Monthly Archives: December 2004

Appeal from an XLer NGO Network for Tsunami Relief efforts

Dear fellow XL’ers,
This is Pondy, XL 84 appealing to your support for a Network of NGO’s called CIOSA (www.ciosa.org http://www.ciosa.org/> ) based in Tamil Nadu.
I happen to be the Managing Trustee of this network of 104 NGO’s.
Our members have over a 100 volunteers working in Cuddalore,Kanyakumari, Nagai and Chennai, performing a variety of relief and rehabilitation work, as detailed herewith. I would commit that whatever contribution you make will reach the needy with professional valueaddition and minimal throughput cost. Would really value your gestures of kindness, at this hour of need. Pl feel free to contact me for any clarifications
(Mobile – 98410 79559 Res- 044 26224214).
Regards,
Pondy
K Pandiarajan
Ma Foi Management Consultants Ltd
“Amble Side”
No.8, 4th Floor,
Khader Nawaz Khan Road,
Chennai – 600 006
Ph : 91 – 44 – 2833 3351-53
Dir : 91 – 44 – 2833 3359
Fax: 91 – 44 – 2833 3358

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Role of Trust

I know that I’ve started quoting Robert Scoble a lot recently, and that’s not because he’s an A-lister. I don’t quote David Weinberger or Joi Ito so often , do I.

It’s because in the plethora of techie (or is it techy?)/geeky posts, Scoble occasionally posts a gem for people like me…

Check this out, I am sure that us HR folks, KM folks, training & learning folks have to make this and topics like these mandatory reading !

Interesting paper is now on microsoft.com: The Future Role of Trust in Work.
“It argues that outdated command and control management culture is causing managers to misuse technology, over-scrutinising worker performance. This means employees are reacting to communication from employers rather than interacting with customers – therefore ultimately damaging UK productivity.”

By the way, here’s what I’ve earlier mused about trust in organizations.

It’s people like Scoble and others who are giving collaboration and trust a different meaning. I mean, where else can you even experience something like this ?

The Challenges for Training & Learning

If there is one part of HR that seems constantly under question for its “ROI” potential, credibility or plain effectiveness it is what is usually known as “Training” – or in the new world as “Learning”, “Management Development” etc.

The reasons for the questions are not difficult to spot.

Training is the only group in HR that actually spends hard cash externally, as opposed to Recruitment or Compensation and Benefits that spend it as salaries. Once people see rupees flowing out of the organizational kitty, they are quick to question the ‘effectiveness’ of these trainings.

The training folks in organizations, haven’t actually covered themselves in laurels when it comes to their work.

The reasons for these are varied. Here is my diagnosis of the reasons:

Training is usually organized as a monolithic sub-function within HR and is junior staffed. This usually means a fresh graduate gets the fancy title of “training asst manager” or some such designation and becomes a gopher for meeting various training requests.
Why a training is being asked for?
What skills/competency gaps will it fill?
What is the follow up program for that training ?
Questions like these are scarcely asked.

Metrics used to measure training are usually uni-dimensional. Lacking either content expertise or process expertise, the training dept/person is measured by the HR head on factors like :
Number of training programs conducted
Satisfaction ratings
Number of people trained
Number of training days conducted per employee etc
Budget variations to plan

With the result, that the training department/person essentially is trying to meet these metrics. As you might have noticed none of these metrics even talk about linkage of training to business needs or outcomes. Any wonder why training fails to link up strategically.

Different groups need to own different parts of training. Content expertise for example resides in the various groups. The training group needs to turn facilitator and help these groups discover their own knowledge and learnings. The role that training needs to play is less of ‘content provider’ and more of standard settings and inculcating similar language across various organizational silos.

Training also needs to engage with various groups to help them to share learnings that are localized, across the organizations.

At a horizontal level, training needs to work with business and identify developmental areas of various levels to meet current and emerging business needs.
By doing that training will need to do a role that even HR is struggling in most organizations. i.e. linking to strategic business needs. That can happen best when training is led by someone who has been in business or can demonstrate in depth understanding.

The path for Training to become strategic

To uncover the way to become strategic training groups need to start doing the following:

Ask questions : Most training people are so ‘task focused’ that they do not seem to be able to ask “why am I doing this?” “How will this impact my firm’s bottomline?” If they do not think about ROI, others will think it for them
Think numbers : Training professionals need to think about a new set of metrics that focus more on effectiveness and less on efficiency. They have to rise from Kirkpatrick’s level 1 to level 3 and 4.
Realise that learning is more than training: Let’s face it. Face to face, classroom training probably accounts for less than 30% of what a person actually learns in an organization. Trainers, have to start thinking how factors like supervisor and management support will help in learning, how they will help in applying concepts learnt to increase workplace productivity. Attending training programs should not be the end, increasing workplace productivity should be
Involve line managers: Training professionals should involve line managers to actually be responsible for their employees trainings and where possible they should actually conduct the training themselves. Outsourcing training might help in the short term, but does not pass organizational culture along.
Transparency: People who are getting trained need to understand the larger context of where the training fits in with organizational strategy. Their managers and training professionals need to paint the whole picture to help them understand and communicate it to them.
New skills: Trainers themselves should pick up new skills like business and financial skills and not be just event managers. They need to understand the linkages between knowledge, learning and performance to figure out how they can add value to the organization.

What do you think?

Blogs in Time’s person of the year moments

Ok…so George W Bush was Time Person of the Year (should we laugh or cry?) but Blogs were mentioned as Person of the Year moments.

That makes lil ol’me feel very good…so what if only less than 50 people visit my blog daily…I am still part of the blogging experience

And my experiences are at least uniquely mine !

The Meatrix

Check out the Meatrix site, that’s what’s called edutainment !