With Malaysia’s vision to hit a target of 35% skilled workforce, the learning and development of staff is key to ensure sustainability of the business. In this exclusive, we speak to Mohd Irfan Zainal Abidin, head of learning and development, Touch 'n Go (TNG) on how to engage staff in lifelong learning.

Q. It’s not always smooth sailing when it comes to the development of staff. What do you think is the number one challenge though?

People - some staff might be reluctant to change and enhance their knowledge. They would prefer to stay in their comfort zone and continue as usual without adding value to the business.

Q. With this being a tough issue to tackle, what can HR do to resolve this?

HR needs to act as a strategic business partner in setting a clear goal; while engaging both leaders and employees. HR needs to create awareness and desire (buy in) on the importance of upskilling, creating value in delivery outcomes, and technology as a key differentiator to be the best in the world (Industrial Revolution 4.0). At TNG, HR continues to encourage staff to learn and embrace innovation as this is part of our culture.

Q. How can HR improve when it comes to engaging staff in training and development?

Consistency in engagement, connection and celebrating milestones related to training and development are key. Take it like a journey for all employees. This should begin even on the first day when the new hires join the organisation.

Additionally, HR can practice frequent conversations via multiple communication channels (i.e. social media, email newsletter) or mobile apps to provide updates on latest T&D trends and available upskilling programmes.

Consistency in engagement, connection and celebrating milestones related to training and development are key. 
Q. What is Touch 'n Go doing to ensure lifelong learning in its DNA?

We have established the TNG Learning Academy as part of our initiative to ensure a lifelong-learning culture in the organisation. The academy aims to train the mind to not only learn but also apply the lessons, alongside positive character-building. In the academy, staff can expect real learning through real time experience sharing, as well as as problem-solving through best practices.

It provides a platform for networking and mentoring from subject matter experts. Special incentives i.e. (AirAsia flight ticket, awards and many more) will be rewarded to employees that enrol, support and complete the training with passion. Through the establishment of the academy, I believe it will make staff feel engaged, appreciated and motivated as TNG employees.

Q. When it comes to the future workforce, how can one future-proof their career development?

Keeping abreast with the current trends and understanding the disruptive technologies of the future is crucial. It’s all about innovation and forward-thinking skills in order to be competitive in the market. Physiological safety needs to be in the picture as well.

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