Editor’s Note: Srinivas Kulkarni, Head, Learning & Development and Analytics wing, Social Kinnect is the Guest Editor at LI for Feb. The entire month he is going to share his insights on Learning & Development.
My first article talked about the challenges faced by digital marketers and how we should look at creating an opportunity to evolve into a better workplace and environment. In this article, I was thinking of sharing a model, a roadmap to help us achieve our goals better.
Truth be told! There is NO model! No fixed way to do that.
Simply because we have been following a ‘MODEL’ even before we get to work, that’s been a challenge in its own way if you ask me. It’s our ‘EDUCATION.’
But eventually what we need to do now is stop Educating and EDGEucate our workforce. What does that mean?
It’s something that we have recently come up with, at Social Kinnect. Something interesting, that’ll help our #Kinnectors achieve a lot more, learn more, something beyond what they need to do their jobs better. A way of life that will help them become better individuals, skilled people and hopefully entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Something that’ll give them the EDGE.
We call it ‘The Kinnect EDGE’ (Enhanced Development & Growth Ecosystem) I’ll come to ‘What’ it is in a while. Before that I’ll try to talk to you about ‘Why.’
One of the core challenge we still face today is getting 80% of our workforce to evolve & to bring the best in themselves as they grow. Simply because our education system has been remarkably archaic.
Don’t you agree?
Okay, yes, we hire a lot of our marketing interns, social media executives, digital media planners, copywriters, content writers who’ve probably studied BMM or BMS or did a post-graduation in event management and the works. That’s the real truth.
But we all know, how much of learning they get at college, especially when it isn’t a specialized stream of learning. Why? Cause 80% of our educational institutions, lack hands on training or still include very basic and archaic education systems and methodology. There are few who have guest faculties, live projects, internships however, we’re still a long shot from achieving experiential and kinesthetic ways of learning.
The real challenge is when business owners, leaders and even our team members to get them up to speed when they join. How we cope up at work depends on how we learn. So in this article I’ll talk about how we should go about making that process smoother and helping our workforce evolve faster and better.
Some of my thoughts are inspired by Sir Ken Robinson and his views on Education. A famous author, a doctor, the PhD kind and an amazing intellectual with a great sense of humour. You must watch all his TED videos for sure.
So what did education mean to most when we learnt in school, college?
What does education mean to any one of us?
He says, education is meant to take us into the future. A future that we can’t grasp. Think about it, kids today will retire in 2076. Nobody has a clue what the world will look like in 5 years. It’s going to be unpredictable. But when you’re kids, you have extraordinary capacities, talent and creativity. Everyone has creativity as kids. But we are drained of it when we grow up.
Look at us. All of us working in the Digital Media industry! 80% of our jobs involve creativity. 20% of it, probably what we learnt in school, mostly from Maths, and yeah, during our monthly reports and or media planning for sure…
And yet, drawing, craft, art, music, dance are at the bottom of the pyramid. As marketers, we go to client/vendor meetings we negotiate, we communicate, we ideate, we create and we collaborate.
Not a lot of what I learnt in school helps me today. Essentially we all are educated out of creativity. And then we realize that sense of disengagement, when we go out to the real world.
“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy. - Sir Ken Robinson”
Where does that leave us when we get to work?
Why do we, as marketers, digital leaders of tomorrow, come to work? Have we genuinely asked yourself? Yes, it’s about the money and livelihood, sense of security, but in the true sense, what is it all about?
Did you always grow up as a child and told yourself, ‘I want to become a Designer, I want to become a Client Servicing guy, I want to become a Marketer?
Think about the most interesting things which you know of today. Or have the desire to learn.
Music! Did anyone teach you different genres of music to understand?
Reading! Yes, we read in school, but something that we were really passionate about, we read because we love doing it. Playing the Guitar. Yes, that’s a common pursuit among guys, because ‘someone’ told them, that’s how you impress the girls. 😉
On a serious note, some of the best things that you didn’t learn in school are the most passionate pursuits of your life.
But there comes a point in your life when you realize,
“This is exactly what I want to DO!”
Probably you’ll realize sometime along the line, it isn’t, you’ll pick something new up. But whatever you do has a certain sense of purpose, dots that connect themselves.
So I ask you this, what is that sense of purpose that you bring to work every day?
If you don’t know it’s okay. As Baz Luhrman says in his famous song, Sunscreen
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.
America spend trillions of dollars in education, yet, there’s a majority of people who feel even America’s behind. On the contrary a country like Finland with close to 5 million people has one of the best education systems in the world.
Because they individualize learning according to creativity, curiosity, desire to learn. Finnish children don’t start school until they are 7. Compared with other systems, they barely take homework or even exams until they’re teenagers. Children aren’t measured at all for the first six years of education. School system is 100% funded by state. They have a 93% graduation rate and an almost next to none dropout rate. And you’d be surprised, when these very children go to work, they don’t necessarily spend time struggling or even working 50–60 hour weeks to get their job done. Finland is right on top with an average 37 hour work week, one of the shortest across the world. And we all know one of the pioneer Mobile companies is from Finland. Nokia!
So while there’s little that we can do at this point to get to that level of learning, at our work, we can start making the change. That’s what EDGEucate is all about!
Most people we deal with generally enjoy their work and there are many who don’t. Some lose the zest after a while. Why?
1. Work Environment
2. Desire for Learning & Growth
3. Third and the least important is Money, because if you get the former, you are bound to get the latter.
At the end of the day, what matters is your sense of achievement.
Like in many agencies, mostly teams comprises of young folks. For us we always hope to and eventually try and hire smart dynamic ‘Entrepreneurs by attitude’ Work, for us is more than just doing our job and going home. A regular day at office is nothing less than planned chaos, fun, insightful discussions, meaningful actions and most importantly adding great value for most of our clients.
We believe that their success is ours and our brand’s growth. And that’s why this year, we want to heavily invest in giving the Kinnect EDGE to our team!
And no, it’s not just a fancy acronym we coined in a brainstorming session. It hopefully will be a way of life at Social Kinnect, for our most important stakeholders to help them prosper, grow and develop along with the organization.
Kinnect EDGE is a culmination of 4 things:
1. Personal Development – One of the most important aspect in our dynamic world is to have leaders with a charismatic personality. A lot of that learning is outside the boundaries of our education system. And that’s the key to help communicate better and help build our brands better! So if it requires investing in trainings, external workshops and or even for that matter coaching and personal grooming, I believe is worth everyone’s time.
2. The 4 Es – But how does this development happen? The 4 Es, that we believe in are Experiment, Experience, Exposure, and Evolution.
Clearly, without these 4 Es, there’s barely any learning. Without experimentation and failure, there’s no success. Without the experience through hands on learning, you obviously won’t be able to implement better and evolve better.
3. Continuous Evolution – While you may learn the best from all the exposure you get and the training you have, it is not just about what you learn at work. It’s a continuous process that will help our employees learn better and evolve in the future. Beyond, just the basics. Creating opportunities for even existing workforce to build on their specific talent and help them evolve accordingly.
4. Hands On – One thing that you don’t get to learn in school or college, though there are concepts such as live projects, internships, and on job trainings in many workplaces they can only be good enough, if you trust these newbies to actually get the kind of work that they should be able to do as full timers. Rather than just being paper pushers, research assistants, executioners (posting updates etc.) we need to get these folks learn the various aspects of digital right from the get go.
And this is how we plan to do it:
Experiential Learning – Focusing on learning beyond sitting inside a classroom. Leadership trainings and learning beyond the PPTs, Chalk and Talk. Learning hands on.
External Workshops – External learning sessions for various employees, especially ones with the potential to grow as leaders in the long run. Inviting external trainers, sending employees for outbound training programs for leadership.
Mentorship and Grooming – Internal development program to help groom the leaders of tomorrow. Focused learning based on talent and acumen towards specific departments.
Lateral Growth – Encouraging growth according to their skill sets within the organization, especially when you’ve spent some time in the system, industry and have come to terms with your interest viz-a-viz your skill sets.
Personal Development Training – While a lot of technology and process based training will help adapt to current trends, nothing will help you get ahead in life, than building your soft skills. So, in addition to training on tech, tools and systems we also want to drive personality development workshops and training to help the team communicate and lead better!
Investing in Training on Tools and Systems – This is a given, considering so many platforms and so much interesting dynamic data that we have to deal with. Training folks beyond basic insights.
Internal Repository of Learning - All said and done, it’s important for all of us to keep a repository for learning, a knowledge base which is a strong combination of all the various videos, articles, platforms, screencasts and How Tos, to ensure scalability and encourage self-learning.
Do share what you have to say about this approach, and I’m sure, some of this, you may have tried out in your agencies, offices. How has it worked out?