Sometimes a few conversations are capable of changing your life. In the world of Corporate Chatter, most of them go unnoticed or ignored. Whereas, a few of them stay, and probably also change your life!
Here is the story of my life-changing corporate conversation.
It was May of 2013. It was my first month at my first job. I had been recruited as a young Management trainee in a big German Multinational Company. It was my first experience of wearing a crisp formal shirt and a nice trouser. White Shirt and Blue trouser, with matching brown belt, brown shoes and brown watch! Hair neatly combed, a curious 21 year Old Boy is just stepping up to the world of Adulthood. Ready to make a mark in the Corporate World! Delighted to be surrounded by 14 other star Management Trainees recruited from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Staying at the company guest house in the beautiful city of Kolkata, I still remember taking a photograph with a thumbs up outside the Corporate Headquarters. I still fondly remember my excitement, That feeling of growing up!
Although nervous at first, coupled with the feeling of missing my family, home and Vadapav, it was soon replaced by cheer and enthusiasm. I distinctly remember the words of our CHRO greeting us in the conference room ‘ Welcome to the family!’ I still remember the feeling was so comforting. It felt like a family. In the due course of our initial training, me and other 14 curious minds understood how a multi-billion dollar Multinational Company works. How does Sales function, what is exactly marketing, how do products move from plants to our distributors and the final consumer? How do internal administration, HR and supply chain work? We even learnt how to weld metals together! The first 3 months of the job was filled with fascination where every morning we were waking up towards learning something new. Out of all these fun-filled learning days, One evening I distinctly recall. It was an evening where one of the most senior-most executives from Singapore was visiting us. Along with Indian Managing Director and other senior executives, there was a reception held where he wanted to meet all the Management Trainees over some dinner and drinks. I was so looking forward to that evening. I recall buying a new tie just for that evening. After all, I wanted to make a stellar first impression! That evening, we were sitting across a round table, having a nice chatter about experiences so far. I was sitting next to the Managing Director of India and sipping super delicious wine and discussing our learning experiences coupled up with light humour. It was difficult to keep up with his drinking speed!
The Senior Executive from Singapore was also casually chatting with all of us after a brief address wishing us luck for our foray into the corporate world. He came to our table, and after a firm handshake, sat next to each of the trainees and had a small one on one conversation. Looking at such conversations he is having with everyone, I wondered. What would he be asking? Our goals, our ambitions, our just getting to know us better? I quickly started thinking of all the smart answers which I could answer to him. After chatting with a few other trainees, he came and sat next to me for a chat. My legs were shaking, but the wine did help to soothe my nervousness. “So Omkar from Mumbai Right? , Hope you are having a great time at our company’
Most definitely. Loving all the learning experiences, especially when we were learning about…. Omkar, wait. Before you tell me about all that, I really want you to tell me, ‘ What do you feel when you are at your best? What is that emotion?” I was like wow. I needed time to collect my thoughts. This was an unexpected question. He realised my struggle and told me to relax and take a couple of minutes to think about it. While I was thinking, he took a paper napkin from the table and wrote something while I was thinking.
“Hi Sir. I think I know what I feel when I am at my best. I feel very curious. I am in a happy state when I am curious! Interesting. I like the state of curiosity. It is a beautiful emotion indeed. Sir. How about you? What emotion do you feel when you are at your best? Omkar, I feel inspired! I feel inspired when I am at my best. And I am at my best when I am inspired! “
And he handed me that paper napkin which he had written ‘ Stay Inspired’. He patted my back and moved to the next table filled with other trainees. I kept that paper napkin and started thinking, about how to stay inspired and inspire others around me! It has been over 7 years since I have had that conversation with him. It was also the only time I had an opportunity to meet him. I changed jobs, professions, but that 5-minute conversation has had an everlasting impact on me. With my current Startup, where we are building Peer Learning, I constantly ask myself a question. How do you want your users to feel when they use our network? And all routes lead to a singular goal of making our users, our clients feel inspired. Inspired to share knowledge, inspired to learn new skills, inspired to help their colleagues. In fact, in retrospective, that one conversation with him 7 years ago might have just been the first real micro peer learning experience I have experienced. In a casual environment, in a non-structured manner. And that one small dialogue stayed with me, and ‘inspired’ me to start my own Startup. At BHyve, we understand the philosophy of motivating and inspiring employees. Forbes jots down brilliantly about 10 ways to inspire employeesand everything circles around giving them a purpose. Driving and guiding them towards a higher purpose, than that just steering them towards making more profits. Funnily enough, I think Micheal Scott from The Office wittingly said, ‘We don’t sell Paper, we sell a blank canvas for people to ideate!’ From a young management trainee to an HR Tech Entrepreneur, one thought which always stays with me is to stay inspired!
Project Oxygen was launched by Google, to get a better understanding of the attributes of highly effective managers. Google identified eight habits of its best bosses. One of them was a growth mindset.
Help your employees have a growth mindset
Every employee has a mental framework that guides how they feel, think and behave. They also have a particular implicit assumption about their own abilities. This assumption about their own abilities is termed as a “mindset”. An employee’s belief that their abilities can be cultivated and are malleable if efforts are invested can be characterized as an employee having a growth mindset. Carol Dweck identified two types of mindsets,
Employees having a growth mindset believe that their brain and talent are just the starting points and with the help of practice and persistence, they can enhance their skills and intelligence. On the contrary, employees with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are static and can hardly be altered.
Let’s consider a situation: A manager is providing constructive feedback to his employee. If the employee has a fixed mindset, he will perceive this feedback as a situation where his inefficiency is being exposed. However, an employee with a growth mindset would perceive this feedback as an opportunity to evolve and embrace growth. The setback is not a dead end, it’s a starting point demanding a need for reflection and employing better strategies.
Mindsets are weakly correlated with personality which explains that they emerge independently. However, every employee has a mixture of both the mindsets. A research conducted by Brunette in 2013 revealed that individuals typically hold either a fixed or a growth mindset about their competencies in a particular area. Example: An employee can have a growth mindset about their ability to manage data yet have a fixed mindset about their ability to work with difficult customers. Various aspects can still a growth mindset:
Role of Organizational Culture
Mindsets can be planted and fostered. The environment or the culture that the employees work in, influences the endorsement of either a fixed or a growth mindset. Murphy and Dweck in a research conducted in 2010, explained that in a “culture of genius”, managers and employees believe that talent and intelligence are fixed attributes which drive the performance. They will always have the smartest guy in the room and anyone who disagrees with this view is dismissed as someone who is not “bright enough to get it.”
On the contrary, in a “culture of learning” rather than recruiting a skilled workforce, organizations invest in the learning of the employees. Talent and intelligence are built.
Employees are likely to hold a fixed mindset if their managers give them feedback which focuses on “who they are” and not on “what they did.” Statements such as “You are brilliant when it comes to delivering deadlines” implies the possession of an underlying ability due to which the expected performance was delivered. The employee has been labelled as “brilliant” by the manager and he tries to live up to it. However, labelling will result in shunning challenging situations where the employee’s ability to be brilliant or gifted is jeopardized.
A manager promotes a growth mindset when he praises the employee based on the effort and initiative that he has invested. Employees are more likely to invest in knowledge and skill in the face of a challenging situation. Challenge is perceived as an opportunity for developing their deficiencies. Thus, a growth mindset encourages the enthusiasm for development in an employee.
View about investing efforts
Employees with a fixed mindset believe that expending greater amounts of efforts to learn or perform well indicates a lack of talent to succeed. They are focused on validating their ability rather than developing it. Employees with a growth mindset reason their underperformance due to lack of efforts invested rather than helplessness. They dedicate themselves to a task with the power of effort. Thus, they hold positive beliefs about investing efforts which facilitate employee engagement.
Open-minded V/S Close-minded.
Employees with a fixed mindset are more likely to focus on stereotype-consistent information which results in close-mindedness. On the other hand, employees with a growth mindset are more open towards information, this open-mindedness helps them to transcend stereotype-consistent information.
A study conducted by Mangels et.al in 2006 demonstrated how growth mindsets facilitate alertness to new useful information. This open-minded adaptability proves to be an asset in various work roles involving customer service, health care etc. Especially on a managerial level, they have to be alert in recognizing and then responding constructively to unexpected developments.
Interacting and dealing with co-workers is an important part of almost all job roles. In order to yield meaningful interaction, it is essential to adopt a helpful, respectful and an open attitude. Mindsets determine whether these interactions turn out to be meaningful or make the other person feel judged, disconnected and frustrated.
An employee with a growth mindset will employ a consultative and a non-judgemental approach to discover a win-win alternative to a problem situation. Evidently, an employee with a fixed mindset in a problem situation will blame others, invest energy in seeking revenge all of which results in self-defeating behaviour.
In conclusion, a growth mindset is not the only way to enable employee engagement. Example: When an employee is facing high work-role demands and experiences lack of organizational support, growth mindset may not lead to high engagement.
However a growth mindset will play a major role in how the employee perceives this situation, this, in turn, will guide his thoughts, feelings and behaviour which will impact employee engagement. If a manager is not carrying out his responsibility the employee would react with negative thoughts, decreasing their commitment. Employees with a growth mindset can educate the managers by fostering the desired support which will lead to a manager-employee exchange that produces engagement.
Organizations have employees who themselves are great sources to learn, at BHyve we help the employees learn from each other by enabling a growth mindset. To know more, contact: www.BHyve.io
Sharing Sales Best practices can boost the morale of your Sales Team.
‘Congratulations! Now tell us, How did you Close that Sale?’
Our Answer: Peer Learning!
Consider an instance: There is a huge plate of food with multiple dishes (mind you all dishes are something you had wanted to try or already your favourite). Now I tell you to eat all of them in one day. Despite being motivated to savour all of them, there will come a point in the day where you would develop, though momentarily yet an aversive attitude towards the dishes which were something that you desired once upon a time.
So is the situation with training. Consider an all-day sales training program. Let us all be optimistic and think that all the sales employees are hungry to learn and have come empty stomach to savour every piece of learning offered to them. There will come a point when they will experience information overload which will affect their motivation (here hunger) for learning.
Back to the Huge plate of food, if instead of eating EVERYTHING in a day I told you to eat the dishes as and when you like, one day at a time. Exactly! You would be able to savour the taste of each dish and the taste will stay in your mind for a longer time! Similarly, when the sales employee is taught daily, his hunger for learning remains active.
Naturally, a question arises how do we serve the sales employee day to day food to keep the hunger active? The answer is Peer Learning. Just as the huge plate of food was broken down into small portions of food. Peer learning breaks down the learning for an employee into bite-sized portions.
A training program offers an employee with a lot of learning in one day but peer learning enables the employee to learn daily from their team members throughout their tenure.
Peer Learning helps breakdown lengthy Sales Training Modules into Fun, Bite-Sized and Anecdotal Learning Experiences
Sales Managers to Coaches :
As every manager, the role of the sales manager involves coaching their subordinates. However, it is important to know that apart from coaching, the sales manager has to adhere to other responsibilities such as customer interaction, administrative activities, managing sellers etc. This makes it evident that the manager is likely to struggle in coaching his subordinates on a one-on-one basis. In such a scenario employing peer learning at an organization helps in easing the load from the managers’ shoulder.
Instance: Instead of approaching the manager regarding an issue, asking a peer for their advice proves to be more effective, both, for the sales manager as well as the sales employee.
Breeding A Culture of Positivity
Ultimately you are a mixture of all the people you meet. Therefore, it becomes essential to be surrounded by a good company. Especially in a sales organization, where there is cut-throat competition. Imagine being surrounded by peers who are very lethargic and not driven by the work they do. Despite having the required skills, to a certain extent, your intrinsic motivation will be influenced by working in such an environment and within no time you will see yourself underperforming.
On the contrary, when surrounded by peers who are capable and driven by their work you put an extra effort to perform. In a sense that performance of your peers becomes a motivating factor for you. Observing and Modelling the behaviour of these top performers can help an under or a middle performer. In Fact, it also helps the other top performers to maintain and increase their potential.
SkillSharing Between Boomers and Millennials
One of the biggest advantages of peer learning in the sales department is the expertise of most experienced sales personnel in the organization. It would take these new sales employee years to learn a particular tactic that comes with experience. In such a scenario, the SME can share their insight, saving the young sales employee years of time. It’s a two-way street, meaning that enabling collaboration across generations will help the SME to learn new technology and tactics as the times and customer focus changes. This collaboration opens gates for fostering a learning culture among the organization. When SMEs and Young salespeople become peers, experience and fresh ideas, giving an organization a competitive edge.
Meaningful Water Cooler Conversations :
Those 2 mins conversations near the water cooler can be a great source of learning and bonding among the employees. There is a lot of diversity in the sales team. Diversity especially with respect to the customers they handle. Thus, each diverse customer provides a challenge to the sales employee. Such type of diversity can prove to be very challenging and stressful, ultimately leading to burn out. Having a peer who has been in a similar situation on the job, can be very helpful in combating diverse customers.
If there is a persistent problem faced by all members, brainstorming collectively, voicing their opinions and ideas can help the team reach the solution effectively and faster. Not only does the team find a solution but also feels psychologically safe. A sense of psychological well being is promoted with the feeling of safety. The employee doesn’t experience the same amount of stress as before and uses the resource to find an effective strategy. They feel recognized and the camaraderie is strengthened.
Peer Learning enables all these factors and makes it possible for the sales representatives to learn and grow in their career. At BHyve, we constantly strive to help you organization flourish by helping you materialize the benefits of Peer learning in a gamified fashion. To know more about us, contact us at www.bhyve.io
Can teams across borders reduce their differences through Peer Learning?
Employee Engagement across borders is one the most challenging part for any HR Manager! A big facet of globalised businesses is the rapid movement of talent. International Human Resource Management has become important because of the rapidly changing, highly competitive global environment. Cutthroat competition for new markets, technologies, products, investors are now making organisations send employees on international assignments more frequently.
According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Workforce Trends, 68% of organisations agree that a mobile workforce is an enabler of business and talent strategies.
These employees are referred to as expatriates. They are sent from a parent organisation to live and work in another country for a long period of time. Their goal there can be to develop new markets abroad, manage foreign subsidiaries, develop international skills, knowledge and transfer technologies.
Thus, their job involves managing the relationship between headquarters and that country. They work with and/or coach local employees, implement global business policies, customise the company offerings to suit local needs. They focus their cross-cultural interaction skills for getting the assignment done. Their interaction is characterized by clearly defined hierarchies of structural and cultural dominance and subordination.
However, one big challenge for expatriate employees is the need to understand and adapt to the local culture, specifically learning culturally appropriate behaviour. For example, An employee from the parent organisation is used to group brainstorming an idea with their co-workers. However, in the local culture, people prefer to research ideas individually. The expatriate might thus encounter difficulty in adapting to such a culture. Similarly, an expatriate who comes from a culture that encourages employees to ask questions will be in for a sudden shock when they find out that asking questions is frowned upon. Such instances make it difficult for the expatriate to adjust.
According to Project GLOBE scholars, “the dexterity to adjust one’s behaviour is a critical requirement. Not everyone can do this; to many people, it may bring into question one’s own identity”
For expatriate employees to achieve success on the goals set by the company, they must use their skills, apply and adapt to the culture in a broader sense as compared to focusing on getting the assignment done. Transnational Leadership helps in overcoming the global vs local conflict faced by the expatriate leaders.
Transnational employees help the organisation to be highly innovative, globally efficient and locally responsive. They build a heterogeneous team; this team recognizes the significance of diversity and inclusion in a global environment. They don’t focus their skills on getting the assignment done. Instead, they use their cross-cultural interaction skills on a daily basis to deal with differences on multiple business fronts like customers, employees, suppliers and stakeholders.
Transnational managers learn multiple foreign cultures, trends, tastes, perspectives, technology and approaches to conduct business. Thus, they have a global business perspective. Due to this, they are successful in creating a culturally synergistic organisational environment. They do not follow any well-defined hierarchies while interacting but treat all employees as equals. This largely benefits the employees as well as the organisation.
Can Peer Learning Help?
To foster transnational leadership and organisation can explore “Peer Learning”They can select and assess global talent by making the employee aware of their own personal cultural, emotional, moral nuances. When all the employees meet and collectively reflect on their formative years at the organisation, it creates awareness. They can then be given international assignments and cross-cultural exchange opportunities, to act on this awareness. The earlier that these experiences are offered in one’s career, the longer-lasting and more accelerated the development will be.
In order to provide employees with such an opportunity, organisations can introduce cross-border assignments. Such an assignment will require multi-cultural and diverse teams. When the employees in such a team come together they become aware of the challenges and can use their awareness to find a way out. Team members also cultivate cultural sensitivity. After the employees identify the challenges and break them into manageable tasks, peer learning can enable them at all the levels, to take roles that personally benefit them allowing them to address risks. This risk-taking is backed by support and expertise gained due to networking among peers.
Developing and communicating regularly on the progress and quality of work done in an assignment also increases the communication at different levels, fostering an affective culture. Transnational employees not only blend well with their peers but also become a critical part of the administration. Thus, these assignments can be a real career enhancer for the employees and having communicated its importance, employees are intrinsically motivated to develop skills. Enhancing the already existing talent in the organisation by using their fellow workers proves to be effective to the employees as well as the organisation.
At BHyve, we make use of technology to blend the boundaries and make the knowledge exchange easily available at your organisation. We transform the workplace into a “Learning Exchange Zone” where employees constantly learn from each other and upgrade themselves. Our sharp recommendation engine is constantly evolving to guide employees through each step of their experience.
Neutral Culture to Affective Culture. Which one do you think works well? Millennials definitely think the latter is better.
If organizations are a constellation then every employee is a star adding their own shine to the constellation.”
What makes an organization unique is the expertise of its employees.
Thus, it becomes paramount for the organizations to provide the employees with an environment where they can maximize and make optimal use of their expertise.
Every organization has its own mission, expectations and values that guide employee performance, productivity and engagement. Thus, the culture of an organization is very important since it encompasses the values and behaviour that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of a business.
Unfortunately, while talking about organizational culture, a lot of importance is given to the cognitive mechanism of culture. The central role of emotions in building the right organizational culture is ignored.
All organizations have multiple interactional levels. Between top management and junior management, between co-workers, between employees and customers and so on. Various emotions are at play at these interactional levels. The culture of an organization is shaped by these emotions. Eg: The interaction between the police inspector and his superior is marked by obedience. In a similar way, various emotions shape the interactions taking place at an organization between different levels which ultimately shapes the culture which in turn impacts the business.Every culture has strong norms about how readily emotions should be revealed.
The degree to which people express emotions and the interplay between reason and emotion in their interactions at different levels in the organization determines whether that particular organization has a neutral or an affective culture.
In an emotionally Neutral organizational culture mostly experienced in Anglo-Saxon and Asian countries, it is the reason that dominates one’s interaction with others. Such a culture values self-control, calmness, rationality and rejects going to emotional extremes. Expressing emotions, opinions (directly or indirectly) in certain situations is considered inappropriate. Such a culture not only experiences the absence of informal conversation but also is aloof and cold. Employees learn that it is incorrect to overtly show feelings.
On the contrary, in a high affectivity organizational culture found in the Middle Eastern and Latin countries emotions are considered as playing a crucial role in the decision-making process. Employees can freely express their emotions. Expressing these emotions provides an opportunity to find immediate outlets for their feelings. Along with the acceptance to express one’s emotion immediately, openly and passionately, the art of constructive arguing and debate is also promoted.
Employees and managers when being managed or while managing to respond differently based on the culture. In a neutral culture, they tend to avoid warm, expressive or enthusiastic behaviours. These are interpreted as lack of control over your feelings and inconsistent with high status. They look for small cues that the person is pleased or angry and amplify their importance. Employees in an affective organizational culture interpret detachment, ambiguous and cool demeanour negatively such as disdain, dislike, and social distance.
Consider an example: An organization is receiving complaints from its customers with regards to the way the sales team is handling their issues. They are not responsive and very cold in their behaviour. It is evident that the culture in the organization is neutral due to which their customers are facing an issue. In such a scenario it becomes important to transform this neutral culture into an effective culture. This transformation is marked by an awareness of the customer’s emotions and in turn, reciprocating those emotions by being empathetic. In a neutral organizational culture, employees do have emotions but they restrict their expression. This increases the possibility of experiencing burnout and disengagement.
Organizations today are constantly investing in various strategies to transform their culture from neutral to affective. One of the most unique ways to facilitate this transformation is via Peer Learning.
Rather than perceiving a co-worker as a competitor (as in a neutral culture), a co-worker can be perceived as a “peer” in an affective culture. By tapping on the already available skills and expertise employees get to learn as well as practise. These sessions help the employee to “talk”. Sharing their opinions and experiences makes them empathetic and concerned about their teammates. Peer learning makes the culture of an organisation simple, easy and accessible!
When an employee shares an issue that was causing distress, others experiencing the same emotions or having been through these emotions can be a great source of help. The employee feels empowered which in an otherwise neutral culture would lead to burn out. An employee finds psychological support. They can awaken the H.E.R.O within them. Constructive argument and debates can pave the way for innovation which can help in retaining and improving an organization’s uniqueness.
“Thus, be a constellation that expresses emotions and not just a pattern of random stars!” At BHyve, we help your organization to be a constellation that is not just a random pattern of stars but becomes those stars, just as employees that are connected, engaged and contribute positively to an organization’s productivity. In order to boost motivation and engagement, we gamify the entire peer learning process which helps you to transform your organization’s culture in a gamified manner that incorporates managers as well as employee’s individual needs
Define Workplace Learning in the context of the legal industry. What are some areas you focus on?
Workplace learning in context of the legal industry is all about how well lawyers understand and apply the law that they learn in law school. The on-the-job training enables them to learn from each other’s experiences, watch and learn from their seniors, their clients and from every transaction they are a part of. It’s all about having that ‘solution oriented’ approach and coming with the most innovative yet practical solutions for your clients.
As a lawyer by qualification and someone responsible for L&D at a law firm, I instinctively tend to focus more on legal and technical skills, ensuring that our lawyers excel at the law and stay updated at all times.
“If you’re not updated, you’re not relevant” – lawyers need to be updated with developments, even if it is not in their field of specialisation
Our inhouse training sessions, what we call CLEs – ‘Continuing Legal Education’, focus on just that. They are designed to keep our lawyers abreast with legal developments and give them the platform to engage with and learn from each other. In law schools, they are taught the law and at the Firm, we focus on training them how to work the law and live under it.
We are of course mindful of the fact that client expectations have changed. A lawyer’s role today is not merely that of a legal advisor but also as a business consultant and more importantly of a trusted advisor. A 21st century legal practitioner is expected to invest in non-legal training, focus on developing negotiation skills, transaction and client management skills, business development skills, have a fair understanding of the clients’ business, sector/s they operate in and most importantly have that commercial/ business mindset. Training in these areas and building the required sector expertise is also what we focus on.
Lawyers are extremely busy, with each minute being valued in money. How do you tackle this to help employees find time for Learning & Development?
Making time for learning and self-development is a challenge for every professional today. While CLE calendars are put in place for the entire year, we do see last minute dropouts and low attendance but that’s primarily because inevitably lawyers do get pulled into urgent client calls, meetings and deliverables.
L&D is one of the parameters taken into consideration during a lawyer’s performance appraisal. We have put in place a CLE Credit Policy that sets out certain number of minimum credits that required to be accumulated by lawyers every year. We would like to believe that this works as an impetus and encourages them to take time out of their busy schedules for these training sessions.
We also ensure all our CLEs and training sessions are live streamed and recorded. Lawyers who miss sessions can then watch them on-the-go and at their convenience. Self-directed and self-paced learning works best. Most importantly, if lawyers see value in the training that is imparted, they make time for it no matter how crazy their work schedule is. It is on us to deliver high quality training sessions and make it worth their ‘billable hours’.
How much does the culture of the organisation affect workplace learning? What can be done to enable a learning oriented culture?
Needless to say, the culture of an organisation plays an extremely important role in ensuring continuous learning and encouraging people to operate with a growth rather than a fixed (‘I know it all’) mindset. It definitely emanates from the top – our senior lawyers and partners are truly invested in the growth and development of the younger lawyers. They encourage and support us in all our learning initiatives. As a Firm, we believe in sharing knowledge and learning from each other’s experiences.
I think to enable an open and continuous learning-oriented culture it is important to:
Value learning and recognise it as a path to mastery. Let people know that it is okay ask questions, take risks and make mistakes. This will only further collaboration, sharing of knowledge and an open mindset to learn and grow without any inhibitions or insecurities.
Lead by example or ‘walk the talk’. For a continuous learning culture, it is important to have the buy in of key stakeholders / leaders and also ensure that they themselves practice what they preach. A leader’s behaviour often influences the team’s performance and approach to learning. If the leader wants the team to read or pick up a new skill, the leader ought to know it or learn to do it himself.
Evaluate performance based on learning.Recognise and reward peopleinvested in not only in their growth and learning but also their peers.
Give meaningful and constructive feedback. It is hard to acknowledge that you need to learn or be open to learning when you are unaware of your limitations and areas of improvement. Feedback even if negative, is important to share.
Make learning easily accessible. Adult learners have different styles and preferences when it comes to learning. Some prefer face to face, some online, some blended. It is important to offer a bouquet of options to learners if you want them to stay tuned in!
What are some of the initiatives you have rolled out at Khaitan & Co. and found success with?
Over the years, we have tried and tested many learning initiatives in different formats. There are a few key learning programmes that we try and organise every year. Together with our senior members as internal trainers, we have some outstanding external faculty empanelled with us to help design these programmes for an impactful learning experience. Other than the CLEs which focus on the hardcore legal training, some of the other areas/ initiatives we focus on are:
Onboarding Programme – Pathfinder: Our onboarding programme for the campus graduates is quite exhaustive. Sessions during the weeklong onboarding are run by internal and external speakers who help these young lawyers transition and make that mindset shift from campus to corporate – helping them learn new skills as they start afresh. Associates at each level are supported as they transition from one level to another – with clear expectation setting.
Legal Writing & Drafting: An essential skill for every lawyer today. This is something we do for all junior associates. While we used to do these sessions in person until lockdown, we are trying to move to virtual sessions and get some e-learning content on it too.
Negotiation and Client Communication Skills: The importance of this skill set cannot be emphasized enough. We have been working with an external trainer for the last five years now who runs these sessions for our mid to senior level lawyers in person / online and they are extremely well received.
Business Etiquette & Cross-Cultural Skills: While all the legal and functional skills take precedence, the importance of soft skills cannot be overlooked. Our lawyers interact with some of the most high-profile domestic and international clients. As brand ambassadors of the Firm, it is important that they demonstrate the right business etiquette, understand different cultures, make intelligent conversations and conduct themselves with poise and sophistication.
Some other areas in which we organise learning programmes on are networking and business development for lawyers, law firm economics, how to win and retain clients, leading teams and delegating effectively.
How do you use technology to build an effective continuous learning experience for your employees?
In-person and classroom sessions have always worked best for us. But given how busy our lawyers are and of course the ‘new normal’ we are living in today, we have recognised the importance of technology in learning.
Since lockdown, we have all learnt to adapt to learning via platforms like MS Teams, Webex and Zoom. From one-hour CLEs to full day workshops and orientation programmes, we have done it all. Our inhouse IT team has been terrific in these trying times, supporting us, and coming up with new solutions to keep us engaged and connected at all times! We work very closely with them to identify the right learning systems and technology we can use to enhance learning experiences.
Creating e-learning content inhouse is also in the pipeline. This year infact, together with the weeklong virtual induction sessions for our campus batch, we are also exploring an Onboarding App for them which will be launched prior to their official joining date. Policies and processes are being gamifiedand weaved into a storyline on the Firm, our culture and values to make this as engaging and fun for them. We are hoping this will be well received and prove to be a valuable investment by the Firm.
Adopting legal-specific new technology, replacing out-dated, older systems with cloud-based solutions and being open to automation helps us be more efficient, not just for ourselves but also for our clients.
3 wishes for an HR Genie
Become more tech-savvy, and automate every single HR and L&D process available
All organisations start considering L&D as an investment in their people and not a cost center