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Remote training and skills development to be the ‘new normal’ for Team Airtel

Starting with the initial lockdown in March 2020, Airtel Lanka has been doubling down on digitisation of employee upskilling, learning and development and the results are already starting to show.

“With the prevailing pandemic situation, workplace cultures which were once designed to meet face to face, inspire and collaborate is becoming obsolete. This disruption presented a new challenge especially for the continuation of learning and development. Whilst many organisations resorted to cost cutting in different forms, we believed that learning was more important than ever before. Capabilities aim to make organizations and individuals more resilient, adaptable, and innovative.” Airtel’s Managing Director and CEO, Ashish Chandra explained.

Over the past two quarters, over 85% of the company’s workforce switched to digitised training programmes which includes the Airtel Executive Development Programme conducted in partnership with the Postgraduate Institute of Management, Sales Leadership Development Programme conducted by the Colombo Business School and all other internal training programmes. These programmes have even directly targeted ground level sales force.

Employees were also encouraged to take up any e-learning courses including Coursera and the Airtel i-learn programmes which they believed would align with and enhance their job knowledge. As an incentivised measure all employees who exceeded in these programmes were awarded with an e-learning championship. Additionally, employees across the board participated in 4G Capability Development programmes in response to the telco’s acquisition of superior 4G spectrum and impending roll-out of 4G LTE services across Sri Lanka.

Digitising the capability development function has a provided the telco with access to international training partners, enabling the telco to source from among the best 4G specialised trainers and training systems from across the globe. Following through on the telco’s values of being Alive, Inclusive and Respectful these digitised HR process have been extended to interviews, induction and on boarding of new and existing employees.

“Developing strong, diverse teams is one of our most important leadership functions. This means that all our employees need to have the skills necessary to thrive even if they are in a remote work environment. That is why we are digitising all facets of our HR process. This could mean something simple like motivational sessions, to managerial training and even recruitment, all of which were conducted via remote video conferencing.” Airtel Lanka Head of HR, Kanishka Ranaweera said.

The telco’s hire rate over the past two quarters have been a testament to this undisrupted functionality enabled through digitised processes. Similarly these digitised processes include Airtel Lanka’s HR connect sessions which serves as a vibrant, collaborative platform for all of Airtel’s cross functional teams to network and stay engaged through internal events like “Airtel Tech Talk” where industry experts and internal subject experts conduct insight driven forums for employees.