Re-thinking Training & Development: Case Study from a giant telecommunications company in Indonesia

September 28, 2022 | Article

Re-thinking Training & Development: Case Study from a giant telecommunications company in Indonesia

Most organizations conducted a learning & development program like a university classroom; complete with lecturers/trainers & students/employees. Another popular approach is online courses from various sites that offer practical skillsets. Yet recent research suggested that this kind of structured learning’s effectiveness is only 10%, or 20% at best; which begs the question, where does 90% of learning effectiveness come from?

70% of those came from hands-on experience (real problems, real solutions – which is why on-the-job training is effective), and 20% came from collaborative learning either with peers or mentoring. The reason why structured learning is so ineffective is because it is usually done passively; engagement from employee when being trained is lower than when the concept needs to be applied. There is no clear mental model between how the skillset taught is related with reality. This means that there is a large gap between training & development programs and dynamic real business landscape.

The solution to bridge that gap lies in the learning model used – in order to create a bridge that can connect training and reality, we found that active learning through business simulation that was developed with validity & reliability, and conducted in an active & highly engaging way, works best. In order to ensure that the simulation really reflects reality, we developed it by using our agility assessment instrument, and in conducting the simulation, we encourage every participant to collaborate as a team in order to “win” the simulation which results in very high engagement.

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But what about the results?

The end goal of our business simulation is to create a good mental model so that the next time a decision must be made, the best path to ensure success can be easily plotted by the employee. This will, in turn, increase an employee’s decision-making skill in terms of effectiveness & efficiency – something that our agility assessment detected as lacking in Indonesia’s human capital capabilities, especially in terms of enabling others . In other words, we aim to create a “bridge” that can connect the gap between training & reality. But does it really work? What made simulation worth more than traditional ones?usive. Moreover, it is very challenging to get a specific snapshot of a company’s workforce agility!

Recently, we had the opportunity to test the simulation on a giant telecommunications company in Indonesia and the results are overwhelmingly positive both in after-event survey, and practical usability for future uses. Most participants stated that they have a clearer idea of what really matters in the decision-making process, which meant that the simulation succeeded in developing a working, clear mental model for them! One theme heard over the course of the simulation was realization. Employees now realize what kind of impact their decisions will have on the big picture with clarity.

This has two implications: One, employees are more likely to think about the bigger picture when making decisions – two, they gain a considerable competitive advantage over competitors, because the simulation improved exactly the trait that most talents in Indonesia still lack: decision-making skills! This will in turn create a multiplier effect. Employees will get better at making decisions, thus improving the already existing competitive advantage over this trait, while at the same time raising the trait’s standard even higher – something that is still lacking in Indonesia as a whole!

In conclusion, only 10% of formal, structured learning is going to be effective for employees – the remaining 90% is gained through hands-on experience (70%) and collaborative interaction (20%). Thus, in order to create an effective kind of learning, one must design a learning model that incorporates hands-on experience – on which on-the-job training does it best, or, through a valid and reliable simulation that can create a clear mental model for employees.

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