Variety

No learning breaks here!

Swetha Kannan | Updated on July 26, 2013 Published on July 25, 2013

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Classroom training is still part of most organisations, but one can learn as much or more from a casual chat in a dhaba, say HR experts

Drop into the dhaba to casually chat about something. Browse through the blogs of people who do unique things. Or simply chat up with people who started a venture and failed. One can learn a lot more from these than from a structured classroom session, say human resource (HR) experts.

With the world moving so fast, the process of ‘learning’ is breaking the shackles of traditional classrooms. While classroom training is still part of most organisations, much of the significant learning happens through non-traditional methods, concur HR honchos of new-age firms.

Continuous process

And this learning is not a one-time occurrence. It is a continuous process, said Abhijit Bhaduri, Chief Learning Officer, Wipro, at a NASSCOM HR summit in Chennai.

“Get out of the certification course mania and absorb learning from all sources around you. The virtual world is moving faster than the inner world; it is important to catch up,” said Bhaduri, at a panel discussion on designing effective learning spaces for the networked generation in the workplace. He was joined by Shweta Shukla, HR Leader (India, Japan and South Korea), Facebook, and Satish M., Global HR Head, Firstsource.

At Facebook, learning happens from day one, said Shukla. Facebook believes even new hires can make an impact from day one. “Day one, you start performing. The second or the third day, you could be on a conference call with a product manager in the US.” There is simply no time to lose, so learn fast, urged Shukla.

“We don’t believe in day-long classroom sessions. Here, it is all about small bites of learning by dropping in at the dhaba for an hour to talk about something,” she said.

But in an organisation not as glamorous as Facebook, classroom training is still needed to “repair a person,” said Satish.

Hand-holding

A business process outsourcing (BPO) company, such as Firstsource, doesn’t have the brand pull of a Facebook. So, classroom sessions are needed to handhold people coming from different socio-economic backgrounds. Efforts are made to bring in the fun element through games, said Satish. “But can a training programme lead to the transformation of an egg into an omelette? End of the day, training programmes and books can only lead to a little bit of learning. A lot happens through experiential learning.”

Often CEOs question their HR teams on the returns the training expenses bring in. Bhaduri’s advice to them is, “The training-equals-learning-equals-return on investment mentality has to change.”

If your overall business is doing well, the training is worth all the effort and money, added Shukla.

What attracts new-age firms out to hire? Facebook loves people with a ‘hacker’ mentality. These are people with an entrepreneurial attitude, who make things happen with little resources and love taking risks, Shukla said, adding that Facebook recently hired two entrepreneurs who had failed in their ventures. “You can learn a lot not only from industry experts and successful people but also from those who have taken risks and failed.”

swetha.kannan@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 25, 2013
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