Redefining Learning and Development: Insights from Niharika Jalan

This is a transcript of the interview with Niharika Jalan, Head Training, Kestone IMS Pvt. Ltd.  An MBA graduate from IIM Lucknow, she has over 8 years of corporate experience. Through this interview we are going to learn about the latest and the future scenarios that holds true in the Learning and Development sector. So, over to Niharika-

Q. Can you please elaborate the past scenario of learning and development?

Learning and Development (L & D) has been an important part of successful Organisations for quite some time now. Several multinational organizations in India have even invested in their own L & D centers built to service only internal employees with a complete dedicated team of planners, content developers and trainers. Some of these groups are TATA’s, Aditya Birla Group, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Infosys etc. However, smaller and mid-size organisation found it difficult to invest in learning and development for their team and relegated this to the bottom of their priorities. Hence L & D became preserve of larger sized organization only.

Q. What are the importance and scope of learning and development today?

L & D is important today as was yesterday. L & D is important to ensure that an organisation is on a growth path. An organisation grows only when its employees also grow. Every employee must have a clear career path with marked milestones. Organisations must help employees define plans and milestones in discussion and then also review these to arrive at learning and development needs and plans.

Q. What are the factors which affect the learning and development?

Learning & Development for an employee is largely influenced by 2 key parties namely his/her manager and the concerned HR manager. Both the reporting manager and the HR team work together to analyze the training needs and areas for learning and development. Once the plan is generated it is the employee who must ensure that he / she is sincere in participating in learning plans. Pre-work, interaction and post work as well as follow up is key to the success of learning and development initiative.

Q. How manpower and training can affect the learning and development in corporates?

Good content is not enough for a good learning and development program. It is critical that the trainers are effective and able to engage with the participants at large while ensuring that each participant takes a step towards his / her goals as the workshops progress.

Q. Suggest some improvements in today’s manpower and training techniques, which can redefine learning and development.

I think the bigger challenge in today’s context is organizations not wanting to invest in employees but just looking at a best fit. Often in an endeavour to achieve goals and save time we look for people who already know their job and then refuse to add any value to an individual. I think organizations need to find the best fit also in terms of potential to fulfil a role and then invest in mentoring and training. Growth of an individual is a key input for the growth of an organization. This must happen across levels, it is our manpower that is on the frontlines selling the product and speaking to customers not the leadership. Hence their growth, training is most important to ensure a positive experience and a strong brand experience.