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Our workforce is evolving into a multi-generational one. With rising Gen-Z and millennials, organisations must show employees they are invested in their development. LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report revealed that 93% of employees would stay longer at a company if it invested in their career development. 

But why do organisations benefit from investing in learning and development programmes? One of the direct benefits is retention. But that’s not the only plus point. Employees report that learning at work improves productivity and helps organisations achieve long-term goals. But most importantly, today, employees seek opportunities to grow when applying for a job. Organisations realising this benefit bag the best talent.

Keeping this notion in mind, we spoke to Subramanian Kalpathi, Head of Learner Experience, Learning Platforms and L&OD Labs at DXC. Our speaker comes with a decade and a half of experience in organisational culture, leadership development, employer branding, employee engagement and more. In this edition, Subramanian speaks to us about: 

  • An evidence-based approach to learning and development
  • Ways to integrate learning and development at work 
  • Learning in a remote/hybrid work environment
  • Weaving learning programmes with organisational culture 

An evidence-based approach to learning

Evidence-based learning advocates for thinking like a scientist. Subramanian encourages organisations to adopt this approach as it requires leadership teams to develop hypotheses. This allows organisations to experiment with what learning and development can do for them and enables teams to collect data points which will be helpful for them later. 

Another merit of adopting an evidence-based approach is that it encourages people to measure outcome-oriented metrics. For instance, understanding how learning and development have enabled teams to think differently and alter behaviour signifies the success of learning and development programmes.

Moving from the traditional mindset of how learning’s been viewed – which is looking at metrics like hours trained, number of licences spent – to outcome oriented metrics are coming to the forefront today.

Subramanian Kalpathi

Integrate learning and development at work

Learning and development at work are possible when it is practical. What makes learning fun at work is all employees learn in an unstructured manner when working. This happens through the natural experiences and interactions employees have with one another, in meetings and more. 

Subramanian encourages organisations to look at making learning at work more accessible. He nudges employers to think of the best ways in which people can learn more in less time. Given that most organisations have many tools in their arsenal, employers should think of ways to use technology to promote learning on the job. 

All of us use Slack or Teams or one of these communication channels. So, the question is, "can I learn through Teams or Slack when I’m working on something?" How can we use our existing platforms that we use on a daily basis to integrate learning? I think those are the bigger questions about getting into learning in the flow of work.

Subramanian Kalpathi

Ways to promote learning in a remote environment

Many organisations today are remote or the very least, hybrid. And so, organisations should think creatively about promoting learning virtually. For the most part, organisations have believed that traditional and structured learning is better than remote learning. However, this is a misconception that companies have resorted to correcting. 

Virtual learning can be an enriching experience if organisations hack ways in which it can be more engaging. For instance, promoting asynchronous learning with synchronous sessions, contextualising learning to make it relatable and applicable, and mentorship goes a long way. Subramanian is also in favour of breakout sessions to make learning more engaging. 

Break out sessions are a great networking opportunity for people. L&D professionals can also use this chance to be more prescriptive as facilitators. How can we ensure what people want to say is in line with what we want them to say? Can we give them rules and norms about what they’re supposed to do? These are ways to keep breakout sessions engaging.

Subramanian Kalpathi

Organisational culture x Learning and development

Organisational culture has implications for all employees of the company. Evidently, the best way to align L&D programmes with organisational culture is to gather employee feedback. Ask your employees about the kind of programmes they wish to see within the organisation. Use their feedback as a way to align their interests with organisational culture. 

In many ways, such programmes can be a catalyst for creating a positive working experience. It creates an opportunity for employers to reinforce culture and drive messages within the organisation. 

The takeaway 

Learning and development programmes are no longer selective perks to the best performing employees. At any company, you’ll find people seeking constant growth and responsibility. Sometimes, you might find people who seek stability and time to master specific skills. Regardless, organisations must cater to all employees and support their endeavour to learn, grow and improve. 

A great learning and development program can help people advance their careers at their own pace. It helps employees feel like they are moving closer to achieving their dreams every single day. Moreover, it helps organisations align their expectations and priorities across the board. 

If you like what you read, check out our previous Uncovering HR post, where we spoke about making work better with Sameera Khan, the Director of People Success at inFeedo.