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Business in disruptive times: how L&D shapes success in BFSI

Business in Disruptive Times – How learning & development shapes success in BFSI

Today success in the digital age is the result of a harmonious union of technology and people. This necessity has increasingly become imperative since the Banking and Finance sector started witnessing heavy headwinds brought by the pandemic. Amidst this, digital adoption versatility in the learning environment has become critical for catering to the rising needs of the BFSI sector. So disprz in association with ETHRWorld conducted a round-table discussion with prominent L&D leaders from the BFSI industry to discuss business in disruptive times and how L&D is helping shape success in BFSI. 

The round table discussion was divided into three panels headed by Subramanian Vishwanathan, Kuljit Chadha, and Shweta Kumar.

Here are the key insights from the three different round table discussions. 

Subramanian’s panel: Re-skilling at scale: Digitalization in L&D

Subramanian – The panel discussed plenty of tactical advice that the L&D leaders could take back and implement.  

4 areas were covered here: 

  • Digital learning design 

Here the questions were around the pandemic that happened all of sudden. How did you think about digital learning design? How did you manage the shift?

The answers we got were that most of them started with VLIT because that was an easy thing to start with and then they followed that up with self-paced learning. 

Questions like when do you use VLIT and when do you use self-paced learning were asked during the discussion. The answers were that when you wanted to cover something in-depth; whenever there was an expert interaction that was needed then you do VLIT. But if you want to follow that up with smaller bites of learning then you do self-paced learning. 

The one thing that everyone resonated with was to make self-paced learning successful in India you had to make it available in multiple languages (at least 6 to 7 languages). The moment the question of language came up everybody’s face had a bright smile. This was a problem that everybody could relate to. 

  • Digital learning adoption 

Despite learning being very critical, it always had poor adoption amongst other HR tech applications. So I wanted to get everybody’s views on what is their silver bullet to drive digital learning adoption.

One of the panelists gave an amazing statistic. She said last year Axis bank had average learning of 51 hours per employee. That is four hours per month. That is actually a mind-blowing number. 

The way Axis bank achieves that is by getting the complete buy-in of the business. So she said learning is not discretional but it is compulsory. The way you make it compulsory is not by having a stick but by integrating business with HR. 

She said two-thirds of the L&D team is actually from a business background. They do not have an HR background, they have a business background. Therefore the kind of content that is created is very closely related to business. 

The aim is to create a win-win for the individual by saying align your learning with your career goals. Create a win for the business by aligning learning with the business goals and create a win for learning and development as well in the process. 

When it comes to adoption there was also a point that sometimes it is very difficult to sustain adoption. You could have a particular month where you hit the 75%mark  of active user base but it tends to fall down. Sustaining it is a big challenge. The reason sustaining it is a big challenge is because of the availability of good quality content. When proved further the problem really was not the availability of content. There are some content gaps. There are some gaps in the functional area. But the real gap is in content curation. 

In fact, there is far too much content and the ability to curate content and guide employees to take that is the biggest challenge. To summarize, to make adoption work, keep it simple, be analytics-led, constantly look at data. In fact, one of the panelists said that they have a learning engagement manager and a learning analytics manager. So, they look at learning data and then drive campaigns 

  • Learning culture 

The one key theme that the panelist discussed was the alignment of all stakeholders. So, the CEO and chief leaders should all talk about learning and should all practice learning that’s how they create a culture of learning. 

A lot of companies had great ideas about how they build a culture of learning. One company spoke about learning marathons, another person talked about L&D week, another person talked about Dronas in their company who are skill masters in a particular skill and it is their job to disseminate learning. They are recognized as dronas. There are also competitions among regions on learning. If you publish a public learning dashboard and say your region is 3 out of 10 then it motivates people to learn better. 

  • Skill measurement 

How do you really measure skills? The theme of making the supervisor or manager accountable came multiple times during the discussion. The best way to make individuals learn is by making the supervisor accountable. So share learning and performance metrics related to learning with the manager as well. 

A panelist talked about assessments and certification for each competency as a measurement. It is important to look at productivity shifts. After loading out digital learning initiatives look at how the productivity actually shifted, from a supervisor’s perspective and from a department’s perspective. 

The panel also discussed using AI for skill measurement. Especially for sales and customer service jobs, there are now advanced products that can listen to the conversation and give you some insights which can be used in turn for skill measurements. Lastly, one panelist also talked about the control room phenomena. So you have two groups, one with L&D intervention and the second without L&D intervention. Look at the performance improvement of the second one and then say that this phase three learning vaccine is effective      

Kuljit’s panel: Driving customer experience revolution through tech-led skilling

Kuljit – The discussion was broken around three primary pillars. 

The first was trying to understand that with digital transformation and COVID what has been impacted as per the customer expectation perspective? 

  • The panel talked about agility – customers are expecting the organizations to be agile.
  • There is a lot of efficiencies that have come into the process.
  •  A lot of panelists talked about digital documentation becoming the norm. This entire thing actually brought in a lot of efficiency in the process.

 The second and the third pillars were around customer experience being omnichannel. The customers expect organizations to have an omnichannel presence.

One thing that was good learning is that most of the organizations’ business models have changed.

The way they acquired the customers and the way they serviced the customers have changed. The entire expectation that customers have from an organization is totally changed. This was more about understanding the problem.

Going on the solution side. One of the panelists talked about new roles being created. Organizations are hiring for CDOs. Because of this change, new kinds of roles are being acquired by the company.

There is also a change in the process where people are very interested in acquiring new skills. So, people are saying “I want new skills to be ready for the new normal”. 

One of the panelists talked about new kinds of skills. He specifically mentioned social skills like managing teams and managing others. That’s becoming extremely important. More importantly, bringing the managers into the picture.

In the last part of the conversation, the panel talked about different formats of learning. 

They talked about shadowing and how to track on-the-job training. They even talked about mentoring and coaching. It was interesting to know the solutions that the organizations are implementing to address the customer experience challenge.

The last part of the conversation also focused on the impact; how do you track the impact of all this? 

There were some very interesting things that came out like: 

  • Track KPIs in the learning app. You can track KPIs and do an assessment. You can’t fit one learning program for everyone so segmentation is important. So, the panel discussed about doing assessments to identify where the gaps are. Then creating very personalized programs to disseminate knowledge and then finally track what is the impact that it is creating on the business.
  • One more thing that impressed me is lead indicators. Especially around onboarding. The panelist discussed, how can you track the productivity of the onboarding workforce. 

It was a great discussion on how the world has changed and what the customer experience. The panel also discussed various innovative solutions that the organizations are adopting and using technology to drive.

Shweta’s panel: Skill Velocity: continuous skilling for a future-ready workforce

Shweta – This panel consisted of prominent leaders from Fintech and Life Insurance companies like Pay U, Kinara Capital, Shriram Life Insurance, ICICI, Birla, etc. 

They shared insights into how technology is disrupting these industries and how the pandemic accelerated this disruption. 

The business models changed; they moved from physical to digital. Businesses faced a huge amount of challenges there. 

Here are a few unique things that companies did during this pandemic. 

  • They converted the physical training into digital. 
  • They did a lot of work into mapping skills, to the type of people as well as the spectrum.
  • The challenge that most panelists mentioned is developing a full mindset of coming to a platform, naturally enrolling into a program, and learning. 
  • The other interesting insight we heard from PayU and many others is that you have parts of organizations with very different digital maturity. The digital teams and the tech teams have different levels of maturity. The sales and commercial are at a very different level of digital maturity. 

The most interesting part of the conversation was the wishlist that these businesses shared, They were interested in real-time performance-led learning, learning-on-the-go., building a culture of learning, etc. Many were even interested in skill heat maps. Essentially how they are preparing the organization not just for today but for the business models of tomorrow. 

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