Anil Nair is the COE Lead & Head – Organizational Learning & Leadership Development at Zydus Group. He is passionate about people and organizational capability development and brings along a career experience of 22 years. His core expertise lies in organizational L&D, Leadership Development, Talent Management, Succession planning, Assessment and Potential Mapping, Training and Development, Performance Management, Learning Automation and Organizational Behavior and Development. 

Anil’s intrapreneurial ability to institutionalize many L&D and HRD related processes in Zydus has been noteworthy. A firm believer of the adage ‘knowledge and common sense is mightier than the sword’, Anil is a proponent of building people to build the business, and brings along an attitude of openness to new ideas and technology.

In this brief interview, Anil shares his career experience in L&D in the pharma sector, sustainable learning technology trends and the criticality of developing people within the organization to build a successful business.

You have been a key part of Zydus Group’s L&D function for close to 16 years now. Which learn-tech trends, in your opinion, have stood the test of time over the last decade and what will over the next 10 years?

Nothing beats the on-hands experience. Like swimming or driving can never be learnt through a correspondence course or theory classes, neither does the learning and development of an employee in an organization. The best learn-tech trend has always been to support talent with immersive experience into any specific role or been assigned some new or additional responsibilities. In the next 10 years the entire shift will happen from education to experience. Any technology which maximizes the employee experience and assembles the past experience and behavior of individuals to formulate a predictive action and help capability building in the context will be a welcome one.

So are you suggesting that learning platforms with AI/ ML component will become L&D must-haves?

No doubt on that. The extent of customizations expected is going to increase many folds. Learning and development will demand to be more individual-centric and situation-centric. It will be a nightmare for L&D experts to manually reach out for individual developments. Not that the AI or ML led platforms will do that for you, but then it will weed out the excess time contributed for L&D experts for an analysis. It will tend to facilitate you to make quick choices, create algorithms which will be highly predictive and ease out the actions.

However strong may be a platform though, the key thing is the input data. You get in return, what you feed in. So it’s important to make sure that the technology is leveraged to its best capability.

You are a strong proponent of building people to build the business. How can organizations, L&D functions in particular, achieve this?

As long as L&D remains only an institute for offering learning opportunities and development courses, it will cease to exist one day. Building people to build business is more of a spirit of ownership and accountability. If L&D exists only to supply capable talent on demand then there is a problem. Progressive organizations are a result of well rounded leadership capabilities. In order to build people to build business, the L&D function has to immerse itself into business realities, proactively understand and prepare people to overcome business challenges and partner with the business as one of the custodian of business outcomes. It is with this spirit that organizations, L&D functions in particular can contribute to a larger purpose of building people and hence building the business.

What’s your mantra for personal learning and development?

Learning should not be boundary driven. Individuals should be encouraged to pursue learning in an area of their interest and that should be put into use for organizational development. When individuals pursue a career of their interest and are backed up with opportunities, rewards and recognitions, learning can create miracles.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Zydus Cadila.

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