When Sarika Ghosh, the learning & development (L&D) head of a company, toiled with her team to build a robust training plan for the year, they had a difficult time figuring out their employee training needs. The reason was that the inputs on personal development plans by managers on employee appraisals were so poorly described that the team had to put on their thinking caps to figure it all out. After the long-drawn exercise, the next tedious task was to align this data to organisational direction and goal. As the L&D team toiled, the employees and managers were hoping that the year’s training will be meaningful for their work roles and help them grow.
With elaborate efforts, Ghosh made her training and development plan, and submitted it to the board. Fingers crossed, the team awaited the annual sanction. To their dismay, the carefully crafted plan got a 35% cut!
This is the plight of many L&D managers. The reason is that, unfortunately, the management and employees rarely believe that the training programmes the HR team offers supports them with practical learning.
Research has shown that when the top 20 CEOs in the world were asked about their views on soft skills and behavioural training, almost 86% mentioned that ‘they expected no change’. They said if the company did not engage on this type of training, the results would not really suffer. Even today, L&D doesn’t have the important and relevant data on which areas of training to invest in.
Thus, both the HR and L&D need to ensure that the process of identifying training needs is supported with a ‘real-time system’. L&D has to ensure that employees and managers can engage with a digital platform that offers them guidance and helps them understand and plot their needs, with inputs on the purpose of the development they expect.
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With appropriate data, the L&D team can offer the management detailed report on what ‘training needs’ need attention, why these are important, and how the same can be planned. The people are the only differentiator you have, so making a wise investment on developing them is the most valuable step that can drive business results.
Pramod Parkar is director, Edify Consultants, a people development consulting organisation. Views are personal