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Training And Competitiveness: Building Small Businesses Into Leading Organisations

"Learning should be in the DNA of every organization. Learning as a function should understand business reality and only then they can be a partner to the top management office," said Smitha Venkataraman, Vice president and Head HR, AGS

The second session of the Business World Growth Leadership—from SME to unicorns in Chennai saw a panel discussion on training and competitiveness, building small businesses into leading organisations.

Setting the ball rolling, moderator of the session Amit Ghosh, HR leader, central engineering centre, Dow Chemical International said that companies have to run effective training programmes because that is what will equip organisations to be agile and world class. He added that when it comes to a development of a person, 70% of knowledge comes on the job, 20% through coaching and mentoring and 10% through other structured methodologies.

Anuradha MV, assistant professor at GLIM said focusing on learning and re-learning is important. We stress students on the importance of learning and relearning and training. Training techniques need to be developed keeping the participant's preferences in mind. For youngsters, knowledge sharing is powerful. She added that she is a proponent of the guru-shishya model and that online learning is just an enabler and on the job training is where the real learning occurs.

Vice president and head, HR, AGS Health Smitha Venkataraman said, "Learning should be in the DNA of every organization. Learning as a function should understand business reality and only then they can be a partner to the top management office. They have to talk the CEO and CFO language. Only then training becomes alive, like skilling for the future. In customer-facing sectors, understanding of product must be great by the learning head before the programme is rolled out. It should be supplemented by role plays at the end."

Venkataraman advocated employees to download Multiple intelligence tool, an online survey that throws out the preferred style of learning for each employee. This would help companies design and roll out effective training programs on a regular basis, have small activities built-in learning," she added.

Neeraj Sharma, senior director, HR at Four Kites said working in SMEs is all about multi-skilling and also about seeing the big picture. It is here where the opportunity lies for training. Millenials are inventing constantly, the experienced professionals bring in a more holistic view of the problem. Curiosity is a concept that is future proof and connects between generations as a powerful competency in an organization. 

The panelists also dwelt on new techniques in training such as storytelling. Venkataraman said movies and movie clips could use during the training process. Movies like Dangal laid importance on perseverance while Chak De stressed on teamwork. In the process, a lot of interpretations are thrown up and trainees end up becoming trainers.

Sharma said organizations could build multiple storytellers at each level. An office boy who has been working for a long time in an organization can tell a bunch of stories and bring in inspiration. Moderator Ghosh concluded the session by saying that there are multiple ways of learning.


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