L&D in the hot seat: Anuradha Purbey of Aviva

by L&D28 Jun 2016
L&D Professional interviews Anuradha Purbey, people director of the insurance firm Aviva, for her insights. She is based in Singapore.
LDP: What are the most important parts of your L&D programs?
AP: Our L&D programs are aligned to the short and long term needs of the business. Focus is on capability build in areas such as leadership, alignment, resilience, communication, customer experience, digital and analytics. Programs are co-owned by the business and the L&D function in terms of design and delivery, such that there is upfront buy-in on the content and outcomes.
LDP: Are there any trends which are influencing your L&D?
AP: Some of the developments below, in the area of technology, are certainly influencing learning behaviours and delivery:
  • Gamification: The use of game design to motivate learning through the use of rewards, leaderboard and challenges.
  • Virtual reality: Computer stimulated immersive environment that allows for user interaction so learners ‘experience’ the impact of their actions in real time.
  • Game-based learning: Gamelets typically played on mobile phones to reinforce knowledge and skills.
  • Mobile learning: All forms of media such as videos, text and games that take place on mobile devices.
  • Social learning: Discussion chat and personal messaging that facilitates questions and answers across the space and time.
LDP: What are some of the greatest L&D challenges you are facing?
AP: Some of the challenges are:
  • Creating a culture where employees ‘own’ their learning and are accountable for their development vs. pushing it up to their managers and leaders.
  • Ensuring that L&D capabilities are aligned to deliver current and future needs, and L&D professionals are more learning partners rather than functional experts.
  • Programs are ‘fit for purpose’ balancing the need between delivering business outcomes and applying the right level of functional (L&D) depth.
LDP: Is the combination of face-to-face learning, and e-learning important to Aviva?
AP: Yes. Face-to-face sessions are important to spark discussions and share views so that participants can learn from each other, in addition to the facilitation done by the trainer. E-learning supports ‘learning at your own pace and time’ and can reinforce some of the concepts discussed during the face-to-face sessions.
LDP: What parts of L&D do you find the most interesting and exciting?
AP: Aligning learning outcomes which enable delivery of our business strategy are the most exciting moments in our learning journey.
Further, we constantly stretch ourselves to be ahead of the game on understanding future skills and putting together programs/conversations to help bring about a mindset shift in being ready for the ‘new’ normal, while continually honing existing capabilities.
One of the areas which we are now exploring is leveraging technology such as gamification in the delivery of our programs.
Finally, to be able to witness ‘real change’ as a result of engaging with the business on meaningful development and succession conversations is very fulfilling.
LDP: What are some key L&D lessons you have learned?
AP: L&D plays a critical role in partnering with the business to drive change and build capabilities. It is important to engage with the business upfront while developing programs and secure leadership buy-in. It is also important to design content which is pragmatic and based on real business/people situations, and test and learn before a wider roll-out.
Re-engage with the business to continually understand if the intended outcomes are being delivered in the work situation. The L&D function needs to stay close to the market developments and disruptions to be relevant at all times.
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