How personalized learning at scale drives business impact

In today’s dynamic business environment, effective communication and collaboration are more important than ever. Especially when communication aspects such as openness, honesty and transparency are distinctive values ‚Äč‚Äčthat can make or break organizations.

Today, people experience and expect a high user experience in every sphere of life. The right communication at the right time and in the right way is vital to providing a superior experience for consumers, customers and employees alike. It’s not just a feel-good factor, but has a real and tangible impact on business. Studies often highlight that poor communication can lead to missed deadlines, lack of clarity, increased costs, reduced efficiency and productivity, ultimately impacting individual and business performance. Effective communication is inevitably the key to the success and continued growth of organizations.

Smart investment in learning interventions in this direction has become critical and will accelerate productivity and open doors for innovation, but most importantly, it will reduce business costs. This is how.

What and Why by Communication Fitness

Communication fitness is a multifaceted tool that requires employees to be strong in sending, receiving, understanding and responding to communication. In the workplace, this becomes especially important as it comes down to an individual’s ability to communicate with clarity, confidence and credibility while carrying out their day-to-day responsibilities. Clear communication improves collaboration, relationship building, co-creation and cross-functional connections, adding meaning and purpose to work.

Inadequate communication fitness can hinder the growth and maintenance of a business by hampering supply, eroding trust and damaging reputation. According to the Economic Intelligence Unit, poor communication fit is the cause of 44% of failed projects, 31% of low employee morale, 25% of missed performance goals and 18% of lost sales in the workplace.

Deeper communication challenges have emerged with the rise of remote work and virtual teams and the loss of face-to-face human connection. In this context, communication fitness is a top-level agenda item for CXOs to build a future-ready organization. The key is to ‘skill at scale’ with a customized, tailored upskilling strategy that meets their unique business requirements and individualized people needs. A starting point is to draw up images of learners and one effective framework for this is the Jobs To Be Done framework.

The Work To Be Done Framework (JTBD) for Communication Fitness

Introduced by Clayton Christensen, who first coined the term “jobs to be done” in his 2003 book The Innovator Solution, this framework has been used by numerous scholars over the years. But the essence of this framework lies in defining, categorizing, capturing and organizing all of your customers’ needs. When it comes to aligning it with communication fitness goals, the JTBD framework will play a monumental role in shaping the direction your employee training journeys should take.

HR and L&D leaders can witness greater impact by defining learner personas and creating personalized learning journeys. This can ensure success in the role based on the industry specific context and objectives to be achieved. This includes outlining the key tasks performed and the issues facing the individual and identifying steps to better and more quickly bridge the communication gap. In this article, we explore how this framework helps us map skills gaps and how we can design techniques to enable our professionals to become more agile and future-ready.

In this article, we explore how the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework can be applied to curriculum design. These cases exemplify how the JTBD framework can be applied to design training programs by understanding the specific jobs that communication fitness makes for organizations in three key areas in the Indian industry landscape: pharmaceuticals, BFSI and consulting.

Case 01: Production manager in pharmaceuticals

Production managers perform communication tasks such as relaying instructions to their internal teams and managing audits with external auditors. However, poor communication during audit conversations often results in a failure to build trust with auditors. Production managers struggle with filtering out details in these critical interactions, resulting in additional information leaking to auditors and subsequent unnecessary questions. The communication gap is so pronounced that even as SMEs (subject matter experts), they may find it difficult to explain deviations with logic. Such a gap ultimately leads to a loss of confidence and inefficiency in the underlying audit process.

To bridge this gap, it is essential to enable production managers to give confident explanations that help them build their credibility. Ensuring their ability to provide accurate and clear instructions will help them improve efficiency by reducing the TAT on actions that need to be taken. As they become more adept at building trust better and faster with auditors, they will be empowered to take on these meetings independently and manage their bandwidth accordingly, being more productive in the workplace.

Case Study 02: Key Account Manager at BFSI

These role holders typically perform tasks related to connecting with clients to increase networks, pitching and pitching services to close deals, and accompanying team members to meetings with HNI (High Net Worth Individuals) clients. They also share plans, strategies and updates at review meetings – a key communication component and success factor. Although communication is a major part of the job, it is seen that often their proposals are not impactful, so they cannot turn a future deal into business. There is also a gap in linking product and service features to customer needs.

While they are able to capture key information directly from customers, they may not be able to translate it into useful insights for stakeholders to improve the product or process. It is imperative for them to have a deep understanding of the customer and customize the pitch for more impactful conversations. The desired outcome of the training is for KAMS to close deals faster and attract more business, with the TAT for decision making being reduced. Investing in communication fitness will play an invaluable role in achieving this.

Case 03: Senior IT&D Product Line Manager in Consulting

Senior Product Line Managers in IT&D are responsible for supporting global innovation and launches, global regulations and compliance, and automation and process design. From a communication perspective, JTBD outlines tasks such as proposing process and system innovations, designing solutions, presenting the same to key stakeholders for their input, and demonstrating the impact of an improved process. Other communication tasks include obtaining process design information from various departments and explaining technology solutions to a non-tech audience. Therein lies the gap, ie. these technical professionals struggle to simplify products and solutions for the non-tech audience they are intended for. They are unable to present information to senior stakeholders with strong logic and impact and may rely on their senior’s support to turn deals into approvals. This in turn can lead to a longer TAT for critical decisions.

These professionals must develop a better understanding of the audience and learn to simplify the details. This will help the non-technical audience to understand and operate the system with improved efficiency. The result will be faster approvals, buy-ins and a reduced TAT in turning an idea into a system change or project launch. Overall, this would lead to better career growth, with managers gaining more exposure and moving up the hierarchy as they trust their abilities to communicate independently with stakeholders.

Creating the right communication fitness strategy is possible with the right combination of technology and coaching programs. HR, L&D and business leaders must work closely together to prioritize such learning interventions to elevate their organizational growth strategy. Building individual and collective communication capabilities will be vital in this endeavor to unlock innovation and drive business performance with customized skill-building opportunities. To learn more about how can be the right partner for you on this journey, click here.

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