CPG Industry Experts: Metocogition Can Transform L&D Strategy

Cognitive and behavioural skill-building has become an imperative in the new normal, across industries. HR leaders from the CPG industry came together to ponder over and discuss the revisions teaching and training strategies need. The industry experts also shared how their organisations are establishing a culture of learning and building ecosystems that enables employees to connect, collaborate and innovate


After the worldwide disruption caused by the pandemic, evolving business dynamics are demanding different skills to enable organisational growth, most importantly the cognitive skill of being future-ready. As skill development proves to be a game-changer in a company’s growth, behavioural, cognitive, and social skilling takes centre stage, especially for high potential talent.

Addressing New Dynamics in Business And Consumer Habits 

In the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, the best way to understand business is to start thinking and treating yourself as a consumer. Consumer behavioural patterns have significantly changed with the increasingly remote, digitized lifestyle. Emphasising this, Amit Chincholikar, Global CHRO, Tata Consumer Products said, “In the last 24 months, consumers have been highly focused and are looking for flexibility, convenience, company positioning on social media, product accessibility and much more. Also, companies and consumers must have seen the advent of D2C business, with direct deliveries to homes.” Chincholikar also pointed out to how effective commercial acumen coupled with an outcome-oriented interpretation of data analytics can enable sustained organisational growth. 

Turbulent times have pushed organisations and their leadership to think differently, innovate and strategise to map the road ahead. While highlighting how HR leaders were real torchbearers in being humane for organisations, Kanchan Chehal, CHRO, Bata observed, “Business-centric skills came to life. It wasn’t so much about problem-solving, conflict management, critical thinking as it was about swift decision making, disruptive, agile thinking, the power of collective taking calls, customer centricity and collaborations.” Chehal also talked about the importance of  well thought-out strategy for building trust among employees, and how transparent and constant communication with employees helped them to build the ‘trust fabric’.

Leadership Mindset Shift: Ground-Up Instead Of Top-Down Approach

Leaders need to become learning facilitators and drivers for change, in order to demonstrate and showcase that learning has become pertinent irrespective of designations. Experts at the discussion pointed out that learning and development strategy traditionally followed a top-down approach, but the need of the hour is to adopt a ground-up approach for optimum performance. 

These insights were a part of the recent virtual roundtable discussion organised by BW Businessworld in association with Harappa, moderated by session chair Noor Warsia, Group Editorial Director, BW Businessworld.

Rajesh Hurkat, Senior Director HR, Mattel said, “It is all about ecosystem building. To build a sense of comfort, establish psychological safety, with leadership demonstrating the behaviour, and encourage people to come forward with ideas, to develop a comprehensive ecosystem for a learning atmosphere.” Hurkat also talked about creating employee delight and facilitating possibilities that push employees to find innovative action-oriented solutions for their problems in a more collaborative manner.

An Ecosystem To Encourage Learning On The Go

The panellists also talked about the need for a positive attitude, and the urge to learn. Learning, upskilling, training won’t be successful or meaningful if its forced upon the participant. L&D strategists are focusing on creating a collaborative environment that encourages employees beyond any designation to learn on the go through various mediums. 

To bridge the gap between employees and company stakeholders during challenging times, assurance and trust are of priority. Ramakrishna Rao, Head of Learning & Development, Page Industries noted, “We were essentially focused on strengthening those existing relationships with employees or franchise operators, distributors, delivery partners and other business stakeholders, which have created a sense of assurance and safety.” 

Upskilling has proven to be a core differentiator for individual growth across dimensions and industries. Rao also said, “Pandemic has been a blessing for the L&D department. We are focused on doubling up our investments on teaching and training managerial, leadership and cognitive skills.”

Pressing Need To Equip Talent With Cognitive Skills

As an unique learning platform, Harappa offers high-impact programs that help drive transformative career success. These programs focus on highly personalised learning, at scale. Harappa’s upskilling journeys foster must-have Thrive skills - an essential set of social, cognitive and behavioural skills to enable individuals to continuously succeed at every stage of their career. Presenting data insights and research findings, Sidharth Verma, Director Enterprise Partnerships, Harappa said, “We are witnessing a growing need of vernacular programs. One size fits all doesn’t work with CPG; the approach needs to resonate with the culture of the company. CPG as an industry would always require curated pathways, personalized learning and a growth mindset.”

Syncing With The New Norm: Physical To Phygital  

Actions speak louder than the words; Vivek Mukherjee, Head-Human Resource, United Colors of Benetton observed, “Being in the apparel business, touch and feel is critical. Initially, it was difficult to go through the significant transition of 'physical to phygital’. However, transparent two-way communication did wonders to tide through.” 

Driving a learning and development strategy with extraordinary results would always demand distinct and unique planning. It’s essential now to shape up an environment that enables us to connect, collaborate, contribute and develop. Companies are connecting cross-functional teams and encouraging communities to co-create solutions. Organisations have realised the need to relook and re-strategise their learning and development strategies, to identify high potential talent and equip them with cognitive intelligence, for building a future-fit business.

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CPG Industry Metocogition L&D Strategy


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