysfunctional work environment than in the truly exceptional workplace. Fortunately, the research consultancy that produces Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For rankings - the Great Place to Work Institute - knows a thing or two about what builds trust and engagement among workers.
What stands out on this year's list, published last week - software provider SAS took top place - is that many of the firms picked represent 'female-friendly' workplaces. Groups not typically found in the highest ranks, such as minorities and women, tend to be more visible in these environments. Furthermore, these organisations bend and adapt to their employee base - they do not ask their staff to conform to the corporate 'way'.
So what else is key to their success?
Among other things, their work-life policies are stigma-free.
Take one firm's well-intentioned policy. A part-time partnership track was carved out, allowing top performers to assume more responsibility while simultaneously cutting down hours. The problem? Only women took advantage of the benefit. The result was that, companywide, part-time partners found they were not taken all that seriously.
The best workplaces offer work-life accommodations that all employees are encouraged to use - top-down and bottom-up - including sabbaticals, compressed work weeks, remote working and job sharing. It is understood at leading companies that the wide adoption of benefits long considered mainly for women helps the workforce at large.
Top-ranking firms also have zero tolerance for unfairness.
In their new book, The Great Workplace, Dr Michael Burchell and Dr Jennifer Robin note the strong message sent by SC Johnson, a company that institutes real consequences for unfair treatment. If the consumer products company sees prejudiced judgment, it handles the problem swiftly by not tolerating such behaviour at all.
In addition, top firms that truly care about fairness provide an appeals process that allows grievances to be addressed.
Dr Burchell and Dr Robin point out this best practice at American Express, where the office of the ombudsman acts as 'a confidential and neutral resource where employees can seek guidance without fear of retribution'.
Taking a stand on equitable treatment can be particularly important for women, some of whom have sounded their grievances only to be ignored, sidelined or even fired. Industries dominated by males can take a page from this book, and recognise that filing complaints about unfair treatment often results in a more harrowing experience than the initial harassment or abuse.
Last but not least, firms that provide the best workplaces acknowledge the power of the unspoken.
Kraft, a company acknowledged for its diversity policies, understands that not all success criteria are spelt out for new employees. Its Jump Start programme offers new staff an orientation in the unwritten rules and strategies for succeeding in the corporate culture. The programme is designed to help collapse the learning curve in terms of how to build influence, find mentors and maintain strong relationships.
Other companies could benefit from adopting this practice, helping those not in the key power constituency by sharing the secret rules of the game.

In the end, employer and employee need only follow a simple formula: Commit to my long-term success, I commit to yours. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Companies go all out to win women over at work

Indian HR heads may not be in a hurry to roll out egg-freezing perks like tech giants Apple and Facebook. But several of them have introduced their own woman-centric policies to help attract and retain talent — from offering exclusive parking lots to IVF leave.

MTS India, for instance, has made available special parking spots for women employees who drive to work. "There are also cab drops for female employees who end up working late as well as a security guard in case any female employee needs escorting," says Tarun Katyal, chief human resources officer, MTS India.

Since fertility treatments can be both physically and emotionally demanding, ICICI Bank allows 180 days of leave to employees seeking to undergo fertility treatment. This is in addition to maternity, childcare and adoption leave.
At Citi India, which has three women networks (employee-initiated and employee-led units), there are rooms for new mothers to relax in. Anuranjita Kumar, chief human resources officer, Citi South Asia, says diversity is a "business imperative" for the group. "It is an imperative to build a workplace that nurtures and promotes career trajectories of men and women alike," she says.

Gloob, a home decor and improvement company, has a play area for toddlers and lets women employees bring them along on certain work days. "This ensures greater engagement with women employees, among other things," says Kunal Sharma, Gloob's founder and director.

In India, a perk similar to paying for egg-freezing like the one Apple and Facebook have instituted may be perceived as "culturally insensitive" say HR sources. Mayank Chandra, managing partner, Antal International, said such practices (companies paying for freezing eggs) are not on top of the mind of prospective employees. "A good company, safe working environment and career growth are the major factors in terms of job change or even to retain employees," he says.

However, given the stress on achieving gender balance across industries, DSM India president Bharath Sesha does not rule out the idea of Indian companies paying for freezing of eggs of women employees in the near future. Incidentally, DSM India has a special sabbatical policy for women employees, where if a woman takes, say, a six-month sabbatical, her performance is assessed on the time that she worked with the company, that is, the six-month period that she did work is assessed as 'one year'.

But the real question experts are asking is how exactly are such practices translating into driving organizations to attain gender diversity?

"While companies are offering a lot of benefits to women employees, the question that should really be asked is why are these not translating into a greater number of women employees at the mid levels or senior levels? Why are women not getting promotions as fast as men do? Why are there pay gaps between women employees and male employees? Organizations which focus on general inclusion must look deeper into these areas so as to ensure they attain gender diversity," says Shachi Irde, executive director, Catalyst India's western region centre who believes the practices that will actually bridge the gender gap are parity in salaries and promotions.


HR score card is a visual representation of key measures of human resource department. It includes achievement, productivity and other factors that are important to organisation like cost, training, hiring, turnover, performance management etc. HR score card was developed by academicians Bryan E. Becker, Mark A. huselid, and Dave Ulrich and presented in their book “THE HR SCORECARD: linking people, strategy, and performance “, issued by Harvard business school press, 2001. Actually it was a supplementary tool to Kaplan and Norton’s balanced scorecard, which does not focus on HR practice. Basically HR Score card provides a very useful framework for measuring HR. It sees human resource management practices as a strategic asset and provides road map to help organisations. It mainly focuses on accountability and prioritization to all Human Resources.
HR scorecard is used by the entire organization it is not limited to just HR department.
1.    It enables cost control and value creation: HR scorecard helps HR professionals to drive out cost wherever appropriate and defend investment intangibles.

2.    It measures leading indicators: there are leading and lagging indicators in the overall balanced performance measurement system so HR scorecard helps in measuring the leading indicators of performance.

3.    It lets HR professionals effectively manage their strategic responsibilities: HR scorecard encourages HR managers to focus on exactly how their decisions affect the successful implementation of the firm’s strategy.

Lastly, we can say that HR scorecard has made it possible for HR managers to understand how to manage HR strategy with the overall business objective. It is a tool that moves HR managers to new goals and makes them more flexible and creative in supporting the changes.

-         Priyanka Gulati


HR professionals' role has become challenging

With modern day companies striving hard to retain and develop talent, the role of human resource professionals has become more challenging and crucial, said industry experts.

"HR professionals, who were earlier deemed to be a part of the 'operational side' of the company, now have become 'strategists' as they have to retain, motivate and nurture talent to help an organization grow," said Kedia Infotech and e-Seva World chief executive officer Ashok Kumar Kedia, while addressing the seminar on 'Smart HR management: Working smarter and using technology for organization's advantage' organised by Kushmanv Information Technologies at the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Fapcci) here.

Speaking about the role of IT in HR management, Greenco Group senior vice-president (Corporate development) K Sriram said, these days the role of IT department has transformed from being a 'control and administrative department' to a 'service department'.

Sriram pointed out that HR departments are using IT tools extensively in the area of performance management and administration. However, the data security aspect is a key challenge as all employees records are stored electronically, he added.

Meanwhile, Fapcci corporate law and intellectual property rights (IPR) committee chairman Abhay Kumar Jain said HR is the main asset of the company. "Only if we groom and train our HR, can we develop IPR in an organization."


Recruiters heading for campus placements will find the batch of 2015 free of the usual jitters. Placement cells of more than 11 top B-schools point out this may be the best placement season in the past few years.
Factors such as bigger pay packets, more job offers and companies waking up from a hiring freeze have resulted in students displaying a larger risk appetite and testing the market for recruitment despite pre-placement offers (PPOs) in hand.
Placement cells of IIM Indore, XLRI, MDI Gurgaon, NMIMS,IIM Calcutta and IIM Lucknow have found students in larger-than-expected groups, wanting to join the e-commerce and startup industry. “E-commerce is the most buzzing sector on campus,” says Prabudh Jain, student placement coordinator, MDI, Gurgaon. Agrees Suvarna Athavale, external relations secretary, IIM Calcutta, “E-commerce is growing rapidly in India, and many students are interested especially because of its unique challenges. Students are also expecting to bag more offers than before.”
Banking and consulting, the traditional favourities, are still popular on campus, especially when it comes to strategy consulting roles from the likes of McKinsey & Co, BCG, Bain & Co and the like.
An earlier indication of the popularity of e commerce was revealed during the ‘ET Top Recruiters in B-School’ survey when, for the first time, e-commerce recruiters such as Flipkart and Amazon joined the top 10 rankings, alongside traditional recruiters such as Cognizant, ICICI BankBSE -0.02 % and Deloitte, which have consistently been making it to the top 10 over the past few years.
At Mumbai-based NMIMS, the placement team is trying to double the number of start-ups they got last year to placate one-fourth of the batch who want to join these new-age firms. NMIMS has 450 students to place and had five start-ups hiring from their campus, last year.
“The students are rooting for smaller companies that are below the radar like Salt n Soap, and not just larger ones like Flipkart and Amazon,” says the chairperson, placements of one of the top B-schools who does not wish to be named. Students believe opportunities to learn may be more in smaller firms. Besides, the large number of deals in the startup phase has boosted their confidence, adds the chairperson.
Arpit M (name changed), an IIM Bangalore final year student has a PPO like many in his batch. However, most of his classmates, despite their PPOs, will sit for interviews again during final placements. “In any other year, a PPO would have sealed our decision, but those trying their luck this time despite PPOs could be higher,” he says.
Student placement committee member, Mahima Sushil of IMI Delhi, says, “It’s still early days but we are expecting a good number of first-time recruiters as well.” Deferred placements may also increase because more students want to start their own ventures, in an economy that whets the risktaking appetite. Around 20 graduates from the Class of 2014 across the six older IIMs alone had opted out of cushy corporate jobs to launch their own ventures.
Rajiv Mishra, chairperson, placements at XLRI has already seen a couple of students discussing deferred placements. XLRI has 180 students to place. Usually, a few students opt for deferred placements, but this year could see more doing so. B-schools offer deferred placements to top students who want to start their own businesses but in case of a failed attempt, get help from their alma mater for another shot at recruitment.
Indications are that companies may shell out more for their choice of candidates. A placement cell member at one of the newer IIMs, IIM Rohtak, says that freshers are expecting anywhere between Rs 12 lakh and Rs 16 lakh per annum. “This, despite the fact that average work experience for this batch is about 14 months as compared to three years last time. For the batch of 2014, the average salary was at Rs 9.72 lakh,” he says. “The season has begun with a bang,” says Jain from MDI Gurgaon. “It’s still early days, but as compared to last year when the average salary was at Rs 14.74 lakh, we are expecting around or above Rs 16 lakh.”
Although students are treading with caution, some positivity from the summers has rubbed off on the students of IIM Bangalore. “During summer placements, firms made more offers and if that happens again during finals, it will change the game,” says Sapna Agarwal, head, Career Development Services of IIM Bangalore. Summer placements ended in record time for most B-schools, and many companies across campuses had to be declined.
At XIM, Bhubaneswar, feelers have been sent from IT firms and FMCG companies that had not hired in the past four years, for IT system profile and roles in marketing.
At IIM Lucknow, PE firms and investment banks are returning with more profiles, says Pushpendra Priyadarshi, chairperson, placement. “The batch of 2015 has also shown signs of being selective about their roles and plans to wait for the right offer than accept the first one,” says a student placement cell member of IIM Indore.

crossword 18

Saturday, November 15, 2014

5 Trends Driving HR Technology In 2014


Let’s take a look at the top five:

1) The world is your oyster (and your talent pool).  Real talent knows no geographic borders — no country has a monopoly on the most sought after, up-to-the-second skills that are needed in IT, social media, software programming, science and math. You want the best, no matter where he or she lives. The trick is to find them. This means taking your search global by increasing your presence on networks that have worldwide reach. Aggressively seek out talent sites and forums around the globe. Hire outside help if needed to accomplish this.
2) Technology-technology-technology. The number and kinds of data-mining, talent search and hiring technologies that are out there can be daunting. But they are crucial, exciting tools that every organization should make themselves aware of. Whether it’s video interviewing or a pinpoint search for a highly-specific skill set, technology can make HR easier, faster and more effective. Don’t get overwhelmed by your options. Use the technology that works for you. Be wary of too many bells and whistles, and overly-aggressive salespeople. Focus on what you want to accomplish and ignore the rest.
3) Real time talent analytics and big data management. In the bad old days, employees got annual or maybe six-month assessments. Which translated into a lot of squandered time and opportunity to learn, grow and improve (or terminate if need be). Today technology enables a continuous real-time assessment of performance. Employees can be made aware of their shortcomings and get work on improving them, and people who are doing great work can get the kind of support and encouragement that will inspire and allow them to soar to new heights.

4) Mobile hone. The world’s gone mobile and it’s pretty awesome. Now your talent lives and breathes in real time portable connectivity. To reach this talent, you've got to go where they are. Mobileize your search-and-employ efforts. Make applying for a job possible while people are riding the subway, eating lunch, or listening to music (or even doing all three at once).
5) Sweeten the deal. Organizations are cutting back on employee benefits, especially healthcare. To make up for this unfortunate fact, it’s imperative to make employment attractive through secondary benefits such as childcare, flex time, gyms and exercise classes, healthy food offerings, gamification prizes and extras like free-lunch Fridays. You want your people to feel cared for and cared about, morale stays high, and a healthy workforce performs at a much higher level.

Employee Engagement

In today's cut throat competition scenario, employee turnover is a very delicate issue. Attrition rates are increasing. Most employees tend to leave a company due to disengagement. Disengagement at work is considered a costly and  highly frustrating problem. Treating employees as human and not experimental robots makes reducing the problem a little simpler. In order to counter this issue engagement has become a major buzzword across all corporates. According to a survey recently taken by Deloitte, Seventy-eight percent of leaders say it is both an urgent and important priority. Employee engagement is a measure of an employee’s positive attitude towards his/her work and commitment to remain attached to the organisation for a long period of time. 
Engaged employees care about the future of a company and act as their brand ambassadors as well as endorse the brand as an Employer of choice. All core business measures – profitability, productivity, customer satisfaction, quality, retention and sales are significantly higher at companies with a concentration of engaged employees.  
Practitioners and academicians have argued that an engaged workforce create a competitive advantage to any company. In short, it can be said that Engagement is the new currency of the current economy.

It is said that if a company wants to improve their engagement, they must not think of complicated strategies but instead make an effort to create a dialogue with and among their employees. According to Michael Papay and Alexandre Santille the following four strategies turn real time feedback into real time employee engagement:

1.     Focus On What Matters Most
Organisational alignment occurs when top level management focuses their employee’s energy on the most important issues on hand. Solutions for issues come from the most unexpected source at times!

2.     Use Open Ended Questions
      Excessive surveying of employees leads to dehumanizing and increases   further drag on the intentions of improving employee engagement. So once a basic survey has been carried out for the employees it would more feasible to send out open ended questions instead of testing a pre-existing set of solution.  It is better to make the experience of a survey more conversational so that there is a two way communication.

3.     Offer Anonymity and Transparency
Employees should be free to express what they think. It is important for the employer to create an environment for the employees where they feel secure and keep the information exchange flowing to all so that everyone adds on.

4.     Take Action
Before doing anything else it is imperative to put away the ego and pride, be polite and acknowledge people.

The key to employee engagement is to keep the employees involved and motivated. Employee engagement if utilized correctly could be a very powerful tool. It not only has the potential to significantly affect employee retention, productivity and loyalty but also is an essential link to customer satisfaction, company reputation and overall stakeholder value. 
                                                                                             - Sarthak Daing

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Learning and Development issues in Indian Context

Learning and development is the bedrock of talent management. It touches and is the key-driver behind, nearly all parts of the talent cycle and is actually a core enabler for delivering many of the talent processes. In the last two decades the Indian economy has witnessed tremendous change in terms of global competition and technological advancement. As a result of these changes a lot of organisations have had to undergo restructuring which has led to a significant transformation in the work practices. This has led to demand for new job skills, greater levels of workforce which has a big impact on learning and development provided to the employees.

 Organisation Transformation often results in anxiety, confusion, anger and withdrawal amongst employees. According to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte, less than 8% of hr leaders have confidence that their teams have the required skills to meet the challenge of global environment and consistently deliver innovative programs that drive business impact. 

In order for HR teams to become better business partners, they need to develop deeper business acumen, analytical skills, learn to operate in the capacity of performance advisors and most importantly understand the needs of the 21st century workforce. This, one could say is the responsibility of the learning and development team to make sure the employees acquire these right tools over a period of time which could positively impact an organisation’s business results. Sadly though, despite of the challenges and need to overcome them, merely a few organisations are emphasizing on the need for training and development. The organisations which do don’t have effective modules. 

An issue with regards to the training and development modules are that most of them are one size fits all kind of training. The training imparted is based without judging the caliber of the individual in question or the job profile. Often trainers conduct programmes without considering the background of people involved and whether they understand the process in consideration. Also most trainers still continue with the old format of PowerPoint presentations without any add-ons in the form of videos, games or any other entertaining ways of getting the message across. 

Shifting focus to those being trained, it has been seen that the participants of a training programme consider the training to be a time to relax from their busy schedule and have fun. Often it has been seen that these participants don’t take the trainings seriously. It would be safe to say that that in order for the process of learning and development to be complete and show results in the financials, trainers must understand the end customers and the main reason behind why the training is being conducted while the participants need to buckle up and show some seriousness and genuine interest towards these programs .

                                                                                                                               - Sarthak Daing

                                                         (Batch 2014-16)


Our task is to take those 50 ideas to change Learning and Development. Explain how and why we can/have/should make it happen. Alternatively, why they shouldn't. So, the big 50
  1. Make connectivity and sharing a catalyst for all learning.
  2. Stop claiming every person will be competent.
  3. Have people design their own quality criteria, and develop frameworks to help them understand how.
  4. Celebrate learning by celebrating performance.
  5. Don’t require people to come to a course.
  6. Stop using the words and phrases best practice, and learner engagement.
  7. Have a group of successful professionals in your workplace document the 10 most important things they know, and the 10 most important skills. Then compare and contrast them with your workplace standards.
  8. Let people use smartphones at any place in work.
  9. Mobilise learning by mobilising people in communities they care about.
  10. Make any space in the workplace into a learning space.
  11. Make learning resources entoirely visible – literally open all your content to everybody.
  12. Ditch L&D function “filters”; remove the hurdles like pre-qualification.
  13. Be honest when things suck, are boring, or are wastes of time. Stop rationalizing, making excuses, or using confirmation bias.
  14. Transform your learning function to a 21st century cultural centre with cutting edge experts, thinking, and support.
  15. Stop encouraging people to go on overpriced courses that fail to improve their performance, and that perpetuate a system that stifles innovation and equity.
  16. Make your learning function about creativity.
  17. Make learning at work about self-discovery, accountability, and how to find and evaluate information people care about.
  18. Make your formal support about participation in networks.
  19. Support your learning function as a business.
  20. Treat the people who learn best like rock stars: Give them reality shows, endorsement deals, and huge contracts.
  21. If people underperform, hold them accountable. Find a way to make support meaningful, social, and knowledge-based.
  22. Make people accountable to one another, not the L&D function.
  23. If we don’t celebrate performance in the the way we do level 1 evaluation sheets, let’s stop being surprised when businesses consider us to be superficial.
  24. Review your formal professional systems. Every L&D member is an expert in something. There’s your Personal Development team.
  25. L&D – Stop patronizing learning tech like brand fanatics.
  26. Don’t set benchmark tests that reward 15% error rates with a pass.
  27. Make learning budgets entirely transparent to everyone in your organisation.
  28. Throw out test scores forever. Test in the workplace with performance as your yardstick.
  29. Stop asking so much of trainers and instructional designers.
  30. Help your business understand what training, learning and development are for.
  31. Make sure anyone in a L&D function understands what it means manage commercially. 
  32. Promote learning through networks, not curriculum.
  33. Make performance support and the ability to ask the right question at the right time the criteria by which we measure a L&D function.
  34. Stop testing to count learning, and measure performance.
  35. Rebrand learning the same way Apple has done with computers, Starbucks has coffee, and Nike has jogging.
  36. Stop criticising managers for their lack of support for your formal learning interventions.
  37. Push the language of learning – learners, pedagogy, etc – out of learning spaces completely.
  38. Design complex mentorship and apprenticeship support.
  39. Use support based around thinking habits, and the ability to know what’s worth understanding rather than “content.”
  40. Create support based on the ability to self-direct and design their own learning pathways.
  41. Require Subject Matter Experts to design and deliver learning support.
  42. Stop training–this is a push-pull action; instead, promote learning.
  43. Use YouTube channels instead of handouts.
  44. Eliminate educational language in your learning function – you are not a school (unless you’re a school).
  45. Use social media and ESN instead of email.
  46. Make learning resources more like app stores with support that excites people –that they want to use.
  47. Create support that functions like a playlist, and that browses like Google search results; require people to document their own understanding.
  48. Allow people to decide what they do and don’t want to learn; insist only that the learn something to support their performance.
  49. Treat the goal of learning as performance.
  50. Design your learning function as a think tank to understand and address your business problems.
So what now.  Well, it’s likely that there are certain points on there that you agree with, you disagree with, don’t understand, wish to develop.

Role of L&D in the 21C Workplace

It is increasingly becoming evident that L&D department in organizations can no longer function the way they used to, at least not if they want to be relevant and be a business partner to the organization. The impact of technology, globalization, ubiquitous connectivity, remote work and distributed work teams, and economy of individuals to name a few drivers have changed the face of workplace learning and performance dramatically.
Workplace learning in many places is still struggling to come out of the Industrial Era where workers were trained on best practices, put to work, and their efficiency measured by supervisors. The more of the same task they performed, the more efficient they became. And time to production improved. Economy of scale was achieved. Gone are those days and those requirements. Repeatable tasks are performed more rapidly, with greater accuracy and more cost effectively by machines. Somewhat complicated tasks are being outsourced but even the face of outsourcing is undergoing rapid change.

These are some of the critical and macro-level shifts in the role of L&D that are becoming apparent. There are more micro-level ones like:
  1. The ability to put together a course rapidly from existing content on the web, OERs, and internal content
  2. Being up-to-date with different technologies that can impact learning
  3. The capability to gauge what kind of support is required for optimal and timely output – a course, a Job Aid, initiating and facilitating a forum discussion, curating external content and sharing internally, and so on.
The role of L&D will continue to evolve and expand. It is going to become strategic and critical but the onus lies on us to keep honing our skills and shaping our capabilities to meet the constantly changing needs of the workplace.
Ability to learn rapidly is perhaps the mega-skill that makes the rest possible.Today’s workers can no longer rest on their laurels and past success doesn't necessarily imply future success as well. This is the world of work that L&D must support today. And this means re-skilling for L&D as well.
From course designers to learning facilitators – Given that till date, L&D has been tasked with designing courses based on TNA, task analysis and skill gaps, this is perhaps one of the fundamental and most difficult shifts. While courses will still have their place, the approach to course design itself will need to become more dynamic, rapid and inclusive of informal and social components.
Proficiency in social media usage – While we would all like to boast about being social media gurus, using it effectively for learning and enabling others to do the same calls for a different understanding of social media. It goes beyond a Facebook status update.
Facilitating self-driven learning – As course designers and course disseminators, L&D role has been more of that of the sage on the stage. However, with the need for learning new skills becoming more dynamic and skill requirement more complex, workers must know how to “pull” what they need to drive performance. This requires them to reach out to the right people, access the right content and use their own plan to acquire the information or skill required. 

How Learning & Development Must Change: Three Challenges

The three points of change have always been part of the L&D function, but today’s greater speed of technological change, combined with the increased importance of learning to the modern organization, means these three facets of the modern L&D department are crucial to its success.”

The three challenges we face today
The result is that L&D must change the way it operates in today’s world, in three ways. In particular:
  1. We must develop content collaboratively. The L&D department can no longer work at a remove from the rest of the organization. While trainers in the past could develop deep expertise in a given subject matter, today’s urgent need for information makes that impossible. More than ever, L&D needs to establish strong ways to develop learning content in collaboration with workplace subject matter experts (SMEs).
  2. We must support current practice. A great deal of learning takes place in the workplace without L&D’s intervention. However, the department has a role to play in supporting this learning, whether managers deliberately organize it, or whether colleagues informally arrange it among themselves.
  3. We must maintain and build our department. It is no longer possible to support the wider demands of workplace L&D with a generalist skill set. Instead, it is essential for L&D staff to have both a good general grounding in L&D and specialist skills in particular areas.
This table shows some of the ways that the new approach to L&D differs from the old:
Table 1.
Old L&D
New L&D
Involved with the organization
Classroom and/or face-to-face delivery mechanism
Multiple media, including the classroom where appropriate; both synchronous and asynchronous; online and offline
Content experts
Experts in how people learn and in working with SMEs to get the best from them
“Push” delivery style
Multiple styles: “Push” delivery where appropriate (e.g., for compliance training), plus “pull” for performance support information
Minimal technical expertise
Technical expertise in e-Learning
Course writing expertise
Expertise in writing for courses, blogs, and wikis
Design and set up courses requested by management
Curriculum design expertise as well as performance consultancy expertise to determine whether courses are actually required

These are just some of the practical ways L&D must change to meet the challenge of today. The three points of change have always been part of the L&D function, but today’s greater speed of technological change, combined with the increased importance of learning to the modern organization, means these three facets of the modern L&D department are crucial to its success.
In this respect, the L&D department is a microcosm of the modern working environment in which individuals are becoming increasingly focused specialists in their field. In this L&D microcosm, specialists in certain areas of learning practice staff the department. They add value to the enterprise in collaboration with fellow workers and use technology to ensure that they focus on high-value work as often as possible.
The world of work is changing and the L&D department must change with it. L&D can not only survive, it can flourish if it bears in mind the benefits of working with SMEs and employee managers and if it places a deliberate focus on L&D team members by both developing them in a structured way and by supporting them with the right systems.