Raman Sidhu, Global Head Organisational Development & Learning, Global Commercial, Shell

Q What is your business need to increase value by linking learning to people and business objectives? Why is it so important to recognise the L&D team as strategic enablers and not merely as support staff?

Organisational growth and health are key outcomes of a sustainable business strategy at play. In the past few decades the cyclical changes were longer, allowing leadership to respond by deploying appropriate strategic responses. As cyclical changes are getting compressed and sometimes superimposed over each other at the same time, the need for a swift, strategic and agile business response is imperative.

In the past, learning prepared people to skill up for the predictable cyclical business changes. Today, there is a need to create an agile learning ecosystem that has the resilience to adapt constantly and a pull-based model. Learning & development has become a key strategic lever to constantly think ahead of the learning curve.

Q What is your approach towards establishing the mindset of the learning unit to be responsible for driving strategy and leading change?

As the global head of learning & OD for a US$50bn business, my leadership style has been to keep business strategy and our customers at the heart of our conversations to develop organisational, team and individual capabilities.

We have benefitted by deploying a strategic, forward-looking approach to anticipate business challenges and skills needed to successfully navigate the transition.

Often change is expected to be managed or go along with. We prefer a game-changing approach to positively disrupt and thrive than just survive. A proactive approach to invite change is transformational, creating an engaging and entrepreneurial culture in the organisation.

Q What would be the current best practice in Shell to ensure the journey of learning to be exciting and exploratory for the employees?

Kirkpatrick’s learning model has been in vogue for many decades now. However, I have found it difficult to find many organisations demonstrating an ability to deploy L4 learning solutions. I believe that a learning model based on predictors of performance will lean heavily towards an agile business outcome-based approach.

We have applied advanced data analytics to key business databases to distil these predictors of performance, producing correlational and causational trends. This has allowed us to design learning and development interventions that correlationally influence these predictors of performance.

From an employee perspective, any skill building that leads to achievement of business results is exciting, rewarding and helps create an innovative organisation that learns, unlearns, and relearns all the time.

Q What do you want people to get out of your session during Learning & Development Asia 2019?

I look forward to discussing in my session an L4 learning strategy that is grounded in scientific rigour and aimed at influencing the predictors of business performance.

I will illustrate how application of advanced data analytical models and running clever algorithms can provide insights to learning professionals to design impactful and agile learning interventions.

Catch Raman Sidhu’s session at #LearningDevelopmentAsia this 17-18 September 2019 as he delves into how the L&D function is being transformed into a strategic business unit by linking learning to business objectives. 

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