Interviewing a personality who has spent a majority of his life, 22 years to be precise, orchestrating L&D for blue-chip companies is both exciting and intimidating. Add another to the equation, an entrepreneur who’s the name behind the world’s leading AI-powered, Cloud-based Learning Management System, and you’ve got a fair bit of nerves.

That’s Anil Nair, COE and Lead for Organizational Learning and Leadership Development at Zydus Group, and Amit Gautam, Director and Founder of UpsideLMS, in a nutshell.

As for the nerves, not a chance! Not when you are dealing with two people who are as grounded as they are prolific.

Ahead of our webinar ‘LMS and Business Impact: Connecting the Dotson 3rd December at 11 AM IST, I chat up with the dynamic gentlemen. As webinar speakers, they will be distilling their experience and expertise on all things L&D and LMS. In this interview, I probe them about ‘them’.

Tell us about your career journey

Anil: I have had a 22-year journey so far. Started by picking up the bag and moving around towns meeting experts like doctors and paramedics, discussing scientific medical literatures and promoting medicines of my then company. The first part of my career as a medical representative has been extremely crucial in shaping me into what I am today. It is that customer facing experience that I still cherish, getting to know where the shoe exactly pinches in business. And it is that experience which pushed me to explore and get into making my passion of training as a profession for myself. Past 18 years into Training and Development, Talent Management, Organizational Development, Employee Engagement, Partnering in Change management, Leadership Development has been quite enriching in terms of diversified experience in both good and bad times of business.

Amit: Almost 18 years out of my 21 year career journey has been in the field of designing, developing and implementing eLearning solutions. And most of those 18 years I have worked very closely with learning technology solutions. UpsideLMS, as a solution, is the culmination of all my experiences from being up and close with the Learning & Development experts. I have worked with companies across the globe, thus absorbing the length and the breadth of the domain and its nuances. With UpsideLMS, my sole objective has been, and still is, to align it intrinsically with an organization’s learning journey. 

What is ‘learning’ to you? How do ‘you’ learn?

Anil: Learning is all about having a sharp acuity. And hence learning to me is ‘Openness’. I have a simple way to learn – Curiosity and Inquisitiveness, which I solve by asking questions, and if I don’t get satisfactory answers, I seek them it by reading, surfing etc. And that’s what helps.

Amit: ‘Learning’ to me is the realization that every day I wake up, I know less than yesterday. So much around the world changes in a few hours that, I believe, if I am not learning all that, I’ll become dated pretty quickly. This keeps me on my toes and I keep looking for all channels of information and learning. I learn by knowing what is happening around me and then being able to relate it to my own company and my customers and translate that to value actions. A good part of my time is spent in soaking information from across the world. A great way to learn quickly is to meet more people and I am fortunate that I get to meet the experts on a regular basis.

What’s your take on tech-enabled learning? How important is an LMS to employee L&D?

Anil: LMS can’t create miracles to employee L&D, but it can certainly tempt you and facilitate you to create one! The biggest benefit of tech-enabled learning is continuity. In a fast-paced competitive environment, you need your employees to have multiple skill sets and continuously hone them. It’s a matter of convenience, continuity and cost. Tech-enabled learning offers a benefit in all the three. Employees need to understand that in order to remain competitive, they must put efforts to upskill themselves and leverage the best out of the LMS offered to them by the organization. It won’t be surprising that in times to come employees accommodating continuous learning in their agenda will get ahead of those who don’t.

Amit: Technology is the only way to manage the speed, scale and the ever-changing context at a business pace. The world needs everything available at any time and without interruptions. Companies like us (UpsideLMS) need to be able to leverage all the technology and align it with customer learning goals. An LMS is no longer an administration tool for many companies now, it has become the central place to drive learning for any-scale organization. Example: our new AI-powered UpsideLMS X offers a unique personalization of a learner’s journey, thus making it a place to chart out a path for all the self-goals.

Why do you think business impact should matter to all L&D professionals?

Anil: For all L&D professionals who have chosen to grow in this function, L&D would have been a passion. But no passion is of any use if it isn’t contributing to a larger purpose and cause. For an organization which is investing in L&D, a return in terms of business enhancement is the primary expectation. So quite simply, if business doesn’t matter to L&D, L&D is not going to matter to business! L&D, in my mind, exists to build people to build the business.

Amit: There is an old saying in the world of management – what cannot be measured, cannot be managed. While figuring out the ROI of learning has been the one of the most elusive challenges, there are many concrete ways to understand the business impact. Any organization will only invest its resources in something that can eventually either add to its top line or bottom line, directly or indirectly. It’s extremely critical for L&D professionals to start backwards from the expected business impact to trace it to the right solution to achieve the same.

Two reasons why we should not miss ‘LMS and Business Impact: Connecting the Dots’ webinar?

Anil: 1. LMS is a medium, not a finite solution for businesses. But you can certainly arrive at more predictive business outcomes and accordingly govern your actions with the help of an LMS. Hence LMS can create a great business impact.

2. Making use of a great technology-enabled tool can either end up just being a fashion or build up to be a passion! The former may fade out in no time, but the latter will make a lot of sense to business. So use it wisely.

Amit: It’s a great chance to hear from someone like Anil who has spent years connecting learning solutions to their business impact. And gauging from the registrations so far, it looks like it’s going to be an amazing brainstorming session with L&D professionals across the country.

Don’t miss ‘LMS and Business Impact: Connecting the Dots’ on 3rd December at 11 AM IST. Register now.

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