Mitr
Hr Executive
Shreya.amma
Deloitte

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Hi All,
In my company i have been sked to start behavoural training for some employees.
I want to know what all the things that can be covered under this? how do i go ahead & analyse the training needs? Where can i get all the material to read about the said training?
Can anyone help me in this regard? right now we dont want to call external consultants for the same.
mitr.

From Spain
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Start with couselling the people, try to find out what is it that is prompting them to act in such way. Try talking to all the levels of employees, where upon you will come to know the reasons or atleast the causes that are influencing the employees in coming late or being absent. Speak to someone in the organization who is senior in the org. and you feel will give the correct information.

Is technical competency the only criterion for determining the professional worth of an IT worker? In the fast-paced world of information technology, IT professionals are hard pressed to keep their tech skills current and relevant, with little time to develop the softer talents. They are likely to hit a plateau after some time. It is a known fact that those who grow the fastest are not necessarily the ones with strongest technical skills, but those who possess the best interpersonal skills and the right attitude. Very few IT professionals however truly realise the significant role of behavioural competency in their career progression.

Understanding the significance of investing in behavioural skills, many IT organisations in India have started investing in it as a part of their corporate training initiative. Behavioural skills like motivation, communication skills, team spirit and self-management, have witnessed a marked transition in the last decade from being ‘generic’ and ‘good to have’ to be ‘defined’ and a ‘pre-requisite’. “The shift in perception is not without reason. Organisations across the globe have realised that professionals with just technical skills only partly complement the essentials of being a ‘complete professional’,” says Cyprian D’souza, CEO and chief people officer of Kanbay India. D’souza adds that research study has revealed that people skills outweigh technical skills by a factor of 3:1, in deciding the long-term success of professionals. The fact that IT professionals have to interact with people across the globe makes it imperative for them to have effective communication and other behavioural skills, and play a critical role in working with global clients and in global teams.

Customer-sensitivity

“When a customer first receives an IT professional for a sales presentation, the non-verbal expressions make a greater impact than what is immediately spoken as sales communication. Communicating value in ways that the client understands is not always easy for the IT professional. Worse still, a brand presented by a cold, ‘matter-of-fact’ employee may get tarnished if the professional does not exercise basic sensitivity towards clients,” says Shabbir Merchant, general manager HR of Wipro Infotech. Adding to this is the fact that the client as an “IT user” does not easily identify with “nerdy” or excessively technical professionals. Behavioural training prepares IT professionals to handle customer needs in more humane ways. Execution excellence, that is compliance in technical and process standards requires more than technical knowledge. “Emotional bandwidth and sensitive expression of the same is the implied need of the client,” adds Merchant emphatically.

Whom to train

In most IT organisations behavioural training is imparted at all levels irrespective of position. B Shiva Subramanian, manager-HR, TCS informs that in the Initial Training Programme (ITP), it forms a part of the curriculum. At Wipro, there is a plan to even deliver a training model to service providers and channel partners.

Ullhas Pagey, president and CEO of HR consultancy firm Competency and Capability Enablers, points out that many a times even people occupying senior management roles like managing director, president, COO and CEO, lack people processes and behavioural skills as a result of which the image of the organisation and the individual gets affected adversely. “Their concept of behavioural and people skills fairly often is more superficial and rather ill-conceived, like organising picnics, get-togethers and partying around. This however does not help in building authentic relationships. It is often said that there is no problem employees but there are only problematic bosses, hence imparting training in behavioural skills at senior levels is an critical as it is at the junior levels.”

What to train

At Wipro quarterly training calendars have been drawn up to address the behavioural development needs. There are more than 20 offerings form the Employee Development Group (EDG), ranging from preparatory skills for entry level engineers, to leadership themes for first-time managers to generic skills like conflict management, influencing skills, cross-cultural skills, etc. Performance-oriented skills like presentation and communication skills are also covered. There is also a leadership training series for all levels, apart from a self-leadership programme. Merchant informs that EDG also facilitates several workshops where employees’ learning is facilitated as “incidental” to their problem-solving process. For instance, if two functional groups are unable to resolve issues over a long period of time, they are engaged in an internal customer orientation workshop. Similarly, ideation exercises are offered to help employees unfreeze from routine and draw out fresh thoughts and approaches to business issues at strategic and operational levels. “In such sessions, the influence of culture and behavioural inputs find significant place in discussions,” adds Merchant.

TCS has also chalked out a large number of programmes for behavioural skills training—presentation skills, team building, personal grooming, attitudinal change, cross-cultural management and consulting skills. “Out of these personal grooming and cross-cultural management are very significant. The first because it trains one in personal hygiene, conversational skills, telephone skills, etc. Cross cultural training helps the consultant move from a “mine” is the only culture in the world to a multi-cultural outlook,” believes Subramaniam.

Pune-based Kanbay conducts behavioural skills training in wide variety of topics and areas. “This is keeping into consideration the fact that nearly all our technical staff need to interact with either clients or with their teams overseas,” says Cyprian D’souza. While some specific topics are defined based on roles, the majority are common to all. The training is given through personal trainers, WBT’s CBT and video training sessions.

The trainers

At TCS, most of the sessions are done inhouse by consultants and full-time faculty engaged for the programmes. Wipro engages outside expertise on a need basis. Management guru C K Prahalad of the University of Michigan Business School, conducted the Stategic Leaders Programme recently. Professor Sumantra Ghoshal of London Business School and Dr Jagdish Sheth (from Emery University, US), are the other leading management thinkers who had conducted training sessions in the past. Senior faculty from the academia including those associated with IIMs are also engaged, informs Merchant.

Outside experts are in fact a common phenomenon. Ullhas Pagey explains why: “Firstly they share a boarder perspective, secondly they often carry more credibility, and lastly since IT and IT related industries like ITES, contact centres, is a recently phenomenon, not many inhouse trainers who are matured enough to train are available.”

Behavioural training experts believe that the most successful people in a company are not the ones who possess the best technical skills but those who manage their emotions the best—they are invariably the most productive. “We have to teach people to manage emotions,” emphasies Arfeen Khan of Peak Performance Strategies. “In the Americas and UK, individuals take loans to get themselves trained because they know what difference it can make to their career. The Indian IT industry, is open to the idea but still needs convincing. They are still to realise that attitude is everything,” he adds. Activity based training is considered the most effective. Khan’s methodologies range from outdoor activities to “crazy stuff” like fire walking and war games.

Behavioural training however changes with the culture in which the professional works, reminds Merchant. There continues to be an East-West difference, despite a decade of cost-competitive performance in the Indian IT sector.

In the US, corporates have started appointing “success coach” who get together staff members and do workouts in “mental gym”. Within the next two to three years all IT organisations are estimated to keep budget aside to fine-tune the attitude and interpersonal skills of their employees—a necessity for optimising the organisation’s productivity.

Training requirements

* Communication Skills

* Team Building/Management

* Conflict Management

* Negotiation

* Counselling Skills

* Effective Presentations

* Cross-cultural Management

* Attitudinal Change

* Effective Meetings

* Time Management

* Interviewing Skills

* Consulting with clients

From India, Hyderabad
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