Is training GenZ employees a challenge? This company tried comics

Chennai: In one of the Scott Adam’s Dilbert comic strips, Pointy-haired Boss says: “I’m too busy to take a leadership class, so I’m sending all of you to a followship class.” Today’s GenZ workforce would take neither of that, and the growing disinterest in internal training has made a Chennai-based tech firm to go back to an old learning pastime: comic strips.
Congruent Solutions, which offers cloud-based solutions to manage and administer retirement plans, says it is getting encouraging results from using ‘micro-learning’ to break down complex topics into smaller units for short-term learning goals. So, it has comic strips explaining subjects such as data protection, privacy and cybersecurity. The company has created comic characters Bruce, Bella and Captain Firewall to take employees through the intricacies of the retirement plan industry and other technology tools in an engaging manner. The comic strips are circulated among employees through the company newsletter every week.
Congruent has also gamified the learning process in the form of a monthly quiz to help employees take stock of their understanding. Employees are incentivized with ‘badges’ and other rewards to hone their competitive spirit. To begin with, generic workplace training such as POSH, cybersecurity and other general domain knowledge is being imparted this way, in addition to regular training modules and certifications in the retirement industry.
“Our clients pay a premium for our specialization in the US retirement industry and this makes employees’ knowledge on the subject critical for us,” says V Chandrasekaran, co-founder and chief strategy officer, Congruent Solutions. “This bite-sized learning system has been a success, and we are currently exploring taking this tool outside to a larger audience.”
Muthumala S, head of human resources at Congruent Solutions, says even ensuring attendance to classroom-style training is getting difficult with today’s workforce, given their truly digital lives and approach to learning. “Very soon, most of our workforce are going to be GenZ. Instead of getting them to attend a 90-minute session, we decided to divide the content into small nuggets. Increased participation shows employees like it,” she says.
The company chose comic strips as a mode of delivery to bring in variety and vibrancy to content. The target audience is also fascinated to see what’s coming in the next edition, and the curiosity creates a pull factor.
Pradeep Balu, AVP of Novac Technology Solutions, who is currently heading Novac’s digital learning arm, says that many organizations today are swarmed with a new-gen workforce, which suffers from an information overload. “These learners have to be engaged throughout the learning process. Self-paced learning suits them best as they prefer to learn at their own pace,” he says.
Aditya Mishra, CEO of HR firm CIEL HR Services, says enabling micro-learning on mobile devices and including gamification elements to create healthy competition is helping companies tackle issues involved in learning and development going virtual. “Automation is taking over the work of training conventions and facilitators,” he says.

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