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Get Your Basics Right: Do your People Understand what Org Values Mean to Them?

I have been talking to many learning and HR heads lately and they all ask me one question – all are ok, but do you have any measure for soft skills training effectiveness. We have been doing these trainings but our issues are still there.

We struggle in identifying soft skills training need and training people… we look at customer complaints, performance issues, behavioural, attitudinal and cultural issues, identify training need, coerce people to sit in classroom, spend loads of money to get best of the trainers. Some companies are mature enough to decide competency framework and they train people on those competencies but result – cant measure or achieve marginal change… Your CEO is still unhappy… and you know that technical or functional knowledge is not a challenge but its some thing else that is hurting the organization.

Sounds familiar, isn’t it? Now think of this:

We all have our vision, mission and values defined for our organization and that too after lot of deliberations from leadership team and senior consultants… but where are those lying? They are framed and put up on walls at various places. They are part of your interview / candidate assessment form at the time of hiring, explained to new joiners during induction, isn’t it?

Lets do this dipstick. Pick a bunch of employees and ask them to name all the values and ask them to explain these values in terms of desired behaviour, more than 90% of them will fumble and this is the root cause of all the problems. How can we expect them to live by those values if they don’t understand as to what it means to them or how could they evaluate somebody on those values without understanding behavioural expectation from those values? Employees don’t understand the meaning of values in terms of behaviour and that is the core of most of the problems.

The problem sounds quite big but actually it not. I don’t believe in oversimplifying problems but look at taking these simple and easy steps:

1. Create Behavioural Dos and Donts: Simplify these values in terms of 10 dos and 10 donts behaviour for each value and create a course for this. Just ensure that these behaviours are simple to understand and supported with cases / examples.

2. Make them Accessible to Your Employees:Make your employees to go through them through classroom sessions or mobile learning whatever suits you well. As you would intend to cover the entire organization across geographies and controlling quality of delivery across organization may be a challenge and hence byte sized content on mobile learning could be an effective and efficient way of making them accessible to people any where any time. Micro learning or byte size content will be quite easy for them to consume.

3. Do Pre and Post Assessment:Ensure that you do a pre-assessment of learners and then offer them course and do post assessment to check their understanding and you will see the difference.

4. Send Reinforcement Inputs:Don’t stop here. Keep on sending them some snippets to them on periodic basis as reinforcement inputs and do another assessment / launch a small quiz after 6 months. You will be surprised to see level of understanding amongst people towards your values.

You will see shift in people attitude and behaviour slowly as they appreciate core values better. Also, your interview panel will be able to assess candidates on these values in much better way as they understand them clearly.

Poonam Tharad Head and Co-Founder - PalmLeaf. Poonam has over 20 years of experience in the Human Resources domain. She is currently heading the product unit for Mobile Solutions for Engagement and Learning at Mahindra Comviva.

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