Unpacking the Black Box of Learning

April 6, 2023

We know that the future of work is full of uncertainty and requires organizations to constantly invest in building agile teams. We’ve spent a lot of time on Skill Flex to deep dive into this. However, after over 20 conversations with senior professionals across business, HR and L&D, we’ve realized that more often than not, companies don’t know where to even begin.

Particularly when it comes to equipping teams and implementing any form of people strategy, for those trying to kickstart the L&D journey at their companies, professionals believe it is a complete black box. We recently spoke with Priyanka Peeramsetty, Chief of Staff at InFeedo who felt that for most people identifying what their immediate learning needs are is the biggest challenge.

Listen to the full episode here.

“Learning and development historically has been a crucial part of the people function. The fact that there is a need to upskill people is undisputed. It has to be continuous, it has to be proactive, and it has to be driven by the individual and the manager both. However, the most noticeable learning delta that I've seen is when managers root for their team’s learning,” said Priyanka.

Previously, we’ve heard several senior sales professionals highlight the role of managers in personalizing an employee’s learning journey. This is pertinent to note because what this indicates is a shift from a one-size-fits-all approach. Particularly with learning, it is common to see organizations hold webinars, workshops and sessions for their employees without emphasizing upon each individual’s actual need. This is the primary reason for the lack of measurement of RoI on learning.

However, one big challenge organizations face while doing this is articulating the learning  goal. Most companies don’t reverse engineer from the business goal. Priyanka believes that articulation of this learning goal takes the maximum amount of energy and time, both from an L&D person’s perspective and the learner. The second point of friction is incentivising learning.

Priyanka explained, “If learning is not a part of your KPIs based on which you'll be evaluated for promotions, it is very rare that anyone other than a highly motivated individual will invest their time. This is a constant challenge we face.”

The third point of friction is measurement. Measuring the impact of learning is critical for companies and they often struggle to get clear data on how much an individual has improved and map that to business metrics.

Fundamento helps organizations connect key business metrics to targeted learning so they can regularly measure RoI on training.

In her role at inFeedo, Priyanka’s actively worked to implement learning and she said that at the end of the day, implementation is difficult because you're firefighting projects and deadlines on a constant basis, so what time do you trade off and how. There’s also internal competition especially at the early manager level which makes it even more difficult to implement learning unless it is in the flow of work. “So it essentially becomes extremely important to demonstrate to learners that by learning, you are going to achieve your targets faster. This awareness is hard to establish unless an end-to-end system is in place in an organization,” said Priyanka.

With Skill Flex, we’ve been emphasizing the importance of measurement at every level and what Priyanka said to us validated our approach to a large extent. At the end of the day, organizations need a lot more than intent and an L&D team to activate real learning and growth and this can be done when a skill-based system is established at the workplace and a thorough measurement linked directly to business outcomes is put in place.

If this is something you’re looking for, reach out to us at hello@fundamento.ai.