All Posts in learning and development

March 26, 2021 - No Comments!

How-to Guide: How do coaching and mentoring contribute to leadership development?

how to coaching and mentoring contribute to leadership development blog banner

In today’s dynamic and disruptive business environment, the right skills play a critical role in driving future success. High performance starts at the employee level, funneling up to the team or functional level, and further to top leadership. In fact, today’s employees are tomorrow’s leaders, they shall steer the organizational ship in the right direction, taking others along in achieving the business objective. Hence, it is imperative for organizations to invest in the apt leadership development program and learning tools to continuously build future-relevant competencies.

The New-Age Performance Paradigm

Performance management has evolved over the years, from a carrot-stick approach to a developmental focus. The boundaries between performance management and L&D are fast blurring, as new skills are required to navigate the new normal. In a bid to unleash employees’ innovation, energy, and commitment, the corporate leadership training ethos is now more of ‘direct-and-develop’, than ‘command-and-control,. Such democratization and digitalization of learning have compelled organizations to expand their learning offerings to include newer tools, such as learning management software, coaching mentoring, virtual classroom platforms, and holistic learning-experience platforms.


The Need for Coaching-Mentoring as a Leadership Development Tool

Developing leaders is a pan-organizational activity today, not limited to the higher echelons of the corporate hierarchy. With hierarchical silos melting apart in a hyper-connected, digital era, mid-level managers to are expected to lead in their own right. In fact, a fundamental shift is seen in the manager-role; the role of a manager is becoming that of a coach. The modern-day manager is expected to ask questions instead of providing answers, to support employees instead of judging them, and to facilitate their teams’ development instead of dictating what has to be done. Hence, coaching and mentoring find application for leadership development across levels, from mid-level to senior-level employees.

Another important transformation driving the need for coaching-mentoring is the attitude towards capability development. Organizations have realized that continuous learning is the only way to stay relevant and future-ready, and hence, coaching-mentoring may prove a powerful tool to cultivate a continuous learning culture.


Coaching or Mentoring: What is right for your employees?

To effectively use coaching and mentoring for leadership development training, it is important to understand how they differ. Coaching is focused on building specific Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude (KSA), making it more performance-based or role-based for the present needs. Mentoring, on the other hand, is more relationship-based and focuses on holistic development i.e. professional, personal, and even spiritual; and is more ongoing in nature. These differences complement each other, making both modalities valuable and necessary in building sustainable leaders. It is up to L&D to be blend both together in the right manner and curate a powerful, unbeatable offering for developing future leaders.

While the conventional concepts of coaching and mentoring apply, the rise of future-skills such as digital skills and social skills offer organizations the opportunity to institutionalize reverse-mentoring- a concept where young employees who are digital-natives (such as millennials) coach older employees on the new-age skills.


Assimilating Coaching-Mentoring into the Leadership Development Strategy

To truly make coaching and mentoring an integral part of executive leadership training, L&D professionals must carefully curate the finer details, every step of the way.

Formalizing Coaching-mentoring as a Process: This starts with outlining the coaching-mentoring need to designing or sourcing the appropriate tool, to implementing the solution in a phased manner. A formalized coaching process with process-steps factored into the learning tool is the best way to make a real skill-building impact.

Building A Coaching Culture: Coaching must become institutionalized into the nuances of organizational learning, especially in executive development programs and processes. Only then can it bring about real and sustained skill-change. This is possible only when leaders themselves act as icons of futuristic learning and become coaches/mentors to support and guide employees. Streamlining the process-aspect is a bare-basic hygiene factor, but L&D must focus a lot more on the people aspect. L&D leaders need to drive a mindset change and for this, leaders must espouse values such as openness and transparency, collaboration, shared learning, and so on. Encouraging developmental dialogue amongst people is instrumental to coaching-mentoring success. Coaching-mentoring readiness requires a very different set of values and behaviors, which shall then entrench into a coaching culture.

Coaching as an Organizational Capability

 To instill the right values and behaviors and foster such a culture, organizations must treat coaching-mentoring as a capability in itself. This means that coaching-mentoring must be treated as a core managerial skill so that managers and coaches truly relate to the coaching culture and take proactive efforts to become effective coaches and mentors. For example, coaching and mentoring demand significant manager-time and attention, and in the business of day-to-day work, coaching-mentoring may take a slip. Hence, it is important to educate managers on the “why” i.e. show them the purpose. When managers and leaders coach or mentor with a clear purpose, they may be able to better see the collateral benefits of coaching-mentoring. A top-down inspiration also works well i.e. creating “coaching-mentoring models” in the top leadership, and constantly communicating how they connect with employees can make people realize that coaching-mentoring is a core organizational capability. Last but not the least, L&D needs to empower managers and leaders by making powerful digital tools available and accessible. Applying emerging technologies such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to coaching-mentoring tools can provide managers with real-time performance data. This, in turn, may encourage them to stop monitoring and controlling employees, and following a more developmental and democratic people-management approach. To encourage actual adoption, HR must educate managers to use and navigate the modules on learning tools and platforms, ideally in a multi-device setup. A seamless user-experience is first and foremost in creating a ‘pull’ towards coaching-mentoring.

Above all, coaching-mentoring learning-actions must be well-integrated with other talent functions and systems such as performance management systems, learning systems, total rewards systems, HRMS, etc. so that it is treated as a core organizational capability.

Coaching and mentoring is not a one-time intervention, it is an ongoing commitment involving the time, effort, and investment of employees, managers, and leaders alike. To truly imbibe coaching-mentoring as a part of the leadership development strategy, L&D must gain the continued buy-in of the CXO suite. L&D needs to build a solid business case, such that the cause of leadership development is co-owned by business, L&D, HR and top leadership,  and not just by L&D folks.


Sources / References:


  1. LinkedIn-Leading-with-Learning-Insights-and-Advice-Report -

March 23, 2021 - No Comments!

How-to Guide: Implementing Coaching & Mentoring in the workplace post COVID-19

implementing coaching and mentoring post covid-19

The year 2020 opened new realities as businesses had to adapt to the COVID-induced new normal. As entire nations went into lockdown and businesses shut down, virtually became the go-to way of working. While essential services continued the field, a huge segment of the employee population was forced to work remotely, almost overnight. Business priorities changed and new competencies emerged because employees had to rise up to the occasion and perform in earlier unheard-of ways. Moreover, organizations had to engage with these people differently, to keep them motivated in an impersonal virtual environment. Employee engagement, learning & development, and performance management took on a new avatar, as HR and business leaders strove to engage their people in the disruptive environment.

The L&D and Coaching-mentoring Outlook during COVID-19

66% of global L&D professionals agree that their function has become a much more strategic part of their organization. CXOs have reported a 3X increase in training efforts during the lockdown and have seen virtual learnings breaking down legacy barriers.

L&D took on a strategic role. The development focus increased, as upskilling and reskilling became a CXO agenda. As learning went virtual, eLearning solutions became mainstream. Organizations hustled to convert physical formats such as Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to virtual formats such as Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) and Self-paced learning. This was done across organizational levels, and especially for executive development, as leadership became a critical competency to ride over the crises. As managers we're expected to lead and coach their team members, L&D needed to design the learning experience while upholding the humane elements of mental health, happiness, and holistic well-being. Softer skills such as emotional resilience, mindfulness, and relearning emerged as critical future-skills. This demanded a coaching-mentoring developmental focus. During the pandemic, L&D professionals took to exploring the right learning experience platform to establish virtual coaching and virtual mentoring. This need remains in post-pandemic times too.

Step-by-step guide for implementing Coaching and Mentoring post COVID-19

Institutionalizing a virtual coaching and mentoring process should be a well thought through exercise:

  • Conceptualization: L&D must move away from the cookie-cutter approach and create a personalized and relatable learning experience for both learner and coach/mentor. The construct of coaching must be aligned with the business needs of the organization. Hence, L&D must work closely with the business and the C-suite at the concept stage to create business-relevant and engaging content.
  • Design: Coaching and mentoring modules must be ingrained in the virtual training platforms, by putting in place a proper process. L&D may choose to invest in existing coaching tools and mentoring tools, for which they should do a thorough assessment of digital learning solutions available in the market, to suit one’s talent outcomes. Many eLearning companies have coaching-mentoring modules as a part of their eLearning solutions, it is up to L&D leaders to don the business hat and identify what works for the business and what does not.
  • Initiation: Any learning intervention requires an extensive change management process for people to adopt and embrace it. Before directly implementing the coaching solution or mentoring solution, L&D must orient stakeholders to the new process through extensive education.
  • Implementation: An initial pilot test in any team or function can help gauge the readiness for pan-organization implementation. Technical implementation should be such that the tool provides a glitch-free and seamless user-experience because a great employee experience is essential to ensure the adoption of coaching-mentoring as a way of life. Above, all managers and leaders must take ownership and responsibility to coach their people, so HR must drive a formal process for coaching-mentoring.
  • Assessment: It is important to track learning progress through qualitative inputs and metrics. According to the Kirkpatrick model, L&D must try to achieve Level 3 (Behaviour) and Level 4 (Results) outcomes, but in the nascent stages, it is also important to track operational metrics such as completion rates. Seeking qualitative feedback also goes a long way in gaining useful behavioral insights and enabling continuous improvement in the process.


The Right Blend of High-Tech and High-Touch

The virtualization of coaching and mentoring is the way ahead. The efficiency and convenience of technological tools need to be balanced with the softer human-element. L&D needs to complement the tool-experience with timely and quality human interventions. L&D must build coaching as a core capability, by seeking the dedicated involvement of managers and leaders. Striking the right balance between high-tech and high-touch will help curate the best learning experience, and thereby encourage people to adopt a coaching ‘mindset’.

Fostering a Coaching Mindset

L&D and leaders’ roles do not end with implementing coaching and mentoring processes and tools. In fact, this is just the beginning. Coaching and mentoring success requires a ‘growth’ and ‘developmental’ mindset across employees, and this, in turn, demands an extensive change management exercise. For coaching to be entrenched as a core organizational capability, L&D must create a ‘pull’ by providing the best employee experience. Constant communication i.e. highlighting success stories, and portraying leaders as successful coaches and mentors, will make employees ‘aspire’ for the coaching or mentoring experience. Leaders may talk about their leadership journeys i.e. how coaching and mentoring helped them pave their careers the way they wanted while aligning with the business needs. Such communication must be backed up with the right educational resources to encourage people to adopt coaching and mentoring.

The impact of coaching and mentoring is not limited to mere leadership development training but extends to broader agendas such as employee engagement and wellbeing. Due to the decentralization of leadership, coaching-mentoring finds value across hierarchies and is a powerful tool for organization-wide people-transformation. Hence, L&D must constantly seek business buy-in to make it an integral part of the leadership development strategy.

Source and Reference

  1. LinkedIn-Leading-with-Learning-Insights-and-Advice-Report

March 17, 2021 - No Comments!

Transformation is Not Just Another Change

transformation is not just another change blog page banner

'Transformation' has become the buzzword over the last decade. Not just that, it has replaced 'change' in the business vocabulary. But are the two words the same in meaning and essence?

Before I say a big No, I think it is essential to make a case for both change and transformation and draw out the similarities and differences.

For the sake of an informed argument, let us first look at how each is defined and then call out the parameters on which we can compare the two.

In the dictionary, 'change' is described as 'to substitute or replace something.' Whereas 'Transformation' is defined as 'a complete change, usually into something with an improved appearance or usefulness.' 

These descriptions bring two pictures to my mind; that of a snake and a caterpillar. When a snake sheds its skin, it changes, but when a caterpillar emerges from a pupa and turns into a butterfly, it transforms.

Still, sounds similar?

Understanding the difference today is far more crucial than ever before, especially when enterprises are faced with two of the biggest challenges ever. The first, most unprecedented challenge is that of surviving the pandemic. And the second is of meeting and seizing the opportunity of digital business acceleration.

The sheer magnitude and complexity of these challenges call for a complete shift in how we do things and how we approach them. What has worked so far will not work anymore. With entire industries being reshaped, organizations must rethink their strategy, rebuild their leadership capabilities, reinforce their talent pools, and revamp their culture. That does not sound like a mere change now, does it?

Change can be small and incremental or large and complex. It emanates from the desire to do things differently, to achieve faster, cheaper, and better results. It needs constant monitoring and maintenance. It is limited to changes at the level of process or procedures. These processes and procedures have dedicated owners who continuously measure them against set metrics that point to continuous improvements. It is a short-term response to the market forces and is based on assumptions. It is not significant in impact as it is limited to the internal mechanics of an organization's functions.

E.g., Security upgrades, ERP software migration, entering new verticals based on past success in similar spaces.

Transformation, however, is almost always significant in its magnitude of impact. It demands a complete shift from what you have been so far and aimed for so far as an organization. The goals are not merely incremental but completely new. Unlike change, which is based on past success stories, transformation is a quantum shift from what you did or were before. The point of reference is from this time on. It is future-looking.

To be able to do something completely different, anew, requires a fundamental evolution. Transformation requires modifying core beliefs and long-term behaviors, sometimes in profound ways, to achieve the desired results. You begin by questioning why you do what you do and the way you do it. It is an inward-facing exercise requiring a complete overhaul of an organization's makeup, strategy, capability, and culture. Since it alters the organization's carbon, it has a far-reaching impact on the entire organization and the ecosystem the organization thrives in.

In the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, companies quickly shifted to a work-from-home model. This was a momentary change in the way they operated. The idea was to go back to the way we worked before, as soon as we overcome the problem at hand. But Slack's announcement that they are permanently moving to a hybrid workforce model that eliminates the idea of 'headquarters' as the heart of its operations in June 2020 is a transformation.

Digital change and digital transformation each have a different focus. While moving to cloud-based project management will deliver efficiency is a change initiative, increasing data performance through migration to the cloud is a transformation. Entering new markets based on historic data is change, but big-data-driven marketing automation is transformation.

In simple terms, when you improve processes and procedures intending to be efficient by upgrading technology, you are undertaking change. But when you leverage technology in every aspect of your business and fundamentally rethink how you work with it and through it, it is a transformation.

It is the intent and magnitude of shift and impact that sets the two apart. And these examples clearly show that: change is a short-term enabler that helps an organization quickly adapt or respond to external factors like trends and shifting demands; transformation, however, redefines what success looks like and how you plan to get there.

March 15, 2021 - No Comments!

Survey Report: Impact of COVID-19 on L&D

the impact of covid-19 on L&D research report y KNOLSKAPE

With the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and organizations faced sudden slowdown and uncertainty. Lockdown forced people to work in radically new ways, and organizations rediscovered and repurposed ‘how to work and sustain’. Leaders had to balance the new business priorities while finding ways to engage and leverage their people. Workforce issues became central business issues and this compelled the HR organization to respond quickly and creatively.

KNOLSKAPE recently conducted a survey with global leaders from the L&D space to understand the various challenges with their learners and L&D function. The report throws light on showcasing the emerging trends and insights identified from the survey, research, and interviews.

Inside the report.
  1. The Upskilling-Reskilling Need
  2. Challenges for Organizational Learning
  3. Long Term Trends
  4. The Skills of the Future
  5. Way Ahead


October 19, 2020 - No Comments!

Learning and Development During The Time Of COVID-19

Author Aditi A Kashyap

COVID -19 is changing the way people learn and work across the world. With unpredictability comes trepidation. Few could have predicted the way COVID-19 would ravage the world, casting uncertainty over the future and leaving everyone’s personal and professional lives in limbo.

As the world grapples with the pandemic, the learning and development industry is making efforts to create innovative ways of learning using digital solutions. The pandemic has largely influenced the way we learn, work, and interact with people.

learning and develpoment during the time of covid
5 reasons for shifting to VILT infographic

5 Reasons For Shifting To Virtual Instructor-led Sessions

  1. Cost optimization:

There are no travel and logistics costs associated with online learning and it is more cost-effective compared to classroom learning

  1. Flexibility

Virtual learning gives learners the opportunity to access courses on demand and learn from anywhere at any time. It also allows them to revisit the concepts which enable greater retention of the learning

  1. Shorter training time

Classroom sessions can go on for days. Virtual sessions take a much shorter time to be conducted and this means that the learner can learn the same concepts in much lesser time

  1. Learner-centric

Since learning is “on-demand”, learners have more control to go through learning at their own pace and convenience. They can always refer to the training if needed.

  1. Learning retention

According to a study by the Research Institute of America, the learning retention rate is in the range of 25% - 60% for eLearning, whereas it is 8% - 10% for face-to-face training

How L&D professionals make the best of the pandemic situation?

  • Convert Instructor-Led Training programlearning retention statss to Virtual Instructor-led training programs 

Asking a facilitator to send a recording of the training to participants is definitely boring and can draw out a learner’s interest. Ensure that the facilitator is enthusiastic enough to impart knowledge virtually by using different modalities- videos, infographics, interactions, quizzes, facilitator-led group discussions, and debates.

  • Build new topics on skill development and emotional well-being

Offer the best of courses to your learners on their area of interest that will help them build on their existing skillsets relevant to their job roles. As we are living in challenging times, it is also important to have the know-how to manage ourselves as our personal well-being has a direct bearing on our professional development. Create new content for topics like emotional well-being and positive psychology, and get experts to deliver it.

  • Make micro-learning a regular feature

Create a culture of continuous learning by sending regular learning material to your learners. This could be in the form of videos, articles, or interactive quizzes. Gamify the learning experience by conducting virtual quizzes that induce a sense of competition among the learners.

  • Introduce more collaboration tools

Have discussion forums in place on collaborative learning platforms such as LMS, Slack, etc., Introduce new discussion topics and open comment threads. This will minimize the loss felt by learners used to in-person discussions.

  • Stay connected and keep your communication regular

It is natural for learners to disengage themselves in a virtual setup. A sense of complacency might set in among learners for having worked from home for very long. It is important to regularly inform your learners about the ongoings in the organization, about Learning and Development initiatives, and follow up with them on learning completion of ongoing training initiatives. Look out for avenues to regularly engage your learners.

The only way out is to embrace the new norm of virtual learning. Organizations must take definitive steps to be as innovative as possible to pique learner’s interest in learning virtually.

aditi kashyap roubd logoAbout the Author

Aditi A Kashyap is a Senior Associate, Marketing at KNOLSKAPE. Her interest to write about learning and development trends comes fuelled by her professional background as a learning consultant having a keen interest to understand a learner’s psyche.

January 22, 2020 - Comments Off on Six L&D Strategies To Adopt and Become a Future-Proof L&D Team

Six L&D Strategies To Adopt and Become a Future-Proof L&D Team

L&D Blog-2

Donald Fomby -author

In the 21st century, we have seen a great shift in the challenges modern organizations face. Instead of the previous issue of talent acquisition and management, one of the burning questions today is employee retention.

With high-quality Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) and perks, the goal of modern organizations is to make employees engaged, independent, empowered and valued.

This is especially prominent with millennials being a large part of the global workforce. It's a generation that's notorious for career-hopping and swift job changes. By 2020, half of the American workforce will be comprised of millennials. In many countries, like India and Indonesia, the millennial cohort has already surpassed the other generational groups within the workforce.

Companies are quickly adapting to this change and the insight that millennial employees prioritize learning as one of the key EVPs they look for in a company. According to Research and Markets, online training is currently provided by 77% of US companies.

To stay ahead of the curve and come up with the best innovative ideas for L&D in your company, here are some of the best examples of key characteristics of modern L&D departments:

  1. Support Peer-to-Peer Learning

A great way to set up effective learning and development strategies in the office is to promote peer-to-peer learning. Well, this method is not new. But it still works perfectly for both big and small organizations. Today, this method is practiced all over Silicon Valley with some of the top companies like Google and Amazon.

At Google, the peer-to-peer learning and training program is called G2G (Googler-to-Googler). This training structure currently hosts 80% of all tracked training sessions at this company. This means that peer-to-peer learning is Google’s number one resource for learning and development.

Google’s approach is great for promoting a company culture that places a high value on learning. This is done by making the employees aware that they have a right and need to learn. G2G is also a great program because it allows Googlers to give back to their colleagues and share their knowledge with people who they work with.

Facebook also has a peer-to-peer learning program called FLiP (Facebook Leadership in Practice), in which leaders and managers receive coaching and feedback from their peers. It consists of team-building exercises, peer-to-peer feedback sharing sessions and executive coaching.

2. Personalize the Learning Experience for Individual Employees

Modern HR practices are all about approaching the employee as an individual and personalizing the company’s approach according to employee needs, traits and preferences. This is also valuable in the L&D program.

One company that stands out with personalized learning and training sessions is Facebook. According to the company, the organization culture “fosters a culture of continuous learning”.

The L&D program at Facebook is designed to approach each employee personally and provide an individual learning course. Every new engineer who joins the company goes through an intensive six-week program called Bootcamp.  The program helps to immerse the new engineer into the Facebook codebase and gives the new employee greater flexibility in choosing a project.

A small number of rotating senior engineers work as mentors and coach new engineers. The mentors are responsible for reviewing bootcampers’ codes and answering each and every question that new engineers might feel ashamed to ask. Senior engineers from across the engineering teams also help new employees to learn. They give a bunch of tech talks on a broad range of the technologies that Facebook uses. And most importantly, the vast majority of bootcamp graduates agree that diving into the code with personalized support is the best way to learn.

A highly personal approach is also reflected in Facebook’s Engage Coaching Program. This is a program designed for new managers, who are connected to an executive coach as soon as they go through onboarding. With an emphasis on management skills and organizational strategies, the executive coach helps new managers to shine at their new roles. This program involves using case studies, coaching circle exercises with executive team members, and team-building activities.

However, it’s worth mentioning that personalization is not about coaching and mentoring only.  It’s also about the usage of simulations and other immersive games. Simulation-based learning helps to create a more active, productive environment in which it’s easier for employees to gain first-hand knowledge of tools, programs, and devices. Simulation allows learners to test actual sample scenarios and situations and to learn from their personal mistakes.

3. Learning through Fun Competition

No matter how old employees are and what position they hold, they like to compete. It's just human nature. People tend to participate in competition not to get a specific reward but to satisfy the self-esteem need – to show that they are better and smarter than others.

And that explains why gamification works effectively in the workplace. By using game-based elements like leaderboards, points, and badges, companies invoke the feeling of competition and engage employees in learning and development, without necessarily enticing learners with real-world, tangible motivations. In other words, Gamification promotes learning for the sake of learning, but in a fun and engaging manner (Tangible rewards are just a bonus!).

Box, a cloud content management company, held a little L&D competition when they first started cooperating with Udemy. The name of the promotion was “25 x 25 x 25“, meaning that the first 25 persons to watch 25 minutes of Udemy courses would win $25 gift cards.

Another example of a fun competition using Udemy courses is from the company Canadian Pacific. This railway company regularly uses Udemy courses to expand the skill set of their IT teams. To increase their motivation and add a bit of fun into the mix, the company organized a contest in teams where pairs competed in answering questions from learning courses on Udemy, with prizes for the winning team.

You can introduce this to your employees as well because some people thrive in a competitive environment. Every time you turn something into a game, it's much more pleasurable!

4. Introduce Interactive Learning

New technologies give us unlimited possibilities for devising interesting and effective learning and development courses. That’s why many companies opt for interactive learning platforms to add a dimension of educational entertainment (or shortly “edutainment”) to their training efforts.

The key benefit of the edutainment (“learning while you have fun”) concept is that having fun releases dopamine in the brain, which makes a person more receptive to the experience. Making education fun allows learners to immerse themselves in the learning process and have a more retentive, positive impact from their learning.

A great example of edutainment is Slack’s Certification training, developed by the company’s Director of Learning, Kristen Swanson. The training program is inspired by Choose Your Own Adventure books, where users choose which actions to take and witness the consequences of their choices.

“The Slack certification app gives people the opportunity to make bad choices and see what happens or to make good choices and see what happens”, Swanson said.

The training starts with the user selecting a character, along with the description of his job duties and role. Upon starting, the user starts interacting with the chatbot to perform a particular task.

5. Switch to Micro-learning

Huge courses and seminars can be daunting for young employees for a few reasons. Firstly, such digital-age issues as shortening attention spans and distractions from smart devices negatively affect the way modern employees learn and work. Secondly, the recency effect (retaining the most recent piece of information the learner receives) and the primacy effect (retaining the first piece of information the learner receives) also influence the learning process.

That’s why, according to psychologists and HR experts, you should offer L&D materials in tiny bits, and not in huge chunks of material. According to research, learning is most effective in small, highly focused sessions lasting from 15 to 30 minutes.

There are many apps and online tools that have answered this demand for micro-learning, such as Grovo, TAG or Blinkist. We definitely shouldn’t underestimate the power of quick learning sessions, because they can easily build up to be even more effective than a huge quantity of information overloaded at once.

6. Set up Learning Time Blocks Wisely

The concept of  “setting up learning time blocks” was rather popular a few years ago. But today, Josh Bersin and other experts in the field say that this concept doesn’t work. They state that professionals are not able to set aside time specifically for learning and that they always prioritize their work over the learning process. Josh Bersin is advocating the idea of “Learning in the Flow of Work” as a primary learning solution for modern companies.

But the truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It always depends on the company and the methodology it uses to train its employees. For example, US visual media organization Getty Images regularly holds “WeLearn Wednesday”. Each Wednesday, the company’s L&D representative shares a course recommendation through Slack, and that brings results.

Another tactic that Getty Images used to motivate their employees to take a course was to post a photo of the company’s Chief HR Manager learning at his desk. The photo resulted in a significant increase in the number of employee course enrollments.

If the “learning days” training structure seems to be inappropriate for your company, you should consider using the “learning months” structure. If the learning process in your company is predominantly experiential and immersive, you will see a significant increase in the consumption of self-directed learning.


Using examples of best practices from top tier companies can teach you how to up your L&D game to the next level.

By introducing new concepts and structures into the way your HR team handles learning and development, you can increase employee satisfaction and boost your employer branding. Make sure you keep up with all the recent developments in the industry because things are changing fast and there are new platforms and learning methodologies cropping up every day.

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  • June 6, 2019 - No Comments!

    Four Blind Spots for L&D Teams to Watch Out For


    (This is part 1 of a 3-part series on the role of L&D in digital transformations)

    In our conversations with learning leaders, one thing is clear – everyone seems to be talking about the role L&D needs to play in helping organizations succeed in their digital transformation initiatives.

    A key point to consider, however, is that, today, L&D is operating in unchartered territory. The newness and speed of change driven by digital disruption is putting pressure on the best of business leaders, and learning leaders are no different in this regard.

    This blog series is inspired by these conversations, our observations and research in this space, with a view to share knowledge and best practices.

    Part 1 of this series is focused on the most common blind spots that we feel L&D leaders are likely to experience. Part 2 will talk about some key areas where learning leaders need to upskill themselves. And finally, Part 3 will focus on best practices and ideas for learning leaders to bring about in their learning strategies.

    Learning point #1:

    The misconception that management has all the tools, knowledge, skills, time and resources to cascade the vision

    • It is assumed that once the transformation strategy is defined, the management team is uniformly and consistently communicating the story down the line, and that they have the necessary capabilities and time to do so. That is not the case.
    • This is a common misconception. I mean, these guys have a business to not only run, but transform at its core. Even if they have the capabilities, would they really have the time and energy to bring everyone on board. The resounding (and humane) answer is no. It’s our job as learning specialists to guide them in this regard.
    • For a successful digital transformation, management requires new skills, a common language, focused approach to strategy cascading along with the support of change agents across the organization. The last one is particularly important - learning teams need to identify, assess and equip change champions to help cascade the message. This requires specific interventions to sensitize, develop mindsets and capabilities, and an execution plan for the change champions to deliver the goods.


    Learning point #2:

    “We’ve implemented it, they will adopt it”

    • Adoption of new tools is not guaranteed unless the ‘what’s-in-it-for-them’ is spelt out clearly for employees (i.e. digital ways of working). Moreover, not all employees have the same learning agility to adopt the new way of working.
    • The number of times I have had this conversation is not amusing. I have seen the sense of pride and satisfaction when I am talked through the amazing new initiatives being rolled out in the company. And within a quarter, a sense of frustration when none of the initiatives really get off the ground.
    • Why does something like this happen? It’s deceptively simple to understand, and deceptively hard to execute. In most such cases, the “what’s in it for me” just doesn’t get established. So, amidst so much of change going in, this lands up as just another initiative.
    • For a successful digital transformation, employees must be sensitized to the business context, made aware of their digital quotient, and provided specific training on topics such as how to make sense of data. I have heard of organizations spending 50% of their training hours dedicated to building context. I think that is an amazingly brave but extremely appropriate thing to do.

    Learning point #3:

    Incrementalism / lack of thinking at scale

    • One reason is that companies tend to pilot the changes in smaller groups and then scale. While this seems like a lower risk approach, it not only slows down the speed of the initiative, but also prevents valuable insights and learning from across the organization to flow in at the right time
    • Why would organizations and leaders tend to go slow with this? On the one hand, the business imperative is huge. On the other hand, there is extreme tentativeness regarding the new initiatives. Isn’t this natural? Of course, it is – why would you expose the organization to any risk when you don’t know the outcome. Unless, of course, this risk is lower than the overall risk the organization faces. Remember that only 16% of digital transformations are successful. Isn’t that reason enough to rethink the incremental approach?
    • For successful transformations, there is a need for critical mass of learning coverage across the enterprise in a systematic and sustained fashion. Key skills required for growth and survival are no longer in question. It is up to the learning leaders to identify, prioritize and execute competencies based on the business needs (more of this in part 3 of the blog)


    Learning point #4:

    Mis-assessment of what it takes to change the hardwiring / core of the organization

    • Most employees are married to the legacy business model. They don’t have a clear understanding of the economics of digital and tend to over-index on the usual competition.
    • There is a complete inability to reimagine the workplace with a sense of urgency can be a huge hindrance to digital initiatives. And let’s face it – this is the largest change initiative being experienced by an entire generation. Yet, most organizations are slow to fathom the extent of change required in the hardwiring of the organization. So, on the one hand, there are organizations best classified as digital masters – paranoid, agile, anxious. And on the other extreme are the fence sitters. Its incredible how many of them actually exist. It is no surprise then that 50% of companies that existed on the Fortune 500 list have disappeared since 2000, thanks to digital.
    • For successful transformations, organizations need to define new roles, capabilities and ways of working (e.g. being agile, rapid prototyping and failing fast, etc). Without these core changes, every new idea is going to face a huge wall of resistance from various parts of the organizations. Commonly heard statement – “How can we go agile when it takes 60 days to approve an idea, 100 days to get it off the ground, and the motivation to continue when there is complete lack of interest from my bosses”.

    Needless to say, given the nature and pace of change, these learning points also need to evolve. These learning points highlight the challenges that organizations and leaders face in adapting to the digital way of working. Overriding these challenges is only the first step – they don’t guarantee success in digital transformation. Each level of the digital transformation process comes with its own challenges. Some of these are known while most are still in a state of blur. This is because we are still in the nascent stages of digital transformation.

    What’s your experience in this regard? Please drop a mail to - I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this topic.

    Shobhit Mathur is Chief Business Officer at KNOLSKAPE. Shobhit is instrumental in ensuring that business is on a rapid growth track and delivering value to all our customers. He comes with over two decades of rich experience spanning business strategy, sales, marketing, and product management. Throughout his career, he has earned the trust of customers through successful business transformations. Shobhit is also the driving force behind KNOLSKAPE’s position as a thought leader in the talent transformation space.

    Coming soon:

    • Part 2: Key Areas Where Learning Leaders Need to Upskill Themselves
    • Part 3: Best Practices and Learning Ideas for Learning Leaders to Implement


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  • March 15, 2019 - No Comments!

    L&D priorities for 2019 – 8 goals to master this year

    L&D priorities for 2019 – 8 goals to master this year


    We’ve been in the learning and transformation space since the past 10 years now. In this time, we have worked with over 370 customers across various industries and geographies. Over the years, L&D priorities have changed slightly. While business is changing at a rapid pace, organizational learning hasn’t been able to match up just yet.

    To help L&D teams accelerate employee development and align with business, we have outlined 8 top priorities that L&D teams struggle with and must master in 2019 to become true partners to business in their organization’s digital transformation journey.

    #1 - Making learning and development employee-led

    The smartphone generation, which is over 86% of us, are addicted to our mobile phones. In fact, studies show that 8 in 10 employees carry a smartphone.

    Why is this relevant to learner-driven, self-paced learning?

    It is because the same studies show that:

    • the average amount of time employees spend on their mobile phones is 5 hours.
    • by 2020, mobile phones will surpass TVs and Laptops as the most attractive medium.
    • employees already benchmark experiences against their experience on the smartphone.

    Smartphones, social media and the internet have allowed us to access information at the click of a button. Therefore, while information is freely available, understanding and interest in different topics is unique to everyone. As a result, learning today cannot have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

    While L&D teams are busy creating learning calendars for the year, employees are busy looking externally, while they take their learning and development into their own hands, either relying on Google and Wikipedia or going on the hundreds of eLearning platforms to take up courses.

    What organizations need to be focusing on instead is:

    • Foster a learning culture, where employees are relentless focused on learning, self-improvement and development from the get-go.
    • Create the infrastructure for self-led learning, comprising a platform, content, as well as the opportunity to connect to coaches and mentors.
    • Design each employee’s career growth chart, which tells employees their viable growth within the organization, both horizontally and vertically, as well as a path to help them reach their various milestones.

    #2 - Adapting learning strategy for the millennial workforce

    Millennials have been a part of the global workforce for longer than 15 years. Yet, organizations still struggle to interact, train and engage with them. Millennials clearly articulate their needs. Organizations, however, struggle because what millennials desire drastically differs from what previous generations desire.

    What L&D teams need to keep in mind is that:

    • Millennials seek work-life integration, not balance.
    • Millennials want more out of life than just being slaves to work
    • Millennials believe in working smart, not working hard
    • Millennials believe in a learning cycle that allows then to learn-implement-measure and repeat for sustained learning
    • 71% of millennials say that the internet is their main source of news and information
    • Millennials care heavily about their well-being, wanting to be healthy and active

    It is important to keep these points in mind when creating a learning strategy or even a learning calendar. Being seated in a classroom for hours on end goes against several beliefs mentioned above. In perpetuating this archaic mode of learning, organizations are not just leaving millennials less engaged, they also run the risk of high attrition.

    So, what’s the no. 1 tip to millennial learning?

    Adopt technology. Millennials are quick to try out new technology. Google is their textbook and social media constitutes their primary mode of communication. In short, millennials are connected. ALL. THE. TIME. So, why not make use of an existing system that boasts of a high adoption rate?

    It is important to remember, however, that integration is supremely important. Millennials are used to going through multiple social networking sites, because they are connected. A photo uploaded on Instagram can be synced to Facebook as well, increasing visibility and interaction in just one swipe.

    At the end of the day, millennials live in a paradox of wanting options while also seeking a curated experience that is unique to them. Therefore, a networked-platform is crucial. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are making waves in enabling this. Are you on the bandwagon yet?

    #3 - Enhancing learner engagement:

    Research shows that 16 out of every 20 employees opt for learning and development. These individuals say that it improves employee engagement. In effect, ensuring that learning initiatives are mapped out for employee development can immediately boost employee engagement.

    To main employee engagement, and more importantly, to improve learner engagement, certain additional measures need to be taken. While 80% of employees are interested in learning and development, a majority of these individuals are high potential and high performing. They want to scale the ladder quickly. For organizations to retain these individuals, catering to their need for hyper-personalized, self-paced, high impact learning is imperative.

    How do you know if your learners are highly engaged, or engaged at all? This is a thought that applies to everyone in the workforce, irrespective of the labels that are attached to them. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

    • Is the learning real, relatable and just-in-time?
    • Is the learning personal and relevant to the learner’s context?
    • Is learning interactive?
    • Does the learning consist of a feedback mechanism?
    • Does the learning intervention fulfill the objectives effectively?
    • Is the learning creating demonstrable improvement in skill and change in behavior?
    • Is the learning providing learners with all the tools necessary for success?

    Make it a point to ask the learners these questions, rather than assume the impact learning is creating. At the same time, remember that while consistency is important, novelty is also recommended. Therefore, it is important to constantly tweak your learning strategy as market trends and learner needs are constantly changing.

    #4 - Increasing engagement of line-managers

    Let’s establish the definition of a line-manager first. For the purpose of this blog, we define a line-manager as anyone who leads a team while reporting into a manager. Therefore, anyone from a first-time manager to mid-level managers fall under the category of line-managers.

    Line-managers play a crucial role in the growth and transformation of an organization, as they carry the burden of being the link between the organization’s senior leadership and the front-line personnel. This puts them in a very precarious position. Some might say that line-managers sometimes become the punching bags, having to juggle the needs, desires, expectations and challenges of their teams as well as their leaders and the organization.

    It is, therefore, important that line-managers are engaged. A motivated line-manager is then able to motivate and influence not just his/her team, but also peers and senior leadership as well. At the same time, line-managers are also tasked with handling the dynamic business requirements of the VUCA world.  Therefore, it is important to acknowledge that the prospect of an organization’s success depends on the robustness of this team.

    It is easy to get bogged down by this level of responsibility. What is it that organizations need to do to increase engagement of this specialized category of employees?

    The answer is quite complex:

    • Not every people problem is a training problem. Yes, training does help in certain areas, but not always
    • Rewards, awards, recognition is also a common incentive given, but this rarely works

    The problem, quite often, lies in a feeling of ‘carrying the world on my shoulder’. If line-managers are expected to take care of others, who is taking care of the line-managers?

    What line-managers need is a support system where they can address their issues and seek guidance. Assigning a mentor or a coach is incredibly helpful to ensure that line-managers are motivated, engaged, high-performing and able to deliver value to business and to people.

    #5 - Maximizing return on learning

    Before we get into the specifics of maximizing returns on learning, it is important that your response to the following question is a ‘YES’:

    Can you objectively and quantitatively prove the impact and returns of your learning interventions?

    What do we mean by this?

    • Can you identify and prove a quantifiable business impact from a learning intervention?
    • Can you identify and prove a demonstrable behavior change due to a learning intervention?

    If your answer to the above questions is ‘No’, then you need to stop reading here.

    If, however, your response is ‘Yes’, then is the return on your learning investment justified? Are you getting a good return on your training investment?

    More often than not, organizations believe that they are spending more money than it is worth on training, because the returns are either untraceable or unjustifiable. Let’s lay to rest this myth that there is such a thing as spending too much on training.

    Learning is a lifelong initiative. Therefore, it involves a significant investment of time and effort, and some money. A monetary return on the investment is the most difficult to identify, because the return is not always immediate. After all, learning is effective when there is a change in the way one thinks, acts, feels and behaves. Therefore, there are more pressing questions that one must ask to determine the true return on the learning investment:

    1. Ask learners:
      • Was the learning worth the investment of time?
      • Did the learning delivery accommodate their personal learning style?
      • Was the learning engaging?
      • Did the learning meet their learning expectations?
      • Will they confidently be able to apply learning on the job?
    2. Ask managers:
      • Did learners put their learning to use on their job?
      • Are the learners able to pass on their learning and skill to others?
      • Have the managers seen a demonstrable change in the way that the learners think and act after the learning intervention?
    3. Analyze whether there has been:
      • An increase in employee engagement and motivation
      • An increase in efficiency and output
      • An increase in customer satisfaction and relationship
      • A reduction in waste and an increase in revenue

    As you can see, the answer to measurable ROI is neither a straightforward nor an easy one. It requires a fair bit of effort and analysis to come to any sort of conclusion. Technology and data, however, help with a significant part of this analysis.

    #6 - Tracing application of skill learnt through training at work

    Another major challenge with training intervention, irrespective of how long they are, is that once it is over, there is no follow-up. Six months from the completion of the learning intervention, does L&D know:

    • How much information the learners have retained?
    • If learners have developed the skills?
    • If the skills developed have sustained?
    • If skills learnt are being applied in the workplace?

    Often, the answer is no, and this is quite unfortunate. Tracking whether learners are able and willing to apply their learning on the job is important as it helps:

    • Determine the return on learning investment
    • Enhance employee engagement
    • Create a strong learning culture
    • Promote self-led learning
    • Provide opportunities to practice and improve

    Bite-sized refresher courses and quizzes, business impact projects, mobile-based engagement and social learning activities such as discussion & advocacy forums, mentorship and cross-functional collaboration all help sustain continuous learning, ensuring that knowledge is sustained and skill development is effective.

    #7 - Aligning L&D with organizational goals and strategy

    There is a misconception that Digital is about technology. People form a significant part of the digital revolution. The difference is that the way in which people will operate in the Digital Age is significantly different from ever before. Therefore, employees are expected to develop a whole new skill set and do so rapidly.

    What skills and why is it important? (Read more: KNOLSKAPE CEO describes the recipe for personal success in the face of Digital Revolution)

    The success of a business is dependent on the capabilities of its people. For an organization to meet its objectives, it is important that its workforce has the right mindset and capabilities to achieve goals. Changing business requirements means a change in the learning needs as well.

    For L&D teams to be true partners to business and effectively support business requirements, learning must align to fulfill business requirements. However, research shows that L&D is not always viewed as a strategic priority:

    • While78% of leaders surveyed believe that their L&D plan is in line with their business strategy, only 65% believe that their learning strategy is responsive to changes in the external environment.
    • Only 59%of the leaders surveyed feel that learning interventions at their organization help employees fulfill their current KPIs.
    • While 67%of respondents agree their L&D team can anticipate the training that may be required to meet the future demands of the business, only 40% Of respondents feel the L&D team has done a SWOT analysis of their business model.

    KNOLSKAPE’s ‘Bridging the Outcome Gap: Aligning Learning Needs to Business Requirements’ report highlights four key challenges as well as expert views on how to overcome them (Read the full report: Bridging the Outcome Gap).

    #8 - Aligning L&D practice with future requirement

    The speed at which the business ecosystem and requirements are changing is alarming. Organizations, leaders and L&D teams must be cognizant of these changes, while predicting what is likely to happen next. With technology and digital rapidly overtaking several roles and processes, employee skills also require a major overhaul.

    The challenge?

    Employees need to be prepared for the future while they fulfill current requirements. Therefore, it is a constant juggle between the NOW and the NEXT. This is a struggle that is likely to never go away, because changes are taking place faster and faster each day.

    New challenges, however, require a new approach. After all, as has been proved time and again, what has gotten us here will not take us forward. The Deloitte report on Global Human Capital Trends stated that nearly every CHRO surveyed reported that “their companies are not developing skills fast enough or leaders deep enough” to meet the challenges of the Digital Age.

    Therefore, it is obvious that one key skill that is needed is that of Agility. This is something that L&D teams themselves must inculcate first, before developing it in employees. What does this mean?

    • L&D needs to get comfortable with the idea of constant change and get ahead of it rather than waiting for change to happen before they respond to it
    • L&D needs to develop design thinking skills, the ability to create and test innovative ideas to solve their talent problem
    • L&D needs to look at skills as part of a large network of application, rather than independent abilities to master
    • Most importantly, L&D needs to have a coherent understanding of digital and how it impacts them, their employees and business

    Across the next few months, we will share research, tips and tricks for L&D teams to master these priorities. Subscribe to the KNOLSKAPE blog and be the first to know when new content is available.

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  • January 21, 2019 - No Comments!

    The Future of Learning – Why, What and How

    About the Webinar: According to research by the Cognizant Centre for the Future of Work, when it comes to preparing people for jobs in the future of work, both corporates and higher educational institutes are slow to revamp their education and training models or collaborate with each other. Research by the KNOLSKAPE Insights Centre shows that learning mode is on the cusp of disruption, and how we learn tomorrow will be markedly different from how we do so today.

    In this exclusive webinar, Manish and Rajiv unravel the why, what and how of the future of learning, and discuss the many possibilities that organizations can look forward to, given the disruption in learning methods.

    Speaker details:

    Manish Bahl, Head - APAC, Centre for the Future of Work, Cognizant; Rajiv Jayaraman, Founder and CEO, KNOLSKAPE.

    Manish Bahl heads the Center for the Future of Work (cFOW) in Asia Pacific and is responsible to develop original thought leadership content related to Code Halos, Digital Transformation, and the Future of Work. Rajiv Jayaraman is the Founder CEO at KNOLSKAPE and is the author of the upcoming book Clearing the Digital BLUR.