Axis Mutual Fund’s unique approach to upskilling

The subsidiary of Axis Bank is adopting shorter, two-minute learning videos as part of its L&D initiatives

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Axis Mutual Fund (Axis MF), the subsidiary of Axis Bank, which is specifically dedicated to growing its mutual funds business, operates in a highly-competitive and dynamic sphere, where changes are frequent and it is essential for the workforce to be up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies.

“We are in the money business where knowledge is super important. Employees need to be high on knowledge and technical understanding at all times,” says Meghna Gupta, head – HR, Axis MF.

Currently, Axis Mutual Fund employs 650 people. In addition, it also employs gig workers to complete projects as and when required. This hiring is primarily carried out for operations in IT.

“The demand for people with niche skills in new technologies for a shorter term is higher. Hence, we take on freelancers for time-bound operations at a group level. Axis, as a group, is passionate about embedding the concept of gig working in its talent acquisition strategy,” Gupta tells HRKatha.

According to her, talent acquisition cannot be looked at in isolation. It needs to be in sync with the business plans of the organisation for the upcoming three years. For that, hiring of appropriate talent needs to compelement the capacity building of existing employees.

Consistent effort has been put into Axis Mutual Fund’s learning and development initiatives over the past two years. Gupta reveals that the Company’s employee feedback on the L&D initiatives went up significantly during this time, from 60 percent to 84 per cent.

Gupta says, “The learning journey starts with analysing the business road map and what the business plans to establish in the coming years. Employee learning goes hand in hand with this. When the business is able to achieve its growth expectations, the employees gain from this financially, and also in terms of learning.”

“We are in the money business where knowledge is super important. Employees need to be high on knowledge and technical understanding at all times”

Meghna Gupta, head – HR, Axis MF

Data upskilling of the tech workforce is essential so that employees are comfortable using digital platforms as a process transformation.

However, Axis MF utilises e-learning platforms such as Corsera and is in talks with upGrad to provide specific tech modules.

“We don’t drive a training plan. For us, training programmes don’t end,” says Gupta.

All our training plans have an RoI matrix attached to them, to gauge the change in the deliverables and the productivity level of the employees. Even after the programme, a three to six-month window is given where continuous feedback is solicited from the managers to examine the shifts that the employees are displaying. We don’t invest a single rupee in an L&D programme unless an RoI matrix is attached to it,” she said.

Along with tech employees, other functions are also regularly upskilled. However, Gupta observes that the pandemic has brought significant changes to the learning patterns of people, in general.

Attention span has significantly decreased, and therefore, mandating upskilling training along with work can serve as a stressor for the employees. In order to overcome this, Axis Mutual Fund is working with third-party vendors to create bite- sized learning modules. These modules are based short, concise, 2-3 minute videos at most.

With these modules, Gupta claims that employees can learn on the go. Besides, all that one has learnt is available to serve as a refresher whenever one wants.

“With this sort of learning, nobody is being forced to sit down and dedicate specific time to learning. The modules are at the employees’ disposal for access anytime, anywhere. Hence, acceptance and impact is better,” she said.

Further, Gupta adds that Axis MF is trying to identify more commonly-used processes and gauge whether information on them could be imparted through shorter, not more than two-minute videos. These videos break down processes into smaller parts, making learning easier.

At the moment, this learning process is beginning with HR. They plan to extend the same to compliance, finance and admin- related operations.

In order to gauge the impact of these learning modules in an engaging manner, Axis MF has introduced the concept of daily quizzes to check employee understanding.

Employees are asked four questions each, every day, which does not take more than a minute for them to answer. This tests their knowledge on the continuously-changing dynamics of the mutual fund business. With 85-90 per cent engagement being reported, there are also rewards and recognition waiting for the employees at the end. They get points, which they can claim or redeem however they want.

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