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Anuradha Naik, director, human resources, learning and organisational development at Emerson Process Management, talks about the value of collaborative learning networks, and how the L&D function can anticipate the future needs of the business.

The L&D function has evolved tremendously in the past few years. The reason for this evolution is attributed to several factors such as the change in demographics of the workforce which has changed the expectations of the business as well as the staff that want to learn.

Change in sophisticated technology has shaped the entire landscape of learning and development within companies. Today’s employees have new expectations of on-demand learning opportunities. Innovation and engaging learning solutions today are on-demand, that which is fast to absorb and is available in the virtual space.

Another significant change that we have seen in the past few years is the explosion of new learning offerings such as MOOCs (massive open online courses), digital learning tools, video learnings and new cloud-based learning systems.

This has offered companies a collaborative learning opportunity to integrate this in their learning management systems.

Today even the scope of L&D has changed in many companies.

Emerson’s various leadership programmes

At Emerson, we have leadership development programmes targeted to all leadership levels within the organisation starting from a first-time manager to the executive leadership level.

We also run a leadership programme that targets all those staff who are individual contributors, but will soon become people managers.

This circle of collaborative learning is a fantastic model of co-development.

In this programme they are taught to understand how a supervisor’s role differs from that of an individual contributor and what mindset change they need to have to embrace a different role.

We also run an accelerated leadership development programme for our high potential leaders that are to be groomed to become future Emerson leaders.

One key fundamental element that is common to all these leadership development programmes at Emerson is that, “A leader teaches, coaches and guides another Emerson leader”.

This circle of collaborative learning is a fantastic model of co-development.

How Emerson measures the effectiveness of its learning programmes

At Emerson we have a philosophy of the “new finishing line of learning”. What this essentially means is the learning starts once you have finished classroom training and are able to use what you have learnt to drive behavioural change.

This philosophy is at the core of our learning. It’s important to measure the effectiveness of L&D programmes as the value of the training will be measured by what one puts to work when one is back at work.

Millions of dollars are being spent as an investment in employee development and if there is no return seen on that investment, then it’s a sheer waste of the company’s resources, time and money. We measure ROI both in tangible as well as intangible forms.

We measure returns in dollar terms and also measure employees’ work satisfaction, engagement and climate.

Identifying future training needs of employees

HR/L&D, line managers and employees have a part to play in evaluating the current needs and identifying the future needs.

We know that training needs get determined by the business strategy and the employee’s capability to deliver on the business goals.

As all are equal custodians that are focused on the strategy, everyone has an equal share in employee capability development.

Business and L&D leaders have to continually reassess the learning needs and expectations and also reimagine the kind of learning experience they need to provide to staff.

Business and L&D leaders have to continually reassess the learning needs and expectations and also reimagine the kind of learning experience they need to provide to staff.

We have to move away from cookie-cutter solutions and one-size-fits-all to really narrowing down on a targeted development for every individual. When I say development, it is beyond training.

Capability development has a vast range of options from coaching to mentoring to assignments to relocations, etc.

For every learning solution, there must be included in the solution, measurement of impact and change.

Learning today has become a critical business priority for increasing skills, improving the leadership pipeline and keeping up with employees’ engagement.

L&D functions have to continuously transform themselves in building a learning culture that fits today’s times and meets today’s demand. Corporations and L&D must see a vision for the future.

We at Emerson see the vision of a collaborative learning network where networks are not only the environment of learning, but they’re also the place where problems are solved, discoveries are made and new knowledge is created.

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