Putting a value on training

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SummaryAmidst the endless growth versus inflation debates, and squabbles over the likely GDP growth rate, what stands out clearly is that the Indian economy is growing at a higher pace than some of its western counterparts. Multinationals are looking eastwards to take advantage of the rising demand.

It is important now, more than ever before, for learning and development to align its strategy with business needs

Charu Sabnavis

Amidst the endless growth versus inflation debates, and squabbles over the likely GDP growth rate, what stands out clearly is that the Indian economy is growing at a higher pace than some of its western counterparts. Multinationals are looking eastwards to take advantage of the rising demand. The emerging economies are at the centrestage of economic action, and the key to sustaining this growth lies in complementing the robust capital inflows with adequate and skilled human capital.

Relevance

As multinationals ramp up operations, there is an inevitable scramble for talent in a highly competitive marketplace. PwC’s 2012 APEC CEO survey has found that the perceived skills shortage is a real threat to expansion, with 42% of the participant CEOs expecting the pressure to only intensify. It is imperative that organisations not only think out of the box to leverage new and creative avenues for recruiting talent, but also supplement it with developing the right skills internally. As a fallout of this strong business case for talent development, the onus is on learning and development (L&D) to respond to this call, and play a pivotal role in supporting business strategy.

It is, therefore, important now, more than ever before, for L&D to align its strategy with business needs, and take ownership for demonstrating the value and impact of training on business.

Business alignment

There is a growing trend for L&D to move away from targets like average training days or average per person training days, which it’s been traditionally chasing, and focus on initiatives that are relevant from business perspective. Suchitra Bhaskar, director, training & organisational development at CRISIL, says that all L&D initiatives at the company are strongly linked to business outcomes.

This trend is corroborated by Raj Bowen, managing director, PDI Ninth House, a global leadership solutions company, who, through his interactions with clients, has not only found a definite and unmitigated corporate commitment to employee development, but has also noticed an encouraging trend of ‘accountability’, with L&D teams exercising caution in utilising budgets. Organisations are also scrutinising their training initiatives, eliminating those that are underutilised or have a low business impact, and executing ones that make business sense.

Pallab Mukherji, president, human resources, India Infoline Ltd (IIFL), adds, “Budgets have never been a constraint for the ‘right initiatives’, and there is no precedence of a HR

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