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Can Work like Experiences Replace Internships?

The post-COVID hiring scene paints a rather bleak picture. Every industry has seen a decline in job openings, according to job searching platform Glassdoor. While economies around the world are slowly getting back on their feet, the hiring market is still underperforming, especially for novices who have no work experience and are fresh out of college.Without internships and gaining that all-important work experience, how will you prep yourself for the job market? How will your potential employer know that you have what it takes to be successful in the role you have been hired for? This is where ‘work like experiences’ help.What are work-like experiences?Work-like experiences are activities that provide you with experience similar to what working professionals gain in a workplace. These work-like experiences help in preparing you to take up employment, by making you fully eligible in terms of being hands-on, for a particular role.  Work like experience will help you: Develop employability skills by gaining active, real-time work experience  Develop new skills to explore new opportunities and become attractive candidates for new roles Prepare you for the next step in your career after school/college Understand corporate work culture Build your professional network Remain motivated And it’s not just for fresh graduates. This model even benefits professionals who have to upskill or re-skill—a necessary practice to remain relevant in the current job market. Technology is changing at breakneck speed. Fields like automation, artificial intelligence, and data science have a ripe job market; but these jobs require a workforce that is equipped with the right skills. Refining your existing skills can make you an attractive candidate for these job roles.  Here again, work-like experiences can add that something extra to your resume and set you apart from novices.  Difficulty faced by students for getting internships due to Covid-19 and work from home in most organisationsMost employers have cancelled their internship programs due to the financial crisis-YelloInternships are geared towards helping students become industry-ready and get the jobs they desire. They represent an ideal win-win situation, not just for software engineering students but also for the industry they are trying to get into. For the student, because it gives them all the skills they need to be successful at the workplace; and for the industry, because they are getting resources who have on-the-job experience and can be immediately deployed to be productive.But the pandemic resulted in internships being cancelled across the board. This can have serious implications on the job prospects of entry-level workers who have no way to gain experience or demonstrate their skills and capabilities to prospective employers.   The economic effects of the COVID-19 economy on young workers may persist for years—Economic Policy InstituteThe pre-COVID economy is in dark blue and dark orange, while light blue and light orange shows the current economy. Orange bars represent workers ages 16–24, and blue bars represent workers ages 25+. In pre-COVID months, the unemployment rate for workers ages 16–24 (8.4%) was three times as high as for workers ages 25 and up (2.8%)— Economic Policy Institute  The only way to break through this unemployability barrier is by gaining industry-ready skills through work-like experiences.  Showcase your skills, capability and employability to potential employers.Benefits of work-like experiences over traditional internshipsWork-like experience is a complete win-win for those undertaking it.  For starters, one does not have to travel to a workplace like you would have to do for an internship. Work-like experiences are remote and can be undertaken from anywhere.  You have the advantage of learning from a relaxed, yet formal work environment. For example, consider KnowledgeHut’s adaptive outcome-based learning model that helps students gain work-like experience by working on an industry-grade capstone project.  Traditional internships are time bound and if you are a student, you have to complete it during your college break. But online work-like experience can be gained at any time, in parallel with your studies or a part-time job.  Online work-like experiences give you the freedom of working across geographies. You can gain international exposure and choose the work you like best, be it in research, programming, web development, data science or project management.   Work-like experience helps you get customised guidance on the subject of your choice. Experiment with a number of technology stacks and programs and gain proficiency in one or all. There is no limit to how much you can learn! How work-like experiences can be leveraged in job interviews, in lieu of internshipsStudies show that internships do lead to jobs, with 63% of paid internships resulting in a job offer. Compared to this, 37% of unpaid internships also resulted in a job offer, while only 35% of students who did not do any internship at all were offered a job.So, if you are unable to take on an internship after your studies, what is the next best step? Work-like experiences are the way to gain industry exposure in-between college and a job. Employers are increasingly looking to hire experienced professionals, and this leaves fresh graduates and entry-level workers in the crux. You cannot gain experience without a job and at the same time you won’t get hired because you lack experience.  Work-like experiences provided by training institutes such as KnowledgeHut are geared towards helping you bridge the skills gap. You will develop industry-specific functional skills that will help you clear interviews. For example, if you are seeking experiences in IT or engineering, then you can gain skills in multiple programming languages like Python, JavaScript, React, C++ and more. This will make your resume attractive and also give you the prep to face interview questions. Not only is this a great option for students, but it also provides a perfect solution for recruiters who needn’t invest in training new hires as they are already primed with the skills that is expected for the job.  KnowledgeHut is offering work-like projects with their e-learning courses which will help learners get a hands-on understanding of the technology/software they're trying to master.All KnowledgeHut courses are delivered through PRISM, an immersive learning experience platform that facilitates hands-on exercises, lively discussions, and team collaboration with a focus on finding practical solutions to real-world scenarios in various projects environments, both big and small. You do not need any prior training or prerequisites to gain these work-like experiences but at the end of it you will be well qualified to make your mark in your chosen industry.
Can Work like Experiences Replace Internships?
KnowledgeHut

Can Work like Experiences Replace Internships?

The post-COVID hiring scene paints a rather bleak picture. Every industry has seen a decline in job openings, according to job searching platform Glassdoor. While economies around the world are slowly getting back on their feet, the hiring market is still underperforming, especially for novices who have no work experience and are fresh out of college.Without internships and gaining that all-important work experience, how will you prep yourself for the job market? How will your potential employer know that you have what it takes to be successful in the role you have been hired for? This is where ‘work like experiences’ help.What are work-like experiences?Work-like experiences are activities that provide you with experience similar to what working professionals gain in a workplace. These work-like experiences help in preparing you to take up employment, by making you fully eligible in terms of being hands-on, for a particular role.  Work like experience will help you: Develop employability skills by gaining active, real-time work experience  Develop new skills to explore new opportunities and become attractive candidates for new roles Prepare you for the next step in your career after school/college Understand corporate work culture Build your professional network Remain motivated And it’s not just for fresh graduates. This model even benefits professionals who have to upskill or re-skill—a necessary practice to remain relevant in the current job market. Technology is changing at breakneck speed. Fields like automation, artificial intelligence, and data science have a ripe job market; but these jobs require a workforce that is equipped with the right skills. Refining your existing skills can make you an attractive candidate for these job roles.  Here again, work-like experiences can add that something extra to your resume and set you apart from novices.  Difficulty faced by students for getting internships due to Covid-19 and work from home in most organisationsMost employers have cancelled their internship programs due to the financial crisis-YelloInternships are geared towards helping students become industry-ready and get the jobs they desire. They represent an ideal win-win situation, not just for software engineering students but also for the industry they are trying to get into. For the student, because it gives them all the skills they need to be successful at the workplace; and for the industry, because they are getting resources who have on-the-job experience and can be immediately deployed to be productive.But the pandemic resulted in internships being cancelled across the board. This can have serious implications on the job prospects of entry-level workers who have no way to gain experience or demonstrate their skills and capabilities to prospective employers.   The economic effects of the COVID-19 economy on young workers may persist for years—Economic Policy InstituteThe pre-COVID economy is in dark blue and dark orange, while light blue and light orange shows the current economy. Orange bars represent workers ages 16–24, and blue bars represent workers ages 25+. In pre-COVID months, the unemployment rate for workers ages 16–24 (8.4%) was three times as high as for workers ages 25 and up (2.8%)— Economic Policy Institute  The only way to break through this unemployability barrier is by gaining industry-ready skills through work-like experiences.  Showcase your skills, capability and employability to potential employers.Benefits of work-like experiences over traditional internshipsWork-like experience is a complete win-win for those undertaking it.  For starters, one does not have to travel to a workplace like you would have to do for an internship. Work-like experiences are remote and can be undertaken from anywhere.  You have the advantage of learning from a relaxed, yet formal work environment. For example, consider KnowledgeHut’s adaptive outcome-based learning model that helps students gain work-like experience by working on an industry-grade capstone project.  Traditional internships are time bound and if you are a student, you have to complete it during your college break. But online work-like experience can be gained at any time, in parallel with your studies or a part-time job.  Online work-like experiences give you the freedom of working across geographies. You can gain international exposure and choose the work you like best, be it in research, programming, web development, data science or project management.   Work-like experience helps you get customised guidance on the subject of your choice. Experiment with a number of technology stacks and programs and gain proficiency in one or all. There is no limit to how much you can learn! How work-like experiences can be leveraged in job interviews, in lieu of internshipsStudies show that internships do lead to jobs, with 63% of paid internships resulting in a job offer. Compared to this, 37% of unpaid internships also resulted in a job offer, while only 35% of students who did not do any internship at all were offered a job.So, if you are unable to take on an internship after your studies, what is the next best step? Work-like experiences are the way to gain industry exposure in-between college and a job. Employers are increasingly looking to hire experienced professionals, and this leaves fresh graduates and entry-level workers in the crux. You cannot gain experience without a job and at the same time you won’t get hired because you lack experience.  Work-like experiences provided by training institutes such as KnowledgeHut are geared towards helping you bridge the skills gap. You will develop industry-specific functional skills that will help you clear interviews. For example, if you are seeking experiences in IT or engineering, then you can gain skills in multiple programming languages like Python, JavaScript, React, C++ and more. This will make your resume attractive and also give you the prep to face interview questions. Not only is this a great option for students, but it also provides a perfect solution for recruiters who needn’t invest in training new hires as they are already primed with the skills that is expected for the job.  KnowledgeHut is offering work-like projects with their e-learning courses which will help learners get a hands-on understanding of the technology/software they're trying to master.All KnowledgeHut courses are delivered through PRISM, an immersive learning experience platform that facilitates hands-on exercises, lively discussions, and team collaboration with a focus on finding practical solutions to real-world scenarios in various projects environments, both big and small. You do not need any prior training or prerequisites to gain these work-like experiences but at the end of it you will be well qualified to make your mark in your chosen industry.
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Can Work like Experiences Replace Internships?

The post-COVID hiring scene paints a rather bleak ... Read More

More Power to Women! Women in Leadership Roles

This year, the theme chosen by UN Women celebrates the efforts by women across the world in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The slogan, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, acknowledges the leadership skills that women bring to the table, making their mark in ways that far exceed the achievements of their male counterparts.Last year, as devastating tragedies caused by the pandemic played out in countries far and wide, women stood out as frontline warriors everywhere. They played remarkable roles as healthcare workers, primary caregivers, counsellors, community workers and engineers and technical innovators and truly made a difference through selfless, untiring service to humanity.And yet, their burdens were disproportionate and their contributions largely went unrecognized. Countries that are headed by women—Germany, New Zealand, Finland and Ethiopia, among others—have been far more successful in halting the progress of Covid-19 in its tracks, making rapid and decisive decisions that were based on compassion and that their citizens responded to. Even so, only 20 countries worldwide have women at the helm of their Governments.Not just in politics, but women are unable to effectively participate in public life, and are as yet unable to make significant contributions to leadership roles in many corporates across sectors and industries. Why this disparity, in today’s day and age? What can organizations do to encourage more women to come out and utilize their strengths, getting recognized just as much as men in a similar role would be?Breaking the Glass Ceiling Traditionally considered the weaker and fairer sex, few women in the 80s and 90s had reached a position where they could wield power and authority. Even when they did, they were expected to lead in much the same manner that a man would: by being authoritarian, directive and leading from the top.However, times and changing and so are trends in the workplace. More women today are at the helm of organizations, big and small, than ever before. They inevitably find that they face bigger challenges than their male counterparts and have to struggle far more to prove themselves.A large part of their workplace woes stem from the fact that what is deemed acceptable behaviour from a male leader is often frowned upon in a woman. If a man is aggressive and assertive, he is respected, while if a woman acts the same way she is considered to be dominating.Similarly, if a woman leader shows that she is caring and nurturing, instead of considering that these are positive traits she is dismissed as lacking authority and being too soft.Women are also automatically given more responsibilities at home, and are considered the more natural caregivers for children and elders in the family. It will take not just a more sensitive organization, but also a more supportive family for them to be able to successfully navigate the challenges of being a woman leader in today’s world. A study by Pew Research showed that about four out of ten Americans feel that there are higher standards set for women seeking to climb the corporate ladder, where they have to struggle much more to prove themselves than a male would have to. The second biggest hurdle was found to be, quite simply, the fact that companies were not really ready to hire women leaders.Women are also automatically given more responsibilities at home, and are considered the more natural caregivers for children and elders in the family. It will take not just a more sensitive organization, but also a more supportive family for them to be able to successfully navigate the challenges of being a woman leader in today’s world. But there are many clear benefits of a woman leader that put them head and shoulders above male leaders.  Women view situations from a new angle. They bring a fresh perspective and a whole new approach to problem-solving that comes out of their own life experiences, which are inherently different from a male viewpoint. They are naturally more empathetic; and mentoring, guiding and collaborating come far more easily to them.  They are excellent communicators and are readily able to manage teams across geographies.  Their capacity for high emotional maturity also helps them to get under the skin of their subordinates better, and be sympathetic to their diverse situations and any personal issues they may have.  When teams led by women feel that they are being heard, they rally together to perform better.A McKinsey study found that on the average, women exhibit five out of nine leadership behaviours that drive organizational performance more often than men. This contributes significantly to stronger organizational performances.Image SourceA Nudge in the Right Direction In fact, having more women in leadership positions isn’t just good for feminist morale—it has been proven to boost profitability.The US think tank, the Peterson Institute conducted a study of over 21,000 public companies across 91 countries, and found a direct correlation between the numbers of women there were at the higher management levels and the bottom line.On the average, a company with 30% female leadership was able to notch up at least 6 percentage points to their net margin, as compared to a similar company with no female leadership. It has been found that women should be at a critical mass of over 20% at the decision making levels in order to catalyse higher performances.What Can Organizations Do to Increase the Numbers of Women in Leadership Roles? The spotlight is already on the concept of equity and gender fairness, and with targeted support, more women can take those all-important first steps to move ahead in the workplace. The first step in the right direction would be to create awareness, across all levels, of the need to create more gender equity in the workplace.   The proportion of women at each rung of the management ladder and among fresh recruits can be studied, and steps taken to address any inadequate representation of women at any level.Pay levels and attrition rates need to be studied, and any salary disparities should be plugged.By carrying out a diagnosis of the existing situation, the management can identify gaps and bottlenecks and take steps to promote more eligible women to suitable posts.Women in Leadership at KnowledgeHut: Dissolving the Gender Barrier!   A versatile leader, Shyni Satyamitra is the Chief Sales Officer at KnowledgeHut, a leading Ed-tech company offering a wide repertoire of professional training programs that equip workforce for the digital age, helping enterprises across industries and sectors develop new capabilities and nurture future-ready talent. Shyni provides a deep understanding and balanced perspective on how the right workplace culture is critical to promote women in leadership positions in today’s VUCA world and emerging industry landscape.She feels that women face many of the same challenges that men face in the workplace — juggling responsibilities at home and at work, spending quality time with their kids, and trying to create a sensible work/life balance in the bargain, so that they are not burnt out during their professional career span.While in many organizations, women do face the added pressure of discrimination and gender bias at work; Shyni as a true leader and being part of the executive leadership group has never allowed or faced a situation at KnowledgeHut where a male and a female in the same role are perceived differently—be it within her team or across the organization. Many of the teams she has led in the past decade were comprised of a majority of women… if not all women…and they worked well as a cohesive unit to drive positive business outcomes and results. While she has no complaints about the salary scale at KnowledgeHut, which is completely merit-and-capability based, in many other companies there is a very real wage gap and women often earn anywhere between 33 - 75% of what men in a similar position take home. Even today, she feels, the higher up the ladder you climb, the fewer women you will find than actually deserve to belong there! She consciously does all she can to reverse this push down trend.In her own experience, she finds that women bring their inherent traits of compassion and understanding to the table, and empathy is a critical skill for leaders in any domain.Shyni has always leveraged her emotional quotient towards her team and empathy towards customers, which is a key differentiator as a woman leader apart from the usual leadership strengths of creative thinking and problem solving."Leading by example is the way to go—and by creating more awareness, and increasing the numbers of women at middle and senior management levels, workplaces worldwide will be moving in the right direction to create a more gender diverse culture," is Shyni's take away on the subject.This year, let’s all #ChooseToChallenge gender bias and inequality. Together, we can create a world that’s inclusive and celebrates women, not just those in leadership roles, but in every role!More power to all women, all over the world. 
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More Power to Women! Women in Leadership Roles

This year, the theme chosen by UN Women celebrates... Read More

Immersive Learning Vs Blended Learning: Which is Better?

The world is at a point of no return. The ongoing pandemic has enforced a need for social distancing that has disrupted almost every facet of our lives. Technology has risen to the occasion, replacing all the physical aspects of our erstwhile world with their new virtual avatars. Everything has migrated online; whether it’s retail, business operations, team meetings, or marketing strategies — and the world of education is not far behind.Even before Covid 19 closed schools and colleges, virtual learning was already making waves as the smart new kid on the educational landscape. This pandemic has catalysed our innovative juices, forcing the education sector to take pause and redefine new patterns of learning. There’s no time like now for a fresh start, and for reflecting on innovative ways to design the learning pedagogy of tomorrow’s world.Enormous shifts have already taken place in the ways in which students engage with courses and content, and this has completely disrupted the teaching-learning equation. Traditional brick and mortar has given way to new-age ways of learning that suit the educational needs of today; and e-learning, immersive learning and blended learning have come to the forefront.Which of these learning environments should you adopt for your needs?E-Learning: Flexibility and Convenience CombinedIt has been found that 58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace.  E-Learning uses digital platforms to deliver learning content that the user can access at their own convenience. This form of learning uses rich multimedia in video format to engage learners, and since it is self-paced they can spend as much or as little time on each module as they need. To refresh concepts, learners can replay relevant segments as often as required till they gain mastery over the material. Learning content is regularly upgraded to stay on top of industry advancements, and the lifetime access to the learning videos provides an easy way to stay seamlessly in touch with new versions and updates.A study conducted by The Research Institute of America concluded that e-learning enhances learning retention by as much as 25% to 60%, as against 8% to 10% with traditional modes of training.Blended Learning: The Best of Both WorldsFor those who find that real-time interaction is invaluable to the learning experience, blended learning offers the best of both worlds. Participants can attend instructor-led classes that are in-person or virtual and can supplement their education with online learning materials that can refresh the concepts learnt in class.Blended learning combines the convenience and flexibility of being able to learn at your own pace, with the advantages that come from instructor and peer interactions. It offers a more comprehensive environment that is interactive and engaging, subjects learners to different stimuli and encourages practical application of the theory that is learnt.Immersive Learning: A New Dimension in LearningA typical problem with all forms of learning has been that they are not rooted in reality. College degrees or diploma programs do not equip graduates to face real-world challenges, and organizations find that new recruits are woefully unprepared to get productive from day one.In many cases, these new employees are forced to learn on the job, unlearning the theory that had been painstakingly grilled into them in college, and re-learning practical ways of working that have been adapted by the company.This is where immersive learning can make a world of difference.Immersive learning works on the premise that all learning must be contextual in order to be effective. Corporate training programs are customised to help employees practically apply their knowledge and skills to their job role.With an immersive learning program, learners are placed in the middle of a highly interactive learning environment, and imbibe hands-on skills through the replication of work-based scenarios.Simulations, role play and learning labs are all application- based components of immersive learning that help learners to understand concepts and practice on their own.By interacting with peers and educators on discussion forums, learners can clear doubts and share insights.Assessments and guided hands-on exercises at every stage help to gauge the level of learning comprehension, and accordingly the learning journey can be customized.Mini projects offer work-like experiences that duplicate real-world situations, teaching learners the right responses and solutions to address every possible challenge.By shifting the dynamics of learning to create solutions that combine traditional learning mechanisms with technology, learners can get a truly immersive learning experience that will hold them in good stead to face the realities of work environments.Benefits of the Immersive Learning ModelThe future workforce will have to cater to a very different set of skills. The Industry 4.0 revolution and the digital transformation that has swept the world today have resulted in a shift in skill requirements for tomorrow’s professionals.The immersive learning model comes with significant differentiators that make it the preferred pedagogy for today’s world. Some of them are listed here.1. Seamless Learning ExperiencesLearners are subjected to a 360-degree experience that brings the best of online self-paced programs, blended models, and live virtual class type courses together through a single dashboard, on one easy-to-use and intuitive platform.Research from Stanford University and Technical University Denmark has found that learning retention increases when using virtual teaching methods than with traditional methods, resulting in a 76 percent increase in learning effectiveness.2. Diagnostic Tests and AssessmentsBy incorporating diagnostic tests to judge present capabilities, an immersive learning program can be customised to create a bespoke pathway that takes the learner from where they are to where they would like to be. Skills and competencies are mapped against the learning segments, and the students will reinforce their understanding by working on hands-on exercises and mini projects alongside the theoretical components of the course.3. Outcome-Based LearningSubject matter experts with extensive industry experience collaborate to create course curricula that lead to measurable outcomes. Modules are designed with job-worthiness in mind, and the assimilation of hands-on practical skills are validated at each stage of the step-wise learning process. Skills that are found to be wanting can be re-learnt till the required competency is achieved.4. Social InteractionsTraditional forms of learning have always encompassed social interactions, but for many years the social aspect of education has been neglected. Immersive learning platforms encourage peer-to-peer interactions and sharing of learning through discussion forums across geographies. More than 75% of L&D professionals have chosen to adopt social learning technologies in their training strategy, simply because they have found it works.5. Mirror Real-Life ScenariosEspecially when it comes to technology courses, immersive simulations play a large role in the comprehension of concepts learnt. Cloud labs allow for real-time coding experiments, and learners build muscle memory by actually practicing skills even as they go through the course. When context and relevance is added to the process, learners find that knowledge retention and application is increased.6. Learn through MistakesEvery mistake made is a lesson learnt, and a significant advantage of immersive learning is that participants can freely make all the mistakes they want to without any danger of actual harm. They can learn through doing, see what works and what doesn’t, and build on their experiences.Paradigms in education are changing, and the last decade has seen immense changes in the way learning content is being developed and delivered across the world. Immersive technologies are, as yet, only the tip of the iceberg. As we step into a future that is brimming with potential, the possibilities are endless!
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Immersive Learning Vs Blended Learning: Which is B...

The world is at a point of no return. The ongoing ... Read More

Agile Transformation and Its Challenges

Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum, has stated that 47% of Agile transformations fail, and 67% of these failures are terminal.That’s a mind-boggling number; considering that more than half of all organizations are now using Agile to drive their transformations.What causes an enterprise-wide transformation to fail? Why is it so difficult to replicate something that has worked well at the team level to the whole enterprise?Change and transformations drive success. As the old adage goes “The only thing constant is change”— and just like people change, organizations and cultures must change too. This became very apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the entire paradigm of work underwent a sea change.To stay relevant under these chaotic circumstances, organizations have to work fast and deliver more. And this can be done only by overhauling the old legacy systems and bringing in processes that allow:increased efficiency,shorter time-to-market,improved quality,happier customers,faster ROI, andsatisfied employees.Agile transformations, when done right, can help bring in all these benefits. Business agility weaves in responsiveness and adaptability into the very core of an organization, and its trickle effect is seen at every level of the business.But, as the statistics show, more often than not, organizations set out on an ambitious full-scale transformation only to realise mid-way that it is not working out.There are several reasons for a large-scale agile transformation failure:Lack of leadership supportLack of commitment at every level of the organizationIncorrect application of popular agile methodologiesA lack of understanding of which methodology will suit your organizationRushing the transformation process.The key to undergoing an Agile transformation is to first understand the agility business model, which comprises of 4 domains. These 4 domains define how and what to change, so that agility can be adopted.The 4 domains are:Business domain: Encompasses how an organization works, what it prioritizes, how it budgets, products it focuses on and more.Organizational domain:Relates to how the organization is structured. Too many departments and too many teams can make agile transformation a nightmare if done incorrectly.Cultural domain:Every organization has a culture, a mind-set which may or may not be difficult to change. But helping the organization and the staff make this mind-set change is the most crucial step towards bringing in a transformation. Whether autonomy is allowed in teams or if there is a strict top-down approach; these are aspects that need to be carefully examined.Technical domain:This relates to the technical expertise of individual teams, their work ethics and their degree of self-independence. Self-organized teams work better, and are more responsive and successful.Image reference: Agile TransformationChallenges of an Agile transformationYour organizational culture blocks change: A company’s core culture impacts not just how it does business but also how it treats its employees. Better engagement, more appreciation, transparent communication, empowering employees and teams, open processes are all hallmarks of an agile culture.An organization that is rigid, has tightly controlled processes, does not value human resources and has not yet fully embraced the idea of change is a sitting duck for transformation failure.Transformation at scale: It’s okay to start small, maybe at the team level or a department level, but change has to be brought about in the entire organization. Just having one or two teams that are agile is not going to help you in your transformation.Agile practices have to adopted by the entire organization to ensure business agility. The impact of the agile methodology will be restricted if it’s not taken beyond the trial stage.Leaders are not convinced: For any change or transformation to be successful, the leaders must be convinced of the change. A transformation across the organization is impossible without the support of the management.Agile leaders lead the transformation from the front, bring in the necessary investments, aid in creating a culture that fosters innovation and create a platform for open communication among all employees.Rushing the transformation: Rome was not built in a day! An organization that rushes its transformation process does so without proper planning, knowledge of processes or the support it requires to carry out this gargantuan task.A successful transformation takes several years and focuses on everything from culture change to process change to mind-set change. A rushed effort will reveal gaping holes in the transformation foundation and will surely lead to the effort coming tumbling down.Not helping employees’ transition: Your workforce is your company! A successful transition means helping the workforce understand:the agile processthe skills that would be required in the new processhow they will be supported in new roleshow their career paths may change due to agile transitionThe workforce must be open-minded about going agile and the management must be transparent with the employees about the whole process. A lack of clarity can cause employee attrition and loss of skill.What to do for a successful transformation?1. Get leadership buy-in: Successful agile leaders support culture change. According to Scrum.org, Agile leaders focus on 3 things: (1) they create and nurture a culture in which experimentation and learning are embraced;  (2) they collaborate with employees (at all levels in the organization) to find common values to create a greater goal for the company and the teams; and(3) they create an organizational structure that reinforces and rewards the other two dimensions.2. Strategize: There has to be a strategy on how, what and why to implement. Large, complex organizations cannot go agile overnight. They have to create an agile roadmap, bring together people, processes and technologies and implement agile at the right places to test its efficacy before scaling. 3. Hand-hold employees of all levels: So how do you keep your employees informed and empowered through the transformation? Since agile means a change in processes it also requires a change in the way people are managed.Employees need to be guided through the transformation through agile trainings, presentations and learnings. The concepts should be reiterated to allow teams to understand them and feel confident in working in a new environment.Agile trainings and coaching, especially, are a great tool towards getting employees to adapt to the Agile mind-set.4. Understand that agile is mostly about an organizational culture transformation:A successful agile transformation requires an agile-friendly culture. Large organizations who have followed the traditional approach may find it difficult to accept new ways of working. But it is not impossible. A culture change can happen only if everyone is on board.Along with leadership alignment, there also has to be a culture shift at the organizational level. So, in essence it is as important to have a bottom-approach as it is to have a top-down approach, to bring this shift, and this can be done by being transparent and truly communicative about the changes that leaders are planning to make.You have a culture ready for agile if you:Listen to your customerMake real-time decisions instead of relying on reportsTake risks and learn from failuresRely on cross-functional and self-organized teamsHave transparent and approachable leadershipHave top-down, bottom-up and cross-communication across the organizationTo conclude: For a successful Agile transformation, organizations must learn from their mistakes and be open to change.Organizations will face unprecedented challenges on their way to an agile transformation. The key is to learn from mistakes and accept change with open arms. Transitioning to agile also requires an experienced agile partner who can guide employees and the organization with coaching, training and working with leaders to bring about change.
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Agile Transformation and Its Challenges

Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum, has stat... Read More

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Online Training Programs?

We are in an era of continual change, with new innovations disrupting the workplace and resulting in radical new styles of working. The only way that organizations can hope to stay relevant in this competitive age is by adopting the technological advances and transformative models of the future of work.As edge computing, AI and automation forge new paths in today’s business world, companies have realized that employee upskilling has become, more than ever, an imperative. Talent Trends 2020, a study by PwC  indicates that three quarters of CEOs questioned were concerned about whether they would have the talent needed to navigate an uncertain economic futureWhen questioned on their upskilling programs in reducing skill gaps and mismatches, the global consensus put their perceived effectiveness as only 20%. Even companies with advanced upskilling initiatives reported a meagre 35% rate of effectiveness of their training programs.While upskilling and reskilling can get employees attuned to industry advancements and breed confidence, how can CEOs be sure that the training they are being given is actually having the desired impact?To completely reap the rewards of a continuous learning paradigm, the right measures must be in place to gauge how impactful the training program was.In-depth evaluation is required to judge what is missing from the training sessions, and what can be done to improve the ROI on employee training.And the figures speak for themselves. Today’s businesses are losing whopping amounts of money through ineffective training. Harvard Business Review states that although organizations are collectively spending in excess of $350 billion globally on training, this is money that is not put to the best use.Consider this:A Gartner study finds that 70% of employees feel they lack mastery over the skills needed for their current jobs; Just 12% of employees are confident enough to apply new skills learned through training programs; and In a recent McKinsey survey, 25% of the respondents were certain that the right training could significantly improve performance. So, where exactly are we going wrong? L&D teams often implement training programs without a comprehensive understanding of what defines an effective training program.  Considerable time is wasted as employees spend 11% more learning time than is optimal for best performance. This lost time translates to productivity losses to the tune of up to $134 million. And the wasted investment on L&D functions is at least $6.5 million; money that could have been put to much better use.Just measuring satisfaction scores or course completion targets is not enough, and the true measure of impact should evaluate actual business outcomes post training. Real returns can be judged by the pay-off in terms of time schedules, productivity and financials of the company.Here’s how you can measure the effectiveness of your online training programs!To make the most of your training investment and eke out value for every dollar spent, you should be able to offer your employees the training they need to boost productivity. Here’s how you can do that.1. Pre-training and post training assessmentsLearning programs are usually developed incorporating assessments that can test the employees’ understanding and retention of the theories learnt. By knowing where they have gone wrong, they could build upon their weaknesses and reinforce their strengths till they achieve mastery of the subject matter.These assessments are also useful to judge whether your training program has achieved its goals. For instance, if you find that a majority of the employees are getting stuck at a particular interim assessment, you could take another look at the module to see if the content can be simplified for better understanding.Pre and post tests can measure knowledge gained from undertaking a training course and evaluate whether the training has had the desired effect.Assessments can take the following forms: Before training: The learner’s present level of skills and knowledge is judged. During training: Short tests at regular intervals can help to judge comprehension of concepts learnt. After training: Various evaluation methods could be used to determine whether the training has been effective, and the learning objectives have been achieved. 2. Scenarios and simulationsOnce the training has been completed, how would you know whether your employees have actually absorbed the lessons learnt? Are they able to apply their new skills on the shop floor, for instance, and would you trust them to get it right the first time?Scenarios or real-work situations can put the learner in the driver’s seat, judging their ability to translate the learning to a work-like situation. By creating a series of scenario-based tests, you can determine their level of retention and understanding of the concepts learnt. An ideal scenario-based test is one that is credible and true to life, of which the outcome is easily measured.If your employees are consistently failing the tests, you should look at refining the learning curriculum or providing additional learning content, until they are well versed with all the learning objectives and can apply theory to practice.3. Learning analyticsLearning Management Systems or platforms often have in-built analytics that evaluate the learning journey of your employees. These learning analytics use data collected during the learning journey to trace the efficiency of the learning.For instance, the time spent on each module, the number of attempts of each assessment, and so on can be used to tailor the training for greater effectiveness. As an example, if most of the learners are breezing through a particular module but spending far too long on another, you might want to assess the difficulty levels of the content and adjust it as needed.AI algorithms can further use this data to personalize the learner’s path, giving suggestions as to which are the topics that need further focus. 4. Adoption of technique post training In many instances, the learner may understand the concepts very well during the training—but find themselves at a loss when they have to apply the knowledge to solve a real-world problem.Are your employees putting their newly acquired skills to practice, or falling back into the error of their old ways?Try observing your employers before and after the training session to find out if they are actually achieving the goals of the training. For instance, teams that try to adopt Agile often fall by the wayside, simply because they are more in tune with traditional ways of working and fail to readily transition to the Agile mindset.Post training follow up sessions and technique training can create opportunities for practice, and ensure that the new knowledge acquired is correctly implemented. 5. Measure business impact/ ROI post trainingThe ROI is the clearest indicator of how effective your training strategy is.A Peoplematters article states that in a study, 55% of companies that registered high-growth averaged 30-50 learning hours per employee, while 61% of low-growth companies only spent less than 30 hours of average learning per employee.By knowing the impact of your training programs after a predetermined period post the training, you can get an idea of whether all the effort, time and money you have put in was worth the investment.Estimate the L&D spend, including design and development costs against the benefits that have been observed post implementation of the training. These could be increased sales, more productivity or even a reduction in the customer complaints. Use measurable metrics to chalk out the cost vs performance ratio and determine whether the training strategy has worked the way you wanted it to.6. Feedback from employees When it comes to judging the effectiveness of your training programs, your employees are often your best critics.By collecting their feedback and receptiveness, you can measure the effectiveness of your training program and see what could be done to improve it.Collect data in the form of a survey that could be programmed to rank employee satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10. Collect suggestions on the topics that were useful and those that were not, and find out from them what the weak areas of your training course were.Above all, your learners should find the course content interesting and valuable, or they will not feel the need to complete it wholeheartedly. If your employees were not engaged and motivated through the learning journey, then you are clearly doing something wrong. 
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How to Measure the Effectiveness of Online Trainin...

We are in an era of continual change, with new in... Read More

Top 5 Skills Organizations Are Looking for in Employees Post Covid-19

The emergence of the pandemic has exposed our vulnerabilities in more ways than one. Accelerating our journey towards a digital transformation is the only way to cope with the new normal. Trends suggest that technological expertise, though important, is not the only skill you will need to survive the post-COVID tsunami.  The world is changing at an accelerated pace. Digitization was always on the cards but in the post-COVID world, its adoption and acceptance has become absolutely imperative for survival.  No one can say what the world will look like in a couple of years, but what is certain is that a momentous transformation is inevitable; and a workforce that wants to thrive in the future has to adapt and align itself with new ways of thinking and working.A decade back, a degree and moderate proficiency in a single technology stack was sufficient to ensure a productive career. But in the current world, success will belong to those who are committed to continuous learning and up-skilling.  Technology and frameworks are evolving at breakneck speed, and skills acquired even a year back are already obsolete. Agile ways of thinking and a flexible mind-set that is focused on growth will help to keep pace with the changing eco-system.  At the same time, just being technologically proficient will not help the millennial sustain a job. Along with gaining digital mastery one has to have proficiency in communication and social intelligence, resilience to change, and the ability to work in tune with a diverse group of people who share a common vision and goal.So what will organizations look for when hiring in the new economy? Skills can and do expire, and they need people who can keep up with the times. Gartner surveyed over 800 HR leaders across industries and regions, and 68% of them felt that building critical skills and competencies would be on top of their priority list for 2021.According to a McKinsey survey, these five skills will be a must-have for professionals who want to survive and succeed in the post-COVID hiring space. 1. Digital skillsTechnology has transformed businesses, imbuing them with speed, dependability, security and enhanced value. Every business now understands the value of strengthening its customer base with the use of technology.  But to win the tech battle, every employee must have the capabilities to tap into the new technologies that have been made available to teams. Unless talent is also scaled and made available across the board, the strategy to win the tech battle will be lost. The Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum  states that approximately 54 per cent of employees will require reskilling and upskilling by 2022, as their existing skillsets would have become outdated.  According to Strategy&, a part of the PWC network, companies around the globe are in a race to adopt new technologies to help them cope with the competition. The report states that there is a global trend to accelerate investment in technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and robotics.  The workforce of the future needs to keep learning and self-improving, adding to their repertoire the knowledge of new technology stacks and frameworks. The passion for continuous learning will help them connect with the vision of the company and move ahead with the rest. 2 Cognitive skillsOur learning from a very early age is geared towards enhancing our cognitive abilities. Cognition is our ability to gain, retain and analyse information and understand concepts. It builds in us reasoning and problem-solving skills.  Employees with high cognitive abilities are critical to help organizations navigate through turbulent times, deal with emerging challenges and think out of the box to foster innovation. As business models change and transform to fit the new normal, they must have the ability to assimilate themselves to the change and boost productivity.  The evolving workspace will require employees to make sense of a large number of things including the proverbial elephant in the room: ‘DATA’. Developing cognitive skills will help them to analyse data, recall conversations, numbers and goals and perform better at the workplace. Data science and analytics, which is the ability to use this data for business profits has long been among the most coveted skills in the technology landscape and has consistently topped emerging job trends statistics.  Higher cognitive abilities will help employees innovate and come up with insightful solutions and strategies that will help them to succeed through troubled markets. A Mercer | Mettl Talent Assessment Practices Report India shows that 53% of top companies have flagged cognitive ability as their primary focus area when it comes to hiring. 3. Social and emotional skills Many psychologists believe that the emotional quotient is more important than the intelligence quotient. People react in different ways to complexities and challenges, and feelings of loss of control, work anxiety, and thoughts of financial insecurity many be handled differently by employees.  While some may take these conflicting emotions in their stride, others may struggle with the emotional upheaval. Emotional skills are necessary to deal with ambiguous situations, align with change and transformation, and enhance communication and empathy.  A recent study found that about 82% of global companies deem it necessary to administer EQ tests for executive positions.  72% of these companies use the tests to gauge middle management talent, while 59% of companies give the tests to entry-level positions.  An employee with higher emotional skills can handle change better, and carry the entire team towards the goal. As your team grows, your ability to manage conflict, deal with different kinds of team members, and smooth out differences to ensure productivity will define your growth as a manager.  So will your ability to deal with and empathise with team members from different geographies and cultures, even remotely, reflect on your own growth and credibility as an effective leader.  4. Agile skillsIt takes strong leadership and organizational agility to respond to the increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environments that the pandemic has thrown up. The unprecedented, never-before seen levels of confusion and chaos across industries has put leaders on edge, and decision making has been difficult to say the least. To tide through the situation, organizations and management must set in place business continuity plans and deploy an agile change management approach.   Research by McKinsey and the Harvard Business School concluded that companies that had successfully adopted agile ways of working pre-COVID-19 performed better and were able to move beyond the crisis far more rapidly than those that had not. Agile organizations were already equipped with processes and structures to combat uncertainty, such as cross-functional teams, sprints and reviews and clarity on requirements, outputs and outcomes.  Employees of Agile organizations, already used to navigating change, were able to adjust faster, and with less emotional turmoil. Even when it came to individual teams within companies, the research found that business units that had gone agile before the pandemic performed better, scoring higher on operational performance, customer delight, and employee engagement.  Having many efficient agile teams across an enterprise, and empowering them with the tools and processes they need to stay ahead of the game, makes it possible for the entire organization to survive, get to the other side of the pandemic and thrive. With the world turning increasingly digital, online learning is the way forward—and more organizations are turning to virtual learning platforms to help their employees stay updated with new-gen skills. 5. Adaptability and resilienceThe river birch tree is among the most resilient trees that is known to survive the roughest storms. How? Because it has a limb structure that bends and does not break. This allows it to withstand the gustiest of winds and the most torrential downpours. COVID has brought in winds of change and like the birch tree, the workforce needs to adapt and become resilient to tide through the aftershocks of the pandemic. Resilient organizations are able to respond well to any crisis and quickly set in place recovery measures that are undertaken together with employees and stakeholders. The management should adapt to the shift in mindset that is necessitated by the changes, and must make a plan for navigation through the implications of the crisis. They should empower employees to survive and move past the uncertainties caused by unfolding circumstances. Employees must be equipped to cope with the changing dynamics of the new-age workplace. They will need to operate remotely, collaborate across geographies, and adapt to innovation.  They should be given the opportunity to re-skill and upskill in latest technologies to keep up with the evolving times.Emotional stressors can be at an all-time high, and employees should have access to soft skills training that can help them to handle their situation with maturity and resilience.  Some of the ways in which managers can help employees to stay on track are through frequent team huddles to increase collaboration and fuel motivation, and peer-to-peer knowledge transfer sessions between team members to inculcate a culture of support through trying times.  Technology is evolving, businesses are transforming and adaptability is the key to survival.  Even before the pandemic,   the McKinsey Global Institute had reported that as many as 375 million workers—which roughly translates to 14 percent of the global workforce—would have to switch occupations in order to adapt, or acquire new skills in the next decade.  There may be reversals but what sets apart a resilient employee from the rest is the ability to bounce back and work with renewed zeal towards the path to success.  
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Top 5 Skills Organizations Are Looking for in Empl...

The emergence of the pandemic has exposed our vuln... Read More