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The world of training is transforming at a very fast pace in these testing times due to COVID – 19, from instructor-led training in the past to a more evolved way of training with advancements like Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Stratbeans which claims to be one of the fastest-growing learning management solutions firms is using tech and AI-driven solutions. In conversation with Financial Express Online, CEO & Co-founder, Sameer Nigam, stated that they look to provide enterprises with a 360-degree approach to help repurpose the future of work through continuous learning, engagement, and inclusion of everyone in the value chain including employees, partners, vendors, and customers. Excerpt:
With recent disruptions, how has Stratbeans kept pace with the transformation in work culture and habits? What changes the leadership has gone through? What are the key learnings?
Startbeans has been a tech-driven startup, ever since day one. We have already been operating on a hybrid workplace model, with a part of our workforce working from home or their preferred locations. Thus, we did not have to make any pivotal moves in the wake of Covid-19. Thankfully, we were quick to sense the gravity of the pandemic and made some incremental changes to our operations to facilitate business continuity and enable everyone in the team to work from home. This allowed everyone in the team to play a meaningful role in the business, while taking care of themselves and their family members. I believe that the role of leadership in ensuring people’s well being is more than ever now. The key learning is that we need to think beyond the top and bottom line and take the happiness quotient at work into play. As a digital business, we had a significant spike in the workload while supporting clients throughout the tough time. Thankfully, we were able to manage the walk on the tightrope with the help of our passionate team.
How Stratbeans is ensuring upskilling of its employee’s post Covid? Can you mention some initiative taken for building employee skill sets?
Continuous learning and development have been one of the main pillars of our growth. Thus, we have been conducting online workshops with industry experts on various business aspects such as sales skills, project management and so on. Going forward, we will introduce more forms of learning to ensure our people are ready to meet the business challenges of the future.
During the pandemic, companies hired people virtually. What was your hiring strategy? Do you plan to carry forward with the same?
Our hiring strategy has been evolving as we learnt new things during the lockdown and thereafter. We encourage a ‘work-from-anywhere’ culture. We have ramped up our workforce significantly and all the joinings in the last one year were through remote assessment and onboarding. Wherever possible, we created opportunities for face-to-face meetings among new joinees and their respective team members. At the same time, we took all the possible steps to make these meetups safe for our people. We hope to carry on with the same approach and make our recruitment and onboarding experience richer, as we learn along.
What role technology/tools is playing in ensuring smooth business operations? Can you brief us on some exclusive tech that the organization has been using?
We all saw last year that the pace of digital disruption grew by leaps and bounds. We use various collaborative technology tools and platforms to connect with our teams, clients, and other ecosystem partners. Some of these tools are G-SUITE, SLACK, JIRA and Confluence, and ZOOM etc. These tools have enabled us to ensure business continuity, growth, operational efficiency, and an enhanced experience for our internal as well as external stakeholders.
How does the organization ensure the balance between employees’ personal and professional life? What are the initiatives taken to increase employee engagement and productivity?
Ever since the start of lockdown, the personal and professional boundaries for people working from home have immersed rapidly. At Stratbeans, we are cognizant of this and are deploying several ways to ensure that people do not have to work beyond their regular hours. In order to bring some human touch back to work, we have also dedicated budgets to organize local meet ups or sitting at safe public spaces like coffee shops to have a ‘change of scenery’. There are also some blended learning and fun sessions such as guided meditation or ergonomics with the help of external experts.
Is AR the prevalent immersive technology in eLearning? If yes, how can companies use this technology to provide engaging learning experiences to its fullest potential?
AR is definitely an immersive and effective technology for e-learning. However, the real challenge is about resources required for effective deployment. This is still a new space and there is a lot of work to build the ecosystem ground up. Once this takes some shape, I am certain that AR will play a big role in enhancing the potential of e-learning.
At a modern/ hybrid workplace, how do you see the growth of Gen Next learning tools?
The world has already experienced the power of online, collaborative technologies and solutions in a remote or hybrid environment. The next generation of learning tools will be developed with the same premise, i.e., virtual collaboration. These tools will enable people to learn on-the-go and share their experiences with peers on a real time basis. Keeping this in mind, we have been strengthening our product suite with tools powered by AI and machine learning.