Masterful Management 2.0: Jindal’s leadership development programme for middle management


In a fast-paced digital world, where there is a constant need for agile, innovative methods to reskill and train employees for the ‘new world’, Jindal’s Masterful Management Model seems to be the perfect approach to learning. It taps into an essential component of leadership training — developing middle management.

At least 70 employees from the middle-management cadre of Jindal Stainless were drawn from different functions across the Company, including HR. The objective was to prepare them for leadership roles as future business executive heads. The training session, or “learning programme” as SK Jain, CHRO, Jindal Stainless likes to call this unique model, has concrete pre- and post-sessions, where learning is integrated with the everyday work of the employees.

“Change is inevitable and in view of the current scenario, with work arrangements having changed drastically, business models had to change as well,” says Jain. Learning also has had to take a new form where employees’ capabilities need transformative thinking unlike traditional methods. Acquiring the right talent is also important to turn the vision of a business strategy into reality.

At the time of conception of the flagship leadership development programme, the Masterful Management model had seven modules, which touched upon communication skills, conflict management and collaboration, learning and growth, project management, process management and quality, staffing and productivity and lastly, performance management. Each module functions on the 70:20:10 learning approach with experience (64 per cent), exposure (25 per cent) and education (11 per cent) promoting the idea of ‘learning with the flow of work.’

Masterful Management 1.0 was initially run for two days a week in a classroom, led by a trainer/facilitator. After a total of 14 sessions, the trainees were expected to take up projects to put their skills into practice (post-sessions).

The upgraded 2.0 version is fully online with six sessions of 2.5 hours each, with only one session taking place in a week. After each module, a two to three-week gap is allowed for the trainees to work on the post-sessions projects, or indulge in self-study and pore over what they imbibe from the online sessions.

SK Jain

“Change is inevitable and in view of the current scenario, with work arrangements having changed drastically, business models had to change as well.”

‘Contemporary skills’ are a bonus for the 2.0 model, with digital literacy and learning agility as the leading skills, closely followed by leadership etiquettes — communication, body language, gravitas, and virtual etiquette. Creativity and innovation underlying traits that keep employees engaged, while allowing them to grow.

“In today’s context, a really highly talented person is somebody who is very high on learning and adapting,” Jain explains, as agility forms the foundation of the digitally-enhanced Masterful Management 2.0.

So how do they implement the metrics of success? The Company uses a precise measure called the Kirkpatrick Effectiveness Model. It has four layers in the form of a pyramidical structure, namely reaction, learning, behaviour and impact.

Reaction The first or base level comprises 8,320 learning hours. An overall feedback of more than four and an average engagement score of 76 per cent was recorded throughout the program. The carefully chosen modules get introduced to the employees here and “the new model was well received, with almost 100 per cent attendance rate,” shares Jain.

Learning The second level is evaluated by the retention factor, measured by facilitator assessments of the post-workshop assignment submissions. The average retention factor was recorded at an encouraging 65.92 per cent throughout the programme.

Behaviour At level three, behaviour was measured midway, between the six sessions. The result was calculated by the reporting manager (RM) and positive changes were recorded at 83.3 per cent.

At the behavioural level, it was observed that communication skills had enhanced considerably (39 per cent) and time management had improved. The programme helped to eliminate time wasters and save up to 1.5 hours per day.

Impact The best results were obtained at the fourth level, that is business impact. With 71 projects undertaken for process management and quality, the participants were able to impact the business in multiple areas and were able to generate cost savings of a whopping Rs. 24.29 crores!

Integration of agile practices of flexible learning into the workflow is a good way forward towards ensuring the self-development of employees. This will enable companies to be future ready if and when a period of uncertainty emerges. Jindal Stainless is also adopting agility in terms of surveys, opting for periodic surveys instead of annual ones.

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