In Conversation With Kankana Barua Group Chief HR Officer, Healthium Medtech
Kankana joined Healthium in February 2019 as a Group CHRO and is responsible for the transformation and integration of the Group Companies. An enterprising professional with a background in Human Resources, Kankana is a great coach and mentor and is focused on creating platforms for employees to operate at their full capacity.
Kankana’s previous experiences include being Chief People Officer at Tally Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Senior Vice President & Global Head Human Resource at Jubilant Drug Discovery and Development Services.
She has completed her Company Secretary course from ICSI and is the First Women Company Secretary from North East India. In addition, she is also a Law Graduate and holds a PGDHRM degree from Pondicherry University.
Q- What are the key challenges that you’re facing as CHRO when it comes to L&D post-Covid-19 Pandemic?
Unlike the IT sector, Healthcare is very people-driven with a culture of face-to-face interactions amongst key stakeholders and as prevalent with large sales teams anywhere, classroom-learning being the primary learning approach when compared to online learning methodologies.
The Healthcare industry was probably one of the most challenged given that entry for sales teams into hospitals was restricted. For an industry such as ours where hospitals and surgeons form our key clients and face to face interactions have long been the preferred route to connect, it was a complete challenge to regroup and rethink our strategy to upskill teams on how to safely and comfortably manage remote working and client liaison while being there to support the healthcare industry with products that are essential for surgeries.
The pandemic has forced the Industry to rethink proven methodologies when it comes to L&D initiatives, has paved the way for new thinking, and acted as a catalyst to transform the traditional learning programs.
It has offered a plethora of opportunities to upskill and reskill employees, given changing organizational goal posts and expedited the need to move to digital training to augment remote working. With sales teams having to work with clients remotely, Finance teams having to manage the closing of books remotely, product and marketing teams finding ways to manage new product launches remotely, L&D professionals have had to double their efforts to ensure quick and effective ways to deliver on remote learning methodologies and the process has allowed the role to evolve and be more people-oriented.
Q- How is the role of L&D professionals changing in the current scenario?
With almost all L&D programs going virtual, the role of L&D professionals and the way they function is more important now than ever before, as they not only need to ensure constant upskilling and reskilling of the employees but also ensure that it is being done remotely and through a mechanism that is flexible, easy-to-use, and doesn’t act as a hindrance to the daily routine of employees.
There is a marked shift from the traditional webinar-based training that renders itself ineffective in a remote working setup, to creating tailor-made training content that needs to be made more audiovisual to retain interest, modular content that can be looked upon –demand so that learning in small parts is made possible, interactive capsules to assess learning, retention and explain doubts interspersed with training capsules and most importantly gauging the effectiveness of the content and revising based on feedback. This means that the first team to effectively learn and develop skills to match new needs has been the L & D team itself.
Q- What are some of the L&D initiatives initiated in your organization in this pandemic?
Our Team at Healthium has proactively revamped the organization’s L & D requirements to a completely online and versatile format. As an example, the company has completely moved product trainings from f2f to online capsules. This has necessitated converting f2f training into interesting, on-demand audio-visual capsules illustrating use of our products, creating faq content in an interactive manner, building in summaries, assessment sheets, and online help as required to create a seamless atmosphere for learning, clearing doubts, recapping the learnings and assessing the knowledge almost simulating a real-life classroom but with the added advantage that the content can be requested for on-demand whenever the employee is free and can be repeatedly watched for greater retention, luxuries that classroom training does not allow for.
This is not all, where on the job learning is possible, they have been conducted. Trainings with cadavers to train sale force on in-product usage have been made possible. For Manufacturing, where most employees worked on-site, given the high requirements for safety and a focus on quality, General safety trainings, Trainings on Quality like EUMDR, ISO, risk management, GM, and Lean Sigma were conducted in surroundings that supported the new normal.
Q- In your opinion, what are L&D trends that will define the segment in 2021?
Digital learning is here to stay. With the number of cases rising again, there is limited scope for in-person L&D trainings. As employees continue to work remotely over a sustained period of time, most Organizations have had to revisit their learning platforms and make their courses/ modules available to employees remotely.
Additionally, the frequency of learning programs will only increase going forward. These are unprecedented times and require employees to continuously hone their skills and make meaningful contributions towards their organisations against an evolving business landscape. We will also see more customized and shorter learning formats to ensure quick turnarounds with more modules being incorporated into the daily schedule of the employees. There is a need to drive more synergies between the organizational goals, employee competencies, and the L&D programs and this is a trend that will continue to grow in the near future.
Q- Any concluding remarks
L & D formats today have changed considerably to stay relevant to current realities. Moving forward, organizations will only optimize the mix of virtual and f2f learning methodologies that suit their needs the best. In industries such as Healthcare where Learning is a continuous need given new surgical trends, new products and innovations coming into play virtually led L & D formats will stay relevant not only for our own teams but also for round tables, master classes and Continuous Medical Education for our clients as well.
Thank You, Kankana!