enterprise

From Shell to Flipkart, what does it take to upskill frontline blue-collar workers? – Economic Times


Among other things, the growth of a business is tied to people capacity building – hiring and retaining associates who are knowledgeable and productive. However, traditional learning methods of periodic on-site training or even online courses are at best one-time learning and one-time assessment methods that are grossly ineffective and inadequate for today’s needs.

For front line blue collar workers, there is no effective tech enabled solution in place. With front-line, blue-collar employees (in sales, services and support) forming the bulk of the employee population, a company’s growth depend on them. Then how does a large organization like L&T train thousands of employees across many locations on a regular basis or a Flipkart train 4000 plus service staff who install over three lakh air conditioners sold every month?

Bangalore-based startup Linkstreet with its micro learning solution – RapL (Rapid Learning), is helping all such large and fast growing enterprises grow by empowering their front line employees with job critical knowledge in an engaging manner.

Knowledge map
RapL, Linkstreet’s mobile micro learning solution is offered as an easy to adopt SaaS solution that can be launched for thousands of employees in a few days. Employees download the RapL app and get personalized learning of business-critical content like product knowledge, SOPs, sales, customer service and compliance aspects and earning points, badges and rewards based on the leader board. The solution helps to identify individual knowledge gaps and fix them automatically by spending only five minutes a day, so every employee knows and remembers all the aspects required to do their job well. Management gets a real-time knowledge map of the organization as it collects data every day – something that was never available before.

“So far, EdTech has largely benefitted students for test prep purposes (Byju’s etc.). There are also numerous online courses (Coursera, Unacademy, etc.) for executives and tech employees. However, the vast majority of employees are front-line blue-collar workers who are the most in need of upskilling. They have no access to laptops or online courses. Our focus is on a simple, engaging and multilingual mobile solution that is personalized and makes learning fun (gamified) for thousands of front-line employees,” says Linkstreet CEOArun Muthukumar, who co-founded the start-up with Vikram Ramakrishnan in 2017.

Training trouble

The current enterprise training model of instructor led, on-site training is highly inefficient and not scalable. Traditional training companies and content partners create content (that is often boring and time consuming) and this content/training is thrust upon employees who learn something and forget after a few days. There is no real measurement or monitoring of what happens after the training is done and management has no clue of exactly who knows what. Training today is mostly a namesake checkbox by HR in most organizations. For managers and above, executive courses and online courses are in place.

“We offer the online and mobile learning platform as a SaaS solution on a subscription basis (per user per month) based on the volume of users. This is more effective and efficient than on-site one time training. Our mobiles first, personalized, adaptive and gamified approach is far more engaging to the user, allowing them to ramp up quickly, while giving management clear visibility on gaps and progress at each level. If a group of employees needs to know the top 50 or 100 things to do their job well, we ensure that they can easily learn and remember them,” he adds.

RapL1

Most employers today have no idea about what their employees know or do not know at any given time. By providing a real-time knowledge map on gaps and fixing them automatically, RapL is solving a huge pain point around employee knowledge and productivity through a data, AI, analytics driven approach, resulting in true business transformation.

Wide adoption

Linkstreet has over 40 clients today and is growing fast. The startup has customers like Shell, Casio, Maersk, L&T, Titan, Myntra, NMC healthcare and others. Shell adoption of the training medium has grown from 200 users to over 4000 users and towards 10,000 plus users (employees).

Another customer, Maersk, has expanded the startups usage to China (in Chinese language) after the success in India. Casio is expanding to other countries besides India. RapL has also been launched at group level for L&T, Titan, and recently with the Future group (Big Bazaar, Brand Factory and more). Successful pilots have been completed and larger deployments planned for Nike (Asia/Singapore), Cisco and Flipkart (Jeeves). The solution was recently deployed at GoColors, Myntra, Swiggy, Redbus, and HomeLane and has plans to launch soon for Zomato and Practo.

“We were looking for the platform which can provide continuous learning support for either after our classroom session or any new topic, which launched exclusively on the digital platform. RAPL helped us in bringing my pan India staff on a single platform which gives everyone an equal opportunity to learn and grow. It also creates excitement via its Gamification process,” says Vikash Sharma, L&D Lead, Retail Operations, Arvind Brands. Due to scattered demographic presence, Arvind Brands wanted something which could bring their countryside staff on the same level of training as that of their staff in metro cities.

“The most notable change which I am seeing is staff engagement level . Also, situation-based question helped staff to differentiate between right and wrong approach/way of working,” he adds.

Muthukumar says RapL is used by over 40,000 employees every week, 60,000 plus scenarios attempted every day across 10 languages, a knowledge improvement from 60-90 percent in four weeks and 95 percent of employees report increased knowledge retention.

“We are now looking to focus on aggressive sales growth and international expansion in the US, UK, Asia and Middle East. Our recent foray outside India (Nike in Singapore/Malaysia), Maersk in China and NMC Healthcare in the Middle East is creating new stories and compelling value proposition for customers,” informs Muthukumar.

Front line employee learning and engagement is ripe for disruption. Fast ramp-up, up-skilling and continuous training of front line employees are critical for business growth. An average employee in today’s knowledge economy must know a lot more and be up-to-date on products, process, etc.

“The opportunity is huge and across all verticals as every organization needs to build capacity, upskill and grow – so training and ramp-up of every employee in every organization is a huge opportunity waiting to be disrupted. We hope to take RapL globally this year to all major markets,” says Muthukumar.





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