INTERVIEW: VEENA B.M DISCUSSES HER TRANSFER DESIGN PROGRAM EXPERIENCE
Veena is the Head of Talent Management at AllState India and has worked in People Development across industries over the past 2 decades.
WHAT IS THE TRANSFER DESIGN PROGRAM?
The Transfer Design Program is for HRD professionals, L&D consultants, training designers and trainers alike, who understand the obstacles of training transfer from their own experience and want to do something about it. The program enables you to use customised and research-based transfer concepts, transfer tools, the 12 Levers of Transfer Effectiveness and more, to create compatible and tailored programs that offer verifiable transfer effectiveness and lasting impact for your participants.
WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED AS AN L&D PROFESSIONAL THAT PROMPTED YOU TO SEEK OUT THIS PROGRAM?
“The primary challenge that we had, that I think most L&D teams face across industries, is the proof of impact of the programs we run. It’s hard to prove this impact because we struggle to show that a program had an impact, either in terms of behaviour or in terms of business. It all comes back to how effective the transfer was in terms of skills and learning. That’s the challenge that I was facing at that point in time.
WHAT BENEFITS DID YOU EXPECT FROM THIS PROGRAM AND WHAT BENEFITS DID YOU GET?
“I was looking for a program that would allow me to apply what I was learning straight away without too much complication. Often there are concepts and frameworks out there which are right in terms of intent, but it becomes very difficult when trying to apply them to an organisational context. So, my primary expectation was to be able to do that. With this program I found there were many things that I could quickly apply, not everything, but enough to get started and make a difference. I think that’s what helped me a lot in terms of the benefit of this program.”
DID YOU HAVE ANY MAJOR AHA MOMENTS OR KEY INSIGHTS THAT YOU TOOK AWAY FROM THE PROGRAM?
“I think the 12 Levers were a big learning for me. Looking at application in a very different context. Particularly paying attention to the organisational side of it was also a big ‘Aha’ moment. Another significant moment was when Melanie said “you don’t have to apply everything all at once, you can take baby steps and you will see the difference”.
WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU MADE TO YOUR WORK SINCE ATTENDING THE PROGRAM?
“I’ve used a lot of concepts from the Transfer Effectiveness Program. The first change that I made was using the Goal Canvas. Whenever we are invited by a client to have a conversation, or whenever there’s an ask, we start with the Goal Canvas now. We are starting to think about outcomes first, rather than starting with the learning activity. That’s a very significant change. The Goal Canvas also helps a lot in having conversations with the client, whoever the stakeholder is, because there are some very good questions that can prompt the client to really think about what the need is, or the problem they’re trying to solve.”
HAS THERE BEEN AN IMPACT ON THE ENGAGEMENT AND EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR PROGRAMS?
“Yes, because for one thing, within my own team, we are starting to look at ‘are we really making a difference to the business, or are we just satisfying ourselves’? We’re able to have some difficult conversations and bring the problem to the foreground. That’s the first difference I’m seeing and it’s also helping businesses to think about what the real issues are that they are facing. A lot of the time, stakeholders approach you with a solution, just asking you to execute on a training. So, now we start with sitting them down and asking what the problem is they’re trying to solve first, and then deciding if training is the solution. The other significant thing that I’ve also implemented, is that for all the programs we now run, we are ensuring application, and success in application, is a part of the program. We have announced and articulated that anyone who completes a learning journey within our organisation will only get certified when they complete the implementation phase. Implementation is now seen as part of the program, so that’s a big change that we’ve introduced.”
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS PROGRAM AND TO WHOM?
“I would say anyone, particularly in the L&D field, because that’s where a lot of the practitioners struggle in terms of showing the impact of their programs and trying to make the learners really apply and implement what they’ve learnt. However, I think it can be applied in other contexts also, not just from an L&D standpoint, but even in the larger HR field. There are many times where we run programs and it’s difficult to see the impact and look at how this program made a difference in somebody’s life or in somebody’s work. I believe this can have an impact even in the larger HR organization. It’s a very useful set of tools.”
DO YOU SEE THIS SHIFT HAPPENING IN THE INDUSTRY, FROM JUST EXECUTING TRAININGS TO A MORE OUTCOME-FIRST APPROACH?
“Yes, I think increasingly so. At the end of the day, it boils down to what benefit are we getting out of all the money we are investing in our people? Just showing smiley faces on evaluations is no longer enough. Getting people to attend programs is no longer enough. We know, that to make a difference in terms of how these skills get applied at work, we need to do it more consciously. And there is an increasing ask for the L&D function to become more accountable.”
Veena left us with this insight:
“Quick and easy application, pick what I want to apply, and get started making a difference easily and quickly. We are taking some very radical steps…one of the programs that we are running currently is honing interviewing skills and we have set the criteria for certification as peer evaluation. Participants are certifying each other. We’ve moved the responsibility to the participants themselves. We’ve been able to use a lot of the tools that I got in the transfer effectiveness program. They are very relatable, and not just theoretical. Application of course will depend on the maturity of each organisation.”
We’d like to thank Veena for her time and her insights on the Transfer Design Program.