Continued learning at the workplace is not a part of our culture inherently. However, conglomerates like the Aditya Birla Group are evolving this mindset and are instilling learning as an inherent need. Yet, the everyday challenges of bringing people to learn, unlearn and relearn is a real task.

We partnered with them to embed learning into the work lives of their teams. And in the process, were able to learn, unlearn & relearn ourselves 🙂

I proudly present an interview with Anubha Jain (Manager – Leadership Development, Aditya Birla Group) & Pragya Sharma (Human Resource Leadership Associate, Aditya Birla Group). Their partnership is one of the reasons our project relationship thrived! And as always, I am grateful to Ajay Soni (Chief Learning & Leadership Development Officer, Aditya Birla Group) & Anju Jumde (Head – Group Talent Management, Aditya Birla Group) for their leadership & continued support!

1. What was the business need for running this exercise?

At Aditya Birla Group, we encourage each employee to take charge of their own learning by undertaking various developmental activities as part of “My Development Plan (MDPs)”.

Informal learning and classroom learning has been our preferred ways of disseminating learning. We additionally wanted to explore newer and more scalable ways of learning that could be used across our 40k strong employee base. We ran a 3-month pilot #DevelopmentJourneyByJombay that ran on developing the top 2 competencies that 200 people (across multiple departments) had identified in their MDPs. Now we are continuing with a development journey for a much larger set of employees!

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2. What has been the current approach to leadership development at your organisation?

At Aditya Birla Group, we try to build a learning & development culture that is employee-centric & enables self. The focus of our group is not “lifetime employment” but “lifetime employability”.  Each employee undertakes a set of developmental activities to strengthen their leadership and functional capabilities.

3. What was the format of your previous initiatives? What have been some challenges that you faced in the past when running learning initiatives?

Our focus on learning initiatives has been 70-20-10. 70%On the job, 20%Coaching/Mentoring & 10% Learning through classrooms, e-learning, conferences, etc.

We are exploring newer avenues of learning which may allow people to learn digitally. So we decided to use a journey program that allowed participants to learn on the go, that pro-actively engaged them and allowed us to quantify the success!

5. How has switching to development journeys with Jombay been different? What was your experience of running the development journey at your organisation so far?

As with launching any new initiative, we worked hard to deal with early teething issues together. Our team and participants appreciated the content and the microformat in which it was shared.

Jombay’s practice coach made all the difference! He was able to engage different kinds of learners in different ways and mediums (WhatsApp, 1-on-1 calls, emails) to drive engagement. He was appreciative, made people enjoy the learning & also showed patience when people struggled:)

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6. What were some of the participants (learner) responses? What benefit did the managers see in running this exercise?

They found the format made it easy to learn, and the pace did not interferewith their day to day job. In fact, some of them were able to incorporate their learning immediately at work, through some innovative changes!

We found that manager involvement was also beneficial and most managers we reached out to, gave us a positive feedback on learning engagement.

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7. How will you evaluate the success of this initiative internally?

Apart from doing regular dipsticks and gathering testimonials, we ran a survey at the end of the development journey. We also checked in with the managers to understand their point of view.

We plan to engage in such digital learning to see the best use of it and measure the ROI of these programs.

8. What were some of your key learnings for implementing a successful and scalable learning/leadership development exercise?

  • Planning is key especially when launching a new learning initiative. Also, be nimble about reacting to feedback and changing a plan.
  • Creating the first impression is important! The development journey needs to be introduced well and kicked off with a buzz.
  • Allowing people across teams and geographies to connect via the practice coach was great. It gave them an outlet to express themselves & made the peer to peer interaction more meaningful.
  • Practice Coach makes all the difference!
  • Content is king – If the content is boring, interest will fall!
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We are excited to scale up this engagement for another set of ABG employees! I look forward to our teams innovating together to bring new ways of learning to their organization.