Smart Train: Creative Training Techniques

Participant-Centered Training: is a supportive environment provided for participant exploration, struggle, and discovery, so the insights they gain will truly be theirs, along with the self-confidence that comes from those discoveries. This is the core of participant centered training. The key results of this training approach are:

  • Enthusiastic Participants
  • Dramatic increase in the training transfer to the job
  • Improved learner retention
  • More information in less time
  • Creation of an accelerated learning environment
  • Exceptionally well-trained and effective workforce
  • Achieves participant buy-in even from difficult participants
In this training the learning shifts to the participant instead of the trainer feeling totally responsible for the learning taking place, the shift is to the participants taking responsibility, not just for their creativity and experience, but to create action plans for using any new skills or contents.

Bob Pike  has devised what is well known in training circles in USA as " Pikes Laws of Adult Learning", they are foundation principles underlying " Creative Training Techniques "   

Law 1. Adults are babies with big bodies.
Law 2. People don't agree with their own data.
Law 3. Learning is directly -proportional to fun.

Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management (SCM) also known as Finite Planning Software, helps companies figure out better ways to manufacture and distribute products by tightly connecting the various links of the supply chain. SCM software is also helping some companies reduce inventory as much as forty percent and decrease customer lead time, which leads to better profitability, enhanced reputation, and higher stock prices.

Emotional Quotient of the Organization

There has been a lot of hype around concepts like Emotional Quotient and people skills, and how in the long run the so called good EQ in a person translates into a greater success levels and subsequently higher productivity in the workplace. Key phrases like empathy, good interpersonal skills are becoming determining factors in the selection, retention and promotion of employees.

Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) points out that though the term EQ may not have been used explicitly, the concept has been with Cognizant ever since the company was formed. CTS conducts a behavioral event interview, which focuses more on the actual behavior of an individual than a conceptual answer of what he says he will do. At the end of this they are able to determine to a large extent, the leadership style an individual demonstrates, his ability to look beyond himself and his immediate team, strategic thinking - all factors which play a major role in the selection process. The company also conducts in-depth psychological tests, whereby, besides doing a thorough appraisal of their competencies, twice a year.

Donated Leave

Donated leaves allow individuals to give specified amount of personal or Major Medical Leave to other employees if an employee was out of leave and had a catastrophic illness or injury.

Determining corporate health using hypothermia test

Organization's effectiveness and vitality, its regular tasks and managerial strategy, risk taking and openness to change, flexible leadership styles and adaptability, helpful or harmful climate can be measured by hypothermia test.

  • Shivering - Do employees demonstrate suspicion of each other and poor quality of co-operation? Are they digging trenches in departmental and other grounds of " turf”?
  • Slurred speech - Has destructive competition intensified? Is communication a problem with too many downward messages and memos and not enough lateral communication? Are goals and purpose becoming blurred?
  • Dulled mental activity - Do people have trouble in identifying problems? Are symptoms treated and short-run temporary relief sought rather than durable solutions? Are workers treated impersonally ?
  • Muscular rigidity - Do you stick to old ways and avoid problem solving problem ? Are creative thinkers viewed anxiously as malcontents  who only make waves and question authority ? Are customers and clients also objectified and treated impersonally / Is there an exodus of your most energetic and imaginative workers ?
  • Falling pulse - Is there a demonstrable decline in worker morale and performance ? A general lack of caring ? Little involvement ? And when cuts in budgets are requested are they across the board cuts accompanied by statements such as "Gotta cut somewhere"?
  • Death - If you get this far your organization dies a slow, painful death, You should be looking for work.


Employee Referral 

For  recruitment organizations have started doing something which was not seen few days back. Unlike the traditional recruitment system no formal announcement  is made, through papers or magazines, but  the employees working in the same organization are asked to look for employees, what is most commonly seen, is that in such cases people refer their family members or close friends. When these people join a bond is created among the employees, which does not allow the employee to leave the job, this eventually helps the organization to retain their employees. Infosys was one of the first company to start a reward scheme attached to every stage of this scheme.

New Millenium Retention

Six-Step plan to help move the retention practices into the new millenium.

  • Understand your organization's core purpose.-
           Every organization relies upon one of the following four core purposes as their primary driver to competitive advantage. 
1.      Customer service - creating customer solutions to exceed expectations ?
2.      Innovation - creating the future via technology and leading - edge thinking ?
3.      Operational  excellence - creating the processes and efficiencies to minimize costs, waste, and errors ?
4.      Spirit - creating the environment that inspires employee  excellence ?
           Every organization have elements of all four, but one should clearly by your company's core driver to competitive advantage

  • Focus retention on connecting employees to core purpose - not money
           Employees today need to connect to something more powerful than a paycheck, something more lasting than the company name or logo….it's culture that should drive our recruitment and retention efforts.

  • Follow the 50/50 rule
            Full fifty percent of your compensation, benefits, rewards, recognition, and performance appraisal systems should  clearly reinforce and clearly align to your core culture

  • Measure the right turnover.
            Too often we measure the wrong turnover - overall employee turnover. Is it necessary to measure the turnover of the bottom 20% of our workers ? No, because they  probably do not connect to your core culture. What is most important is to measure is to measure your top 20 % turnover, those stars that drive your company and your culture. They are the ones you can ill afford to lose. If you measure turnover at all, begin with measure your top 20 % turnover.


  • If  you are not sure, survey
            Not sure what your core culture is ? Not sure if you employees connect to it ? Not sure what your top 20% performers look like ? Not sure how your current retention practices benchmark against leading companies ? Survey it. Ask your executives, your employees, even your vendor partners what they see as your core culture and how well great employees "connect" to it

  • Remember, your best recruiting strategy is a great retention strategy.
            Your best retention strategy is a great recruiting strategy. You must align both your recruiting and retention practices to core culture to win in tomorrow's workplace.

Teach Me, Don’t Punish Me
                 Discipline without punishment is the most innovative HR tool and the best kept HR secret of the 20th century. The concept has two basic goals. First it is designed to create an opportunity for the employees to solve the problem, second it is intended to do everything reasonably possibly to maintain an effective relationship between the employee, the manager and the organization .Rarely does the employee walk away believing or feeling that the manager is trying to create an opportunity for his success.  Whether intended or not, the employee usually walks away feeling that the purpose of the discipline was to make sure he/she knew that he/she had made a mistake and that that he/she was in big trouble because of it.

The discipline without punishment manager must understand that his/her role  is to coach. A coach is patient. A coach teaches. A coach encourages. A coach focuses the employee on success, not on failure. Most importantly, a coach defines what success is.

Oral reminder is the first formal coaching step of discipline without discipline. The manager’s goal in this session is to help the employee agree to solve the problem. The manager takes on the role of a supportive coach who is working to help the employee understand what  the problem is, why it is a problem and what the employee needs  to do to correct it.

The written reminder takes the coaching process to the next level, it is a serious step. The supervisor is focussed on defining the expected performance and soliciting the employee’s agreement to perform at that level.

A decision making consists of one day with pay. (Yes, it says with pay!) In developing the system, Grote found that the employee views suspension without pay as punishment.

Leave with pay comes with a price to pay. The employee is instructed to consider the wealth of coaching that came with the oral and written reminders.

Discipline without punishment is not a cure-at all. It will not solve all problems. It cannot be implemented overnight. It requires planning, training and careful implementation. It is not recommended in the worst situations.

Simply the best 
the new reward policy emphasis on rewarding “ Simply  the best “ employee. Its objective is to provide a sense of recognition and achievement motivation for the significant contribution.

There are six categories under “ simply the best ”

1.      Out Perform – Outstanding performer of the year i.e performance “always exceeds expectations”.

2.      Innovation Helps – An innovative idea given by  an employee. Which has helped in the cost reduction / improve efficiency.

3.      The Triumph – Employee ( in team / individually ) has come out with an in-house publication or has been involved in an event management without help of external agency

4.       BIP Countdown – Best BIP project that has achieved the target

5.      3e- Connect – Appreciates an employee’s participation ( inside or outside the company ) under the banner of ‘ E ’ Champion

6.      HS & E Rewards -  Recognize outstanding commitment and significant contribution of individual employee / group in achieving HS & E target for the year to improve HS & E performance 


A Virtual Library

Bharti is one of the  first Indian companies to have setup an e-library, or a library on the net, exclusively for Air Tel employees  where they not only access material but also take tests and get on- line certification from the company. Bharti’s e-learning initiative is a step in the direction of Knowledge Management. Bharti has 200 modules that employees can access through net and each module has 5 to 10 chapters. The modules are largely technical and deal with switching and networking issues, programming languages, e-commerce and its various concepts. The library has a full time facilitator who, along with an e-learning manager, reports to the employee development manager.

One of the biggest advantage that Bharti expects from this venture is skill mapping, using the examination and certification process of the module system, Bharti's HR department can track the consistent and brilliant performers without much effort and design a separate fast-track program for them, similarly, the organisation can facilitate further learning where skill gaps are noticed

Best HR Practices at the software companies.

  • Flexi Time In The Office Hours : This is being followed by a large number of companies in the IT sector. Companies like infosys, SAS, Oracle, etc. Have beef following this practice for some time now. The companies that do not follow  this system   also allow their employees to work at any hour provided he works during the prescribed time.
  • ESOP : The employees stock option plan was pioneered in the Indian software context by Infosys. Under this scheme the employees are given company stock and the criteria is the length of service and performance rating.
  • Organizational holidays : Here the whole company is closed for a specific period. SAS is closed for Christmas week from the 25th December to the 1st of January.
  • Sabbaticals : Here the employee can proceed on study leave and continue getting a part of  his pay. SAS gives Sabbaticals for one year to the employees who have completed four years of service at the company. During this period the employees draw half of their regular salary.
  • Reimbursement of fee for the course : Some companies reimburse the tuition fee of part time courses relevant to the employees up to certain limits. Infosys , SAS and some other companies have been doing this.
  • Recruitment of software professionals from non IT background : Companies like Satyam and Infosys have recruited non IT professionals and trained them to full fledged IT experts.
  • Training Centers : Most software companies have decent training infrastructure. The Wipro Center of software excellence, Satyam Learning Center, E & R of Infosys are renowned for the quality of their training programs. The basic training at Infosys has been compared to BS degree in computer science from any US University.
  • Training the kin of employees : The satyam Learning Center trains the kin of employees in various areas.
  • Career Progression Paths : A few companies have detailed career progression paths laid for their employees. All IT has a very compressive progression path for its employees.
  • 360 degree appraisal : Infosys has a provision for a 460 appraisal system where an individual is appraised by his role set.
  • Succession Planning : Infosys is about to implement a succession planning mechanism where the successor of the employee at the high level would be identified.
  • Mentoring System : Infosys has introduced a mentoring system at its Pune center where a few employees would be placed under a person who would be preferably from his own college. The mentor would be responsible for the development of the fresh recruit.
  • Employee need survey : Many companies have embarked on satisfaction and need surveys to ascertain the sentiments and priorities of the employees. The result of these surveys have been incorporated into the HR system.
  • Interest free Loans : Infosys provides interest free loans to its employees for building or purchasing houses. It also gives soft loans for the purchase of cars and PCs
  • Recruitment through  the Internet : Companies are using the internet for the purpose of recruitment its employees.
  • Campus environment : Infosys maintains a campus environment in its premises. There are facilities for sports and a Gym. The electronics city office has baseball, volleyball and lawn tennis courts and the employees are regular users of these facilities.
  • Open Office : The software companies mostly have open office with no cabins for even very senior persons, this improves the communication levels of the employees and reduce the visibility of hierarchy. Infosys  maintains an open with open door policy. Even the CMDs door is open and everyone can see him work and everyone can approach him.
  • Parties and Movies : In some companies like SAS, Micro land and a few more practice this.
  • Benefits : All the software companies give a host of benefits to its employees. Some of the benefits like marriage loans ( Infosys ), Dating allowance ( NIIT ), parent’s anniversary allowance ( NIIT ), are quite unique in themselves. Apart from  this paid  vacations for the family, children’s education loans, crèches ( Infosys ), etc are some of the benefits that company provides.
  • Concern for the family : The companies have greatly increased their concern for the families of the employees. Infosys allows its employees to take their spouses on overseas trips if it lasts for over three months.
  • Birthday Celebration : The practice of celebrating the birthdays of its employees has become very common with almost all companies doing it.
  • Leaves : Companies give a variety of leaves. Paternity leave, social leave to attend children’s school functions, etc are given by some companies ( Oracle, NIIT )
  • Burnout Leave : To prevent career burnout of its employees SAS has a provision of six week fully paid leave for the employees who have completed four years of service. This in SAS  jargon is called Hibernation leave
  • Assessment Centers : Some companies are on the path of setting up of assessment centers for the potential appraisal of its employees ( Micro land ). ALIT has a compressive potential appraisal apparatus;.
  • Quality : The software industry is quality conscious and hence has adopted many concepts. Six stigma process at Wipro improves the quality process by reducing defects and cycle time. This has also been implemented in improving the HR system. This system has been  adopted from Motorola who  pioneered it. The companies have got their processes ISO certified. Companies have also gone in for the SEI-CMM certification and Infosys has got the distinction of being the 21st company in the world to reach level 4 of this model.
  • Links with education institutes : Many companies have tie-up with educational institutes like IITs, IIMs, and IISc for training programs. Companies like Infosys, SAS, etc. have a working   relation with such institutes. They also have tie ups with other institutes for the distance learning programmes for their employees.
  • Intangible asset accounting : Infosys pioneered the recording of the intangible  assets -  human resource in its financial statements. Satyam has followed this system.
  • Recruitment through employee reference schemes : The majority  of the companies recruit also through this scheme where the employee is instrumental in bringing new employees.
  • Transfer of training : Some companies have initiated the process of sharing the training attained by its employees. Philips Software Development Center has begun this system for some training programs .
  • Exit Interviews : Almost  all the software companies conduct exit interviews for those who are leaving the company. The reason behind the  exits are analyzed and steps are taken to rectify the shortcomings of the company.
  • Communication through electronic means :  In most of the companies the regular mode of communication is through the electronic mail. In addition they have their exclusive intranets where all company and work related information is put up.
  • Long service award : Most of the companies have long service awards for its employees. Wipro has the club 5 and club 10 for those employees who have served the company for as many years.

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