Enable IT Organizations to Be More Customer Focused Through Learning

To transform the business practices of top accounts at your organization, consider co-creating Learning Academies with your customers.

We often hear about organizations being customer centric and placing the customer first. This practice also pertains to the Learning and Development department. To transform the business practices of top accounts at my organization, IT services and solutions provider Tech Mahindra, the company co-created 13 Learning Academies with our customers. I was involved in developing this framework. Each Learning Academy has its own unique identity, with specific goals. The competency gaps of employees working within the account were identified, and focused programs were created to bridge gaps and enhance services. This included identifying career tracks, skill baselining, and creating a leadership pipeline.

Here are the steps we in the Learning organization took to help our customers to be more successful and enhance their delight with our association:

1. Identify strategic and high-revenue-generating accounts in the organization.

2. Set up a Learning Academy specific to each of these key accounts with a unique identification to create interest and excitement.

3. Form a Steering Committee with members from within the account, customer representatives, members from the customer’s ultimate customer, and external subject matter experts.

4. Create a vision and mission for the academy in collaboration with the customer. All employees involved in the customer engagement should be mapped in terms of their current competencies and the level of competencies required to make the project fulfillment successful and future proof.

5. Understand the customer’s current operations, growth strategies, and challenges, including the pain points of their ultimate customer.

6. Identify and consolidate the learning requirements, including technical, managerial, domain, process, delivery, leadership/behavioral aspects, and cultural sensitization.

7. Design programs and identify effective pedagogues, mode of delivery, and assessment criteria, including pre-requisite learning and refresher programs.

8. Evolve the certification process.

9. Identify subject matter experts—including domain experts from the organization, customers, and their ultimate customers—and co-create content, enabling these leaders as teachers.

10. Estimate the budget and prioritize the initiatives.

11. Strategize the mode of evaluation and measure the impact of learning, including, in specific cases, the return on investment. Thirty-, 60-, and 90-day learning outcomes linked to business outcomes should be planned, implemented, and measured.

12. Coaches and mentors must be trained to effectively play their role, so as to create a high-performing culture within the account. They will be instrumental in ensuring that associates and leaders enhance their competencies and skills and thereby exceed customer expectations

13. Develop the Learning Calendar and proliferate it to the intended audience for inviting nominations through the learning management system (LMS). Learning progress, feedback, competency levels, certifications, and career tracks should be captured in the LMS.

14. Calculate the additional revenue generated through competency engagement and the benefits that accrue to the customers, as well as to their ultimate client.

15. Once every six months, have a strategic leadership meeting of the Learning Academy’s Steering Committee to review the intended goals, benefits derived, and future strategies, so as to align the learning goals with the business objectives.

Ultimately, as we continue to partner with the customer, our organization slowly but consistently moves from being a preferred vendor to a trusted advisor.

Huligeshwari Devi is an ICF Accredited Coach and Learning consultant/head of Enterprise Domain Learning at 2016 Training Top 125 winner Tech Mahindra.