The Bridge to Nowhere

Imagine building a bridge meant to last many generations and carry millions of people and tons of traffic. The new Choluteca Bridge or the Bridge of the Rising Sun, in South America’s Honduras region was built with this kind of vision – to last forever (or at least an exceptionally long time). In 1996, Japanese engineers were contracted to build the bridge so that it could withstand the storms and hurricanes that were common to the region. The bridge was opened to the public in 1998. Hurricane Mitch swept over the region in October of the same year, putting the bridge’s strength to test. Roads leading to the bridge and leaving the bridge disappeared in the wake of the mighty hurricane. Even the river Choluteca, over which the bridge was built, changed its direction! The bridge, however, remained standing – a testament to its engineering brilliance. But, for what? What use is a bridge that leads to nowhere?

A lot of businesses today are looking at their own versions of the new Choluteca Bridge. The impact of COVID19 has once again reminded us of the adage, “change is the only constant”. Products and services that were considered to be steady and stable businesses were made redundant in one fell swoop. However, I found this statement in McKinsey and Company’s recent executive brief very heartening.

“When history books one day recount the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, it may well be a tale of human ingenuity and adaptiveness.”

Resilience is the need of the hour. Those of us who are ready to learn and adapt will be able to grab the opportunities that this adversity has thrown up. CEOs around the world have acknowledged that upskilling and reskilling is the only way to futureproof the workforce. But, how do you bring about effective and relevant training? How do you gently align your entire workforce’s learning agenda with the organization’s future vision and needs? At the same time, how do you reassure individual employees that the organization is equally concerned about their personal aspirations? It is a conundrum, isn’t it? Especially today – when most of your workforce is working remotely.

Well, we don’t have all the answers, but we’ve been giving this a lot of thought. Our focus has been on developing a learning platform that is not just a repository of information but it also doubles as a personal skilling advisor that walks the talk every step of the way. Elite, our learning platform for the workplace, is the culmination of our efforts to meet this goal.

Elite employees define their career goals based on their current role, skills, and aspirations. The personal skilling advisor then maps the journey to the goal via a set of required skills. The platform not only provides the necessary learning content to acquire the skill but also helps validate your employee’s knowledge of said skill.

The next step is to ensure that employees are kept engaged. Now, there are two ways to do this – the stick—where the HR breathes down their necks like a very impatient parent, or the carrot. We prefer the carrot approach.

Elite has been built as a social platform where your employees can share information and appreciate others. Your employees can connect with mentors in their chosen field and learn by interaction. The achiever’s gallery throws the spotlight on each week’s top learners. This brings in the element of gamification and competition. Our goal is to make learning a habit that the workforce takes to without any additional intervention from the organization.

The ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ was eventually reconnected to the highway in 2003. Let us too adapt and embrace the opportunities presented by our new environment.