Learning technology like computerized simulations can help deliver more result-oriented solutions for business. This article discusses the technology and the approach behind designing and delivering such a program. If you would like a quick glance at the results, you can find the key points below.Quick summary:We designed a custom, simulation-based program to help Cluster Managers of Arvind Lifestyle Brands take the next step. It was a comprehensive 9-month program with a simulation-driven workshops, post-program modules, and implementation of live projects based on the learning from the program. The program was implemented across three cities - Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. At the end of it, we undertook a process to prepare a detailed ‘impact report’.The program had measurable results on two fronts - business impact and people development:
- Revenue increased by INR 7.5 crores
- 11 employees promoted within 6 months of the learning program
- Operational expenditure was reduced by INR 1.75 crores
Such a comprehensive project is built on collaboration and shared vision. Please skip to the end of the article to know what Shilpa Vaid - CHRO, Arvind Lifestyle Brands had to say about the workshop. You can also find links to our business simulation platform, our solutions for the retail industry, or to get in touch with us to explore possible future collaborations.The beginning of a collaborationCluster Managers play a crucial role in translating your organization’s business strategy to the fleet on the street. Their success depends on two factors - how well they understand and translate the business strategy, and how well they manage employees and channel partners. Arvind Lifestyle Brands understood the pivotal role Cluster Managers played. As part of their capability building plan for the future, the Company had identified the role of the Cluster Manager as a high impact role in the retail hierarchy. They collaborated with enParadigm to design and deliver a customized development program for their Cluster Managers.The result was the "Arvind Cluster Manager Development Programme in FY17". It was a comprehensive, 9-month long program. Below, I cover some key elements of the program design and execution.How experiential learning helped achieve the results:
- Approach matters as much as technologyBased on the preliminary information shared by Arvind Lifestyle Brands, we followed our REI approach and did deep-dive into the challenges. This involved interacting with and processing inputs from all stakeholders - HR leaders, business heads, reporting managers of participants, and the participants themselves. Our REI approach helps us gain a holistic perspective and thoroughly understand:
- the business goals and strategy of the organization
- the challenges faced by employees in executing the plans
- The goal was not only to provide Cluster Managers with the confidence to perform better at their current position but to enable them to take the next step by contributing to the business goals of the organization.
- The comprehensive 9-month programThe program design emerged from the thorough research we had undertaken. The starting point of our program was our highly customizable business simulation platform.Computerized simulations help participants understand and apply skills related to the business metrics they impact. In this case, participants would operated levers to affect metrics such as top-line, op-ex control, inventory, people management, and so on. During the business simulation sessions, participants actively planned and executed decisions to increase business profitability. The simulation sessions were interspersed with expert facilitators who debriefed participants on their decisions and the corresponding results, connected their actions and results to their real-life business challenges, and introduced new concepts.The high-degree of relevance created by the simulation environment, ‘learning by doing, and real-time results created a stimulating environment.
- Post-program modules, live projects, and follow-upAt the end of the simulation workshop participants simultaneously engaged in two tasks. The first task was that each participant took up a live project. These live projects were finalized in consultation with their reporting managers and HR. The second task was completing a 4-week learning retention course. This was implemented through our gamified, mobile platform. These tasks ensured that the learning would be retained and translated into actions to create business impact. We followed up with participants, their reporting managers, and HR at 3 and 6 month intervals to track the progress of projects and the impact of the workshop.
- Computerized simulations helping create business impactComputerized simulations, as with any learning technology are effective only when they build relevance. How effectively can they re-create the performance context of the participants?We customized one of our 12 unique business simulation platforms to address the specific performance context of the Cluster Managers. We also tested this customized solution before deploying it. All of these steps meant, participants could actually learn by solving business challenges that are directly relevant to their industry and organization.Here is an example of the real-life problems participants solved in the simulation. Slow moving stock, when ignored leads, to increase in inventory holding cost. Participants planned and executed steps to liquidate the stock thereby saving cost.This was reflected in the projects participants executed after the learning intervention. Based on their learning from the program, participants implemented inventory control measures at Arvind. These measures collectively led to achieving additional revenue of INR 0.85 crores.
- This was in addition to the results listed at the beginning of this article.Experiential learning means participants learn by doing. This can give them the confidence to better translate the learning to solve business challenges and affect results in their real life too and the program achieved this.
The resultsAt the end of the 9-month program, feedback was collected from participants. The results were corroborated with the reporting managers, business heads, and HR. A detailed ‘impact report’ was submitted to Arvind Lifestyle Brands.This is what Shilpa Vaid, CHRO - Arvind Lifestyle Brands, said about the results achieved through the program in a recently published article in HR Katha.
“This programme has helped us set a new benchmark for the cluster manager role across all our business units. They now understand the areas they can influence and how they can make a visible impact on their profit and loss”
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