If human resource is the most critical resource for the organization, L&D is essentially the fuel that keeps it going. But what are L&D interventions if their impact is not fully absorbed into the organization straight till the last mile? Therefore, HR has a critical role to play when it comes to these. Join us as we curate insights from our conversation with Sharmilaa Rajesh Kannan, VP, L&D, Evolgence Telecom Pvt. Ltd., for the latest addition to our Dialogue with Darwin series.
Why is the last mile important to reach?
Front line sales are one of the most crucial layers of any organization. They are the brand ambassadors your organization creating first impressions as they meet numerous clients, vendors and other stakeholders. It is crucial that they are up-to-date not just on products, processes, and policies but also on your organization’s vision, mission, and cultural ethos. Having said that; pulling out the last mile from the production floor or field is nearly impossible considering loss of productive hours for the business. Therefore, learning verticals often grapple with the issue of driving impactful interventions for the last mile.
Making the tough actionable
With the emergence of multiple e-learning platforms, organizations have started investing in digital mediums to reach out to front-line sales. However, ensuring full participation and measuring impact still remains a challenge for many of them. 85% of our workforce at Evolgence is virtual so classroom pieces of training are not an option for us, ever. Here are a few things that have been tried and tested by us for our virtual workforce.
Flipping the classroom:
Our induction and on-boarding module is 80% automated and helps our employees to understand our core products and their workings before they get formally trained. Having an idea about products before the video conference enabled training helps them to grasp the concept faster.
Bite Size is the Right Size:
Our focus is on creating two minute-three minute learning videos. The idea here is to weed out all unnecessary info. Deliver what is needed, in short, learning capsules. Learning sessions are sorted into chapters and one –two chapters per day are rolled out for the last mile.
Make it interactive:
Learners need to be engaged for them to absorb what is being delivered. Building your learning interventions keeping this in mind works wonders. Gamification and leadership boards go a long way in learner attention. Impromptu one question quiz with fastest finger round followed by leadership board of participants who answered correctly along with timelines is one way of keeping them engaged. One can be as creative as possible when it comes to engaging users.
Peer discussion groups:
Online discussion groups around dedicated learning topics help in sourcing the ground level expertise. It’s the perfect blend of peer learning and best practice sharing across teams from geographically dispersed regions. Based on my experience I feel the top 5 things to keep in mind while developing learning interventions for front line sales are:
Keep it simple:
Keep your UI simple and clean. Too many colors or images can be distracting for the user. Learning interventions aren’t designed to awe your audience they should be designed to engage your audience.
Involve business stakeholders:
Quite often, the ground reality is different than we may perceive. It is imperative not only to take inputs from your business stakeholders but also create a UAT mechanism whereby the to the first draft of your intervention is released to actual business users and based on their feedback relevant changes are made.
Make your content available in local languages:
Localizing your content can help in engaging the last mile audience to a great extent.
Bite-size content catering to all types of learners:
Deliver content in digestible chunks. Weave a story around your content. Use infographics and visuals. Ensure that your content caters to all types of learning (visual, auditory or kinesthetic)
Close the loop:
Rolling out the intervention is only half the work done, assessing change in knowledge levels and measuring impact is essential. It is important to measure impact as a value add to business instead of measuring pre and post scores, or trainer/ program feedback scores. Check for changes in the behavior of business users, business numbers due to the intervention. Seek feedback from local representatives on how impactful or not impactful the program was.
At the end of the day do remember that interventions are meant for adding value to the organization and the business. Collaborating with the business is the key to delivering impact and value.
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Stay tuned for more such interesting chats coming up!