How Training Programs Drive Competitive Advantage

How corporate training programs drive competitive advantage for your business

With the war for talent becoming fiercer by the way, organizations are pumping billions into their corporate training programs to ensure that they are ahead of the curve. According to Bersin by Deloitte 2014 Corporate Learning Factbook, companies across the world are spending more than $130 billion worldwide on corporate training. Companies in the US have seen a 15% increase in spends for training and development (T&D) to $70 billion, a seven-year high. The rise in corporate training is a good indicator of economic activity. After the last major recession in 2008-09, corporate training took a huge hit as it was a discretionary spend. We are seeing a huge growth in corporate training because organizations are trying to tackle the massive problem of skill-capability gaps. Hence, they are adopting various solutions such as corporate training workshops, e-learning, mobile-based learning, in-house L&D and video training to tackle the issue.

What Best-in-class companies are doing globally
Current estimates shows that the corporate training market is expected to generate revenues of Rs 32 billion by FY2020 (Source: Ken Research). Global expansion, increasing competition and the emergence of a record number of start-ups are forcing companies to look inwards. There has been a significant shift towards outcome-oriented learning in Indian organizations for both leadership training programs and sales training programs. Take, for example, Infosys. It has incorporated design thinking—the practice of solving traditional tech problems using newer, different and innovative methods—into the company. FMCG behemoth Hindustan Unilever Limited has a reputation of being a ‘Leader Factory’. Every year, the company identifies several high potential young leaders and puts them through a 15-month rigorous leadership training program called the Unilever Future Leadership Program. Tata Motors became the first automotive company to sign a MoU with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) for collaboration on various skill development programs for the auto sector. They are also working on a Driver Training Program by establishing driving schools in partnerships with various state governments. On the other hand, Apple University ropes in faculty members from Ivy League schools such as Yale, Harvard, the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford, and M.I.T. It is clear that for any successful organization corporate training is a significant part of their overall strategy.

Effective training is a life-like experience
We talked about how training is critical in order to address skill-capability issues that companies face. Investing in an employee’s training keeps them engaged and also promotes loyalty, resulting in lower attrition. On the other hand, it also helps the employee to chart their paths into newer territories they are not familiar with. It will improve the company’s competitive edge, increase performance levels and also prepare employees for future leadership roles. It is a great way of increasing your talent pool and developing a solid pipeline of experienced leaders. Employees who attend such corporate trainings are self-driven and need lesser guidance and supervision. Effective training can also be used to re-skill or up-skill employees or even multi-skill employees. This would allow the staff to diversify their skillsets and transition more easily into other roles within the organization. And this requires investment of time, space and money. Hence, it is essential that training workshops mirror real-life job situations for the participants to be able to relate to it better.

Our leadership training workshops and sales training programs are dotted with real-life experiences, which contributes greatly to their personal development. The workshops are tailored to suit the real challenges that organizations face and are designed to motivate the staff, encourage team building, improve their communication skills and also help them to focus on change management and leadership at all levels. For example, consider Live IPL auctions. It is a team-building activity that teaches the participants the nitty-gritties of strategizing and planning. Similarly, The Making of Sholay is a tool to help employees understand the importance of planning and project management. Some of the brands that have implemented our training workshop programs are Nokia, Microsoft, Snapdeal and Intel.

The presence of world-class trainers also makes a lot of difference to the quality of a training session. At Kestone, we have a mix of trainers from fields such as entrepreneurship, sports, education and technology. The trainers are: Indranil Chakraborty (Founder, StoryWorks), Joy Bhattacharjya (Project Director, India, FIFA U17 World Cup), R. Sreenivasan (Co-founder of CareerLauncher), Anirudha Bhattacharjee (ERP Expert) and Balaji Vittal.

Much ado has been made about India’s demographic dividend. However, with India still many miles away from skilling its workforce, the need for training has not been more urgent than it is today. While multinationals and large enterprises have taken the lead in training and development, medium and small enterprises and start-ups will need to drive it to be able to optimize productivity and sustain businesses. T&D needs to stop being a discretionary spend and become a mandatory one. Of course, that would depend on how businesses view T&D. However, during lean times, training budgets do get cut. Since you never know when bad times will come knocking, the solution to the problem would be to engage in innovative training solutions like IPL auctions and 10m pistol shooting.