By Lakshmi Murthy – Chief People Officer, ITM Group of Institutions
In a VUCA world, where everything changes at blink of an eyelid, ensuring that employees are equipped with the right information at the time and place is a challenge. It is equipping your foot soldier with right armory. Although the onus of ensuring the employees are informed, lies with the business, the onus of creating the platform is with HR. The platform needs to be agile, flexible, and latest.
The need is more acute for the front line sales team who work distant locations and in most of the cases in isolation. This is the team which the last mile connects to the end customer and most of the time they are out of circulation interims of what happens in the organization. HR can play a key role in providing the knowledge, skill and information to this team.
Information dose in small quantity
Since this team is travelling or have to manage numbers in most of the cases, they need learning or information dose in small quantity – 4 to 5 minutes. This should be interesting as well as relevant to their work. Long back (a round 2001 to 2005) when technology was not as matured, my team used to develop a weekly capsule of 5 slides on any topic in the universe – what is a four stroke engine, how does the plane fly, how do you make a cake at home, what is technical writing, what is the difference between active and passive voice, what has changed in the organization, what features are included in a new product, who are our new customers, what are our new geographies, what is quality in software etc. These were sent out to employees on every Friday at 5 pm as a weekend reading. The mascot for the initiative was called eDUDE ( Lord Ganesh in electronic form 😊). This initiative became so popular that employees would wait for the emails, including the Chairman and some customers internationally. The environment in the organization was charged and employees always wanted more. This initiative worked for almost 3 years non-stop, created a learning environment in the organization, built inquisitiveness as employees would explore further on the topic, built bonding as the employees would connect with each other to find more and most important the front line which was in different geography globally felt included.
Conduct sessions on virtual classroom for not more than half hour, this should be discussion based and activity based. We conducted a session on change management for our employees based at customer location in 6 cities in US and UK. This session would start at 9p.m IST which was a common window for all and we covered 66 employees in a span of 2 months. This helped employees to understand the transition the customer was going through and how we could manage the change.
ebooks and publish reviews of books
Create a library of ebooks and publish reviews of books. The reviews were written by the senior management members and also highlight how the learning from the book could be utilized in their day to day activity. This helps individual employees to self learn and keep updated. There can be competition around the learning, there could be discussion sessions around the books.
Contents on process and policies
Create contents on process and policies of the organization, which can be interactive and upload on employee self service page. There could be built in quizzes. Build contents which share the go to market plan, strategies, objectives etc with the specific region and market in mind. Organize virtual meetings to share these plans.
When the organization is small, employees have a visual and direct connect with the top management. As the organization grows, it is the last mile employee who feels distanced and disconnected. Open emails from the senior management to employees builds the connect sharing the purpose, core values, growth strategies and simple appreciation of employees.