Category Archives: Corporate Learning Best Practices

Design Thinking: The Future Of HR Learning And Development

L&D and HR leaders deal with some pretty large-scale people development problems, starting from managing attrition and creating learning engagement, to managing to stay abreast of technology trends in Learning and Development.

What The Future Of HR Learning And Development Looks Like

In a fast-changing world, incorporating design thinking into the design of employee training can help to solve problems like maximizing learning, improving engagement, reducing drop-offs and managing attrition.

In most organizations, employee training design has more of a top-down approach, where employers decide what learners should learn and how they should learn it, rather than catering to what and how they want to learn. This process has been seeing diminishing returns as a rising proportion of Millennials and Gen Z has joined the workforce. While some organizations have tried to solve this by building access to MOOCs such as Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning, these sort of learning options only cover self-development. What gets left out is functional knowledge or product/process training, which needs to be put out as structured learning.

So, how can design thinking help? The central premise of design thinking is a solution-based approach to problem-solving. Design thinking requires that the client (in this case the employee) is placed at the center of it all.

Step 1

Empathize with learners to understand their experiences and motivations. Leaders need to put themselves in the shoes of employees and figure out what motivates them. Tools to help with this can be surveys and interviews of employees, to get a thorough picture of different learner profiles. This is different from a Training Needs Analysis, since it focuses a lot more on behavior, likes, dislikes, motivations, and challenges in their daily life.

Step 2

Define the problem you want to solve. Very often learning outcomes falter because the learner and organization do not agree on the intended outcome of the learning. Defined problems will yield much clearer solutions.

Step 3

Ideate with all relevant stakeholders. Creating a multi-functional team that can contribute to this can help to introduce more perspectives and ideas into the mix. This team should know the learner, understand the problem you are trying to solve and brainstorm possible solutions. Approaching this as an open-ended discussion can help bring out as many solutions as possible before you start converging on one for the next step.

Step 4

Prototype a potential solution. Often the response to arriving at a potential solution is to select one and jump right into implementing it. This is exactly what the design thinking process tells us to avoid. The next step is to produce a scaled-down, inexpensive prototype of the most favored solutions, such as a tech platform or digital content. These are then shared within the design team and with a small group of people outside the team. The aim of prototyping is to identify the best possible solution for the problems identified in Step 2. These are investigated, accepted, improved, accepted or rejected based on the learners’ experience.

Step 5

Test the product using the best solutions identified in the prototyping step. While this is the final step in this 5-stage process, design thinking is an iterative process and testing phase results often indicate that you need to go back to the prototyping or ideation phase to get things right. If new insights present themselves about your learners or market realities have changed, then this may need a new set of solutions.

The process outlined above may seem linear and structured, but in reality, these steps are followed in quick succession and in a non-linear fashion, to ensure that speed is achieved. Design teams can delineate themselves to do parts of the process.

By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck

This article was first published on elearningindustry

Monotonous to Fascinating: Changing Employee Training Module

Training used to mean boring, but what if you play a game and get trained on a particular niche! Technology has revolutionized our daily lives and so the training. Now with the help of engaging contents, you can provide training to your employees or learn a new technology.

QuoDeck developed a game-based platform to train employees in a fun manner. We spoke to Arijit Lahiri, Co-Founder, QuoDeck Technologies to understand their vision and how it can be helpful for enterprises.

What’s the idea and How you began this journey?

When we started off in 2013, we were looking for a bunch of potential learning games but there was no software. So, we plan to create an engine which will allow us to develop games, specifically for learning. We wanted to pick up this space because most of the learning is fairly boring in the Enterprises, even today. As we have worked in that environment for our careers in Enterprises, we found that learning is very monotonous. We thought that games would make it interesting.

We thought to build a software microservice architecture and over the course of time, we developed a platform kind of web version like Netflix, Amazon kind of approach. Instead of having like one Central Core, we decided to have multiple small services which kind of aggregate the entire API level. So microservices on the API and micro apps on packages on the front-end side, where we are using just for context for backend.

Some of the backends will be on Ruby on Rails, so basically, some of rails APIs are actually Phoenix and Alex API. Also, some backend parts are on PostgreSQL and some are on MongoDB.

For the front end, we earlier used jQuery and all without using the frontend framework. Later on, we migrated most of it to React. Apart from that anything which is created on the QuoDeck framework can also be consumed through Augmented reality apps like Euphoria, Unity or Virtual Reality which is unity based, so it connects to the API.

What sort of API integration has been done?

This is cloud-hosted, some of the microservices can actually iterate what we call Omprem, behind the firewall. So, let’s say there is end number of services which are there in the app. So, they adapted in the firewall which communicates with the client systems with the clouds.

What kind of mechanism you have designed?

We have done a bit of inspiration from On the TV shows Silicon Valley. They had this concept of they were talking about this concept of mobile internet, so what we realize that lot of the calculation, a lot of the analytic which have been done on the server, doesn’t need to be done on the server so.

What we have done! Let’s say there are hundred thousand learners in a particular company he if I aggregate all the data on the server and calculate, it becomes a fairly complex affair. Instead of what that R code does the whole set of calculation and caching and storing at the mobile level.

What is aggregated needs to who goes to the server now again this is not on one single server, we have a set of app servers, which are serving out to do shading calculation by the Mongo app. Basically, we shed out the Analytics so that it allows us to do the whole bunch of real-time otherwise it would take like three days to calculate.

Why would enterprise adopt your solution?

Either they are looking for something which is free, very simple, low maintenance and can deploy easily for Speed. Because it’s a microservices app architecture the entire thing is very modular. You can launch the customized app as we have just launched QuoDeck Express. It is a variant which is built it on the context of speed. What would otherwise it will take maybe like two or three months to setup up and deploy, that can effectively now be done in just 10 minutes. That’s the hyper-speed version of the QuoDeck.

Everything is like merging Google Drive with all the powers of the learning management system. So, ability to start with a very fast system & and scale it up to a very powerful system is what really works for the Enterprises, and it works for most of the companies.

People don’t likely to come out to buy tech, they come out to solve a problem. So, when we try and cater to that this express kind of offering as You take it and get ready and go. Once that is done then are saying like OK this is interesting can we do a little bit more of this. And then you say ok so how this you can scale up the system till you can go to. Its largest we have a deployment which is a group company level deployment which has about 15 companies within it and each, so there is one common app and somebody comes in, they get to see their own branding.

At the most powerful level, there is mobility, there is engagement which is all the game-based learning techniques, and the third is fairly deep and complex analytics. Learning should be measurable, it should be treated more like a Marketing activity and not just as a charity activity for people in-house.

By Ashok Pandey, author at CioL

This article was first published on CioL

Technology-driven 2019 HR trends in the workplace: View

Employers today already face the daunting task of transition towards a digital economy that is transforming businesses as well as their traditional HR functions. Adapting to new technologies is one of the major trends that will be visible across HR in the workplace during 2019.

Employees today, are not just looking for companies that provide salaries and perks. They want organizations that provide engagement and promote general wellness. They are looking for jobs that help them strike a good work-life balance. As a result, HR fast needs to become an employee’s friend rather than a guardian, as it has traditionally been. This transition is not going to be easy.

Employers today already face the daunting task of transition towards a digital economy that is transforming businesses as well as their traditional HR functions. Adapting to new technologies is one of the major trends that will be visible across HR in the workplace during 2019.

A recent survey of 1200 global executives conducted by KPMG International highlights the inertia that a segment of HR managers display. On the one hand, there are forward looking managers who are constantly harnessing resources to redefine contribution of the HR model to any enterprise. They are implementing technologies such as Digital Labour, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Business Analytics. On the other hand, a larger segment of less confident HR managers are playing the waiting game, or are simply remaining quiet about this change in the digital landscape.

Some of the expected HR trends for 2019 and the foreseeable future, that HR professionals need to be aware of, are listed here:

Employee performance managed by managers – The organisation will benefit from performance management lying in the hands of managers, as opposed to HR stepping into the workflow. The role of providing feedback will belong to the manager, and as a result of this, even poor performance will be addressed quickly and turned around faster. HR needs to be a department of productivity enablers and this change will allow the function to concentrate on becoming that.

Higher access to analytics for employees- Members of the C-Suite will have greater access to people insights and analytics than in previous years. Organizations will look to implement robust HR platforms that are user friendly and can provide strong people analytics trends that will assist decision-making. The C-Suite will naturally make better decisions with the help of key people analytics and hiring statistics. 

Rise of the ‘remote’ workforce- A rising segment of employees today prefer to work out of remote locations instead of the office. This has entirely been made possible through recent development in technology. About half of the US workforce is expected to be freelancing, in some capacity, by 2020. HR departments will be able to use this trend to their advantage. Instead of hiring full time employees, they should explore teams of talented freelancers and independent contractors, thereby building trust on a project-to-project basis. 

Rise of micro learning- Most adults start losing attention within as little as ten minutes and is likely to go down further. To meaningfully engage and train learners with such low attention spans, HR departments need to design training sessions that are short and impact-based, rather than long ones. More frequent and shorter training sessions will be more beneficial at workplaces. Micro learning, as a result, will rise further as the industry norm. 
Extensive use of VR, AR, games and video- Both AR and VR are helpful during training and recruitment. A gamified application experience can be created for recruitment of candidates, as is done by Jaguar and Land Rover. 
Collaborating with the band Gorillaz, they create a real setting, allowing candidates to see and experience iconic cars from these manufacturers. This is followed up with a series of puzzles that enable candidates to move forward.

In 2019, HR managers will need to plan systematically, instead of moving rapidly. This will help prevent badly created applications which may frustrate users. AI and Analytics will be able to touch every sphere they operate in, from employee engagement to recruitment and performance management. The year 2019 is likely to be the one when people analytics will finally be able to demonstrate its true potential. 


By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck

This article was first published on ETCIO.com

2019 – HR Trends In The Workplace

Employees today, are not just looking for companies that provide salaries and perks. They want organizations that provide engagement and promote general wellness. They are looking for jobs that help them strike a good work-life balance. As a result, HR fast needs to become an employee’s friend rather than a guardian, as it has traditionally been. This transition is not going to be easy.

Employers today already face the daunting task of transition towards a digital economy that is transforming businesses as well as their traditional HR functions. Adapting to new technologies is one of the major trends that will be visible across HR in the workplace during 2019.

A recent survey of 1200 global executives conducted by KPMG International highlights the inertia that a segment of HR managers display. On the one hand, there are forward-looking managers who are constantly harnessing resources to redefine contribution of the HR model to any enterprise. They are implementing technologies such as Digital Labour, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Business Analytics. On the other hand, a larger segment of less confident HR managers are playing the waiting game, or are simply remaining quiet about this change in the digital landscape.

Some of the expected HR trends for 2019 and the foreseeable future, that HR professionals need to be aware of, are listed here-

Employee performance managed by managers

The organization will benefit from performance management lying in the hands of managers, as opposed to HR stepping into the workflow. The role of providing feedback will belong to the manager, and as a result of this, even poor performance will be addressed quickly and turned around faster. HR needs to be a department of productivity enablers and this change will allow the function to concentrate on becoming that.

Higher access to analytics for employees

Members of the C-Suite will have greater access to people insights and analytics than in previous years. Organizations will look to implement robust HR platforms that are user-friendly and can provide strong people analytics trends that will assist in decision-making. The C-Suite will naturally make better decisions with the help of key people analytics and hiring statistics.

Rise of the ‘remote’ workforce

A rising segment of employees today prefer to work out of remote locations instead of the office. This has entirely been made possible through recent development in technology. About half of the US workforce is expected to be freelancing, in some capacity, by 2020.  HR departments will be able to use this trend to their advantage. Instead of hiring full-time employees, they should explore teams of talented freelancers and independent contractors, thereby building trust on a project-to-project basis.

Rise of micro-learning

Most adults start losing attention within as little as ten minutes and is likely to go down further. To meaningfully engage and train learners with such low attention spans, HR departments need to design training sessions that are short and impact-based, rather than long ones. More frequent and shorter training sessions will be more beneficial at workplaces. Micro-learning, as a result, will rise further as the industry norm.

Extensive use of VR, AR, game, and video

Both AR and VR are helpful during training and recruitment. A gamified application experience can be created for the recruitment of candidates, as is done by Jaguar and Land Rover. Collaborating with the band Gorillaz, they create a real setting, allowing candidates to see and experience iconic cars from these manufacturers. This is followed up with a series of puzzles that enable candidates to move forward.

In 2019, HR managers will need to plan systematically, instead of moving rapidly. This will help prevent badly created applications which may frustrate users. AI and Analytics will be able to touch every sphere they operate in, from employee engagement to recruitment and performance management. The year 2019 is likely to be the one when people analytics will finally be able to demonstrate its true potential.

By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck

This article was first published on stoodnt

How QuoDeck Is Gamifying Corporate E-Learning With AI-based Tools

Realising the need for enterprises to engage their staff in a much more creative and interesting way, QuoDecK, a Mumbai-based startup, attempts to bridge this gap with a SaaS product which uses gamification for enterprise learning market.

Established in 2010 by avid gamers Kamalika Bhattacharya and  Arijit Lahiri,  the platform uses interactivity and games to engage enterprise learners and use that to capture data, which in turn gets used to improve the learner’s experience. “While a lot of learning is needed as it a functional understanding, the way in which it is delivered does not evoke any sense of excitement or feeling from the employees that it is being done for their betterment. So, two of us started looking at ways to improve this scenario and that’s when QuoDeck born in 2010 as a result of this,” says Bhattacharya, who worked with startups and raised private equity and venture capital in her previous stint.

Outcome-based learning

At the core of its platform is gamification, which has been leveraged to make simple activities from documentation to interaction with customers easier. For this, the platform relies on game-based learning and storyline-based games which are used to create an entire course. “For instance, a big requirement in insurance, banking, pharma, and retail sector is conversation simulations which teach people how to talk by simulating a chat with a customer. This is method can also be used for sales training as well as customer service training,” Bhattacharya explains.

QuoDeck’s DIY LMS is one such product which is built on mobile and game-based SaaS platform and brings cutting-edge technology at affordable costs for SMEs, start-ups and educational institutes. Presently, the platform can be deployed within an organisation whose employee strength varies from 30-1000 with different work environments.

AI and ML works at the back end

Analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have been used at the back-end to process a large number of different datasets. This data is then used to gain valuable insights about learner behaviour and provide them with updates on their progress. It also provides companies with updates on their employees’ performances. “At QuoDeck, we use a multivariate model including clickstream data, time spent on the system, distribution of course usage, devices used amongst many other variables to uncover patterns, correlations and other insights,” Bhattacharya adds.

AI and ML have been exclusively used to improve resource allocation of QuoDeck’s partners, customise learning for employees and to significantly improve their courses efficiency. In the future, the company hopes to leverage AI and Ml tools to provide pre-designed course based on the learners’ profiles before they begin their e-Learning journey.

Road ahead

QuoDeck’s enterprise version is currently deployed in more than 35 global companies and has over four lakh learners. However, the company hopes to increase their user-base to six lakh people by the next three months and leverage AI and ML for increasing their productivity. “We see the next big potential in affordable, DIY, SaaS-based LMS for smaller and medium organisations. The second growth area is for LMS in moving up the value chain of services, from delivering content to providing AI/ML driven actionable to drive up productivity,” Bhattacharya concludes.

By Akshaya Asokan, Journalist at Analytics India Magazine

QuoDeck launches mobile learning app builder

The app focuses on making things simple, so companies that have never done learning before this can also get started in no time. 

Game-based learning platform QuoDeck has announced the launch of learning app builder QuoDeck Express. 

Targeted at small and growing businesses, including startups, QuoDeck Express allows these businesses to participate in the mobile learning revolution that the industry has witnessed over the past few years. The company aims to sign up over a million users within the next 12 months. 

“We observed a significant increase in demand from small and growing businesses, as training has become a critical function for business growth,” said Kamalika Bhattacharya, co-founder of QuoDeck. “These companies need to leverage technology to impart training and connect with their employees,” she added. 

‘Express’ was conceived as a product to help companies become better places to work. “Learning is often cited as one of the reasons people move between organizations, so there is a tangible benefit that products like Express can drive for small and growing businesses -from higher productivity and revenues to lower attrition and faster onboarding,” she said 

The app focuses on making things simple, so companies that have never done learning before this can also get started in no time. Not only can they add their existing content through presentations and videos, but can also use games and themes to make them interesting. 

QuoDeck is currently supporting learning at over 35 global companies including Unilever, Star India, eBay, SBI Life, Aditya Birla Group and Axis Bank, and has close to half a million learners on its platforms. The Express platform offers nearly all the major functionalities of a full-fledged LMS – Design customization, story creation system, learning games library, quizzes, and surveys and reports. 

The global e-learning market, valued at over $200 billion, has seen a couple of large shifts that have led rapid growth, – a shift in device to mobile and a growing proportion of millennials and generation Z in the workforce. In India alone, this trend is evident with over 45% of the workforce being between 25-39 years of age, providing a huge opportunity for the right training product. 

By Rica Bhattacharyya, ET Bureau

This article was first published in The Economic Times

Why is measuring training effectiveness important to team leaders?

Be it a well-established company or a start-up, investments in training employees is something one cannot afford to skip as it helps the organization grow and remain competitive. However, there is no one-size fit training program that suits all. Hence, it is important to consider various factors like the company objectives, size of the investment, type of audience, etc. to design a training program. But it does not end at designing a training program and executing it. It is important to understand the effects of the program and analyzing them to look up if the program was successful, isn’t it?

Let’s assume all companies in the world conduct training programs – online or offline and procure analytics in some form or shape. However, these analytics are at a broad level across organizations. To achieve the expected objectives, it is important to deep dive into the real problems. All of us have heard that learners must be pushed to take up the training programs at all points in time. And, hence companies are now catering to e-learning, micro-learning, game-based learning, AR, VR, interactivity, and engagement. These fancy mechanisms are new age developments and have cropped out of millennial generation problems.

However, pushing your learners is only going to take you so far. So, what is the real problem?

The real problem is the belief a learner has a training program and the value it adds to his career or personal growth whatsoever. You as a team lead can help your teams believe in the value-add of the training program. How will you do that?

In all companies, training programs are run and executed by team leads across their respective teams at a grassroots level. It hence becomes important for team leads to measure the ROI on these programs. Well, the investment here can be considered in time and efforts.

How do you measure the ROI of a training program?

We will look at the elements a team lead should look at while measuring the effectiveness of a training program.

The reaction of the employees As a team lead, it is important for you to understand the responses of your learners to the program. It helps you find out if the course content was easy and relevant to understand, identify and discuss strengths and weakness, view on the key takeaways and if the program was successful in matching the learners’ perception and expectations –

Have your learners learned It is crucial to identify if your learners have learned from the program which is one of the key objectives you have for the training program. You can analyse this by looking at test scores and course completion percentages, etc. These numbers help you identify the gaps in your learners’ understanding giving you a holistic picture of required improvements in your program –

Behavioral Patterns You can easily identify if your learners are using the knowledge, they have gained looking at their performance and attitude at work. Also, surveys and feedback from peers, supervisors, reporting managers of your learners will give you concrete data on your learners

These outcomes help you capture the results of your training program and answer the question of “Why a training program?” with actual data and facts. The results can include: Increased employee retention Increased productivity Higher employee engagement

Understanding the roadblock in the training programs your learners must go through is your responsibility as a team lead. Once you identify the roadblocks, you will be able to conduct your training program effectively and efficiently. This helps you line up with your business objectives with the program enabling you to achieve your goals and KRAs with a more logical approach.

By Shruti Shinde, Head- Enterprise Origination at QuoDeck

4 Essential Apps for Onboarding your New Employees

As we are stepping towards the future, the trend of paperwork is becoming a thing of the past and onboarding apps are getting popular for each step

Recruitment is the most important process for any business as it brings in people who shape the future of a company. Human Resource employees are responsible to help onboard the new employees, which is a crucial step for a new employee’s growth in the company.

So, the onboarding process should be taken seriously and most importantly, it should be efficient. The paperwork and formalities before an employee is inducted should be done in a timely fashion. There are multiple steps in the onboarding process.

And as we are stepping towards the future, the trend of paperwork is becoming a thing of the past and onboarding apps are getting popular for each step of onboarding.

So, here are 4 apps for onboarding your employees:

WorkBright: For the administrative processing

WorkBright offers a platform where a human resource personnel can speed up the process of documentation. It allows the new joinees to upload their documents directly to the app even before their first day at work. It also checks whether the uploaded documents are clear enough or not, and helps you send a prompt to the employee if it’s not clear. This can help an organization save a lot of money as they don’t need to hire a dedicated person for this job.

WorkStyle: For profiling

WorkStyle helps all employees to create a work profile, which can help other teammates to get to know each other professionally. With the details filled in the WorkStyle profile, employees can understand each other’s working preferences, timings and approach. This can easily smoothen the process of new employees blending with their new teammates and understand the work culture beforehand.

QuoDeck: For onboard training

Once the paperwork is done and you have created profiles for your new employees to help them understand the work culture, it’s time for onboard training. QuoDeck helps to create gamified training modules for your new employees. This method can be used to train your employees for their specific role or a general overview, which totally depends on your training principles. As most of the company trainings and onboarding is somewhat forced, so it directly affects the impact and effectiveness of it. This is where QuoDeck makes it more efficient. The gaming experience when transposed in the onboarding process attracts the employees and increases their retention. So, employees are able to gain much more out of the experience than a normal boring training session.

iAppreciate: For recognition drive

The last step for onboarding an employee completely is to have them feel they are recognised for the work they are putting in. This is where iAppreciate is a powerful tool to utilize. Statistics show that recognizing an employee’s endeavors will result in increased productivity. iAppreciate allows you to create a platform where employees can be congratulated for their efforts and goals. As everybody will be on this platform, it is easy to boost the confidence of the new employees and reap better results from them.

The above-mentioned apps are a great way to onboard an employee as they cover each and every aspect of onboarding an employee. As the modern technology is advancing with each passing year, it can very well be understood that the era of paper and slow onboarding process is gone and more HR professionals are relying on such applications to make the process faster and more efficient than ever.

By DQIndia Online

This article was first released on DataQuest

How QuoDeck enables enterprises to deliver game-based learning

QuoDeck relies on using gaming as a natural behavior of the learner to drive enterprise learning.

Experience indeed is the best teacher. Having experienced their share of boring mandatory trainings in their 15-year-old careers, Kamalika Bhattacharya & Arijit Lahiri thought something needed to be done about the kind of training which was literally being forced down the throat of employees. While a lot of this learning is needed as it a functional understanding, but the way in which it is delivered does not evoke any sense of excitement or feeling from the employees that it is being done for their betterment.

But over the last few years, people have picked up mobile as the primary device through which they consume content. So while people were clamoring for more content through new age formats on Google or Wikipedia, but somehow enterprises could not get into that mind shift. Enterprise learning remained very boring, stale, and desktop oriented. Says Kamalika, 

“That is when we thought that there was a need for enterprises to adjust to the new millennial generation used to consuming on mobile, in interesting and interactive formats.”

When the duo started looking at millennials, they realized that apart from browsing on social media, a large chunk of their time is spent on online gaming. A lot of these games were simple games like Candy Crush, Angry Birds which fall in the category of hyper-casual gaming. The duo started looking at how to marry these thoughts together and that’s when QuoDeck was born in 2010. 

QuoDeck is a SaaS product catering to the enterprise learning market, using interactivity and games to engage enterprise learners and use that to capture data, which in turn gets used to improve the learner experience and effectiveness. The product relies on how to use gaming as a natural behavior of the learner to drive enterprise learning. 

When the duo started looking at millennials, they realized that apart from browsing on social media, a large chunk of their time is spent on online gaming. A lot of these games were simple games like Candy Crush, Angry Birds which fall in the category of hyper-casual gaming. The duo started looking at how to marry these thoughts together and that’s when QuoDeck was born in 2010. 

QuoDeck is a SaaS product catering to the enterprise learning market, using interactivity and games to engage enterprise learners and use that to capture data, which in turn gets used to improve the learner experience and effectiveness. The product relies on how to use gaming as a natural behavior of the learner to drive enterprise learning. 

How does Quodeck enable enterprises to deliver learning

Kamalika believes that the thing with LMS is that they tend to think of themselves as just a delivery vehicle. They don’t give much thought to what content they put in it. But QuoDeck cares as much about the content as much as the format in which it is delivered to the learner. The platform has a delivery app along with multiple products under the same room-such as an authoring tool, an entire game library-so all the tools are embedded in this platform. 

Organizations can easily upload their content in predefined templates and create content in a simple way on the platform. All enterprises have to do is enter content in text and the product platform renders it in beautiful formats for the mobile app. The DIY platform is also enabled with big data tracking. 

The platform allows enterprises to create a pull-based learning.

So from gamification to game-based learning to storyline based games which can be used to create an entire course, the platform goes on to offer simple hyper-casual games; documentation simulation which teaches people how to do documentation- a big requirement in insurance, banking, pharma, and retail; conversation simulations which teach people how to talk by simulating a chat with a customer, which is used a lot for sales training as well as customer service training. Moreover, the full-featured platform can address a small company of 30 people to a large company with thousands of people with a complex environment. 

35 companies, half a million learners

The product which was released in 2014, has seen steady adoption in the four years hence. Today, the platform boasts of almost half a million users on the platform across more than 35 companies including global clients as well. This number is expected to grow to 600000 over the next 3 months on the back of the current deployments in progress.  Unilever, Star India, eBay, SBI Life, Aditya Birla Group, Axis Bank, are some of the companies which are big clients of the subscription-based SaaS platform. 

Kamalika attributed this growth to the fact that the product spans an entire gamut of what you could do with gamification to simple gaming complex gaming to create a pull for learning. Companies like Reliance, Unilever, Aditya Birla use the platform to train their ecosystem advisors such as advisor network, distributor network as well as their salespeople. Thus the platform is being used to deliver a level of impact which actually drives business for them and not just for training them. So effectively, she believes that QuoDeck counts with pretty much every LMS out there. 

The future of game-based learning

A report by US-based learning technology market research firm Metaari states that the worldwide five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for Game-based Learning products and services is a robust 37.1% and revenues will more than quadruple to reach well over $17 Bn by 2023. While revenues will more than triple in all eight global buying segments surveyed in the report, over the forecast period, the corporate segment will see the maximum rise in demand, driven by the booming demand for pre-employment assessment and evaluation games.

Kamalika avers with this trend of the corporate segment poised to post the highest growth rate out of all eight segments. She adds that upwards of 50% of companies in the world are looking to change their existing learning systems. One of the main reasons they look to switch is because of the lack of interactivity and mobile capability in these systems. So gaming, mobile learning, social learning are the new trends which no enterprise can afford to stay away from given their audience has changed completely. Added to the fact that they are no more dealing with traditional learning problems anymore. With a globally scattered employee base, companies can no longer get their employees to sit in a classroom for learning. 

More so as the audience demographics changes to millennials, who live in a digital world, enterprises are starting to realize that very strongly that they will start to fall behind if they are not using digital means for disseminating learning. So they are moving from traditional learning to digital learning. This change is very much essayed by the fact that compared to 2010, when QuoDeck would have a hard time convincing companies of game-based learning, today it is no more a challenge.

Kamalika aptly concludes, “Moving away from traditional learning is more a question of companies coming out of their comfort zones. Gaming is no more as bad a word as it used to be anymore!”

By Shweta Modgil, Feature Writer with People Matters

This article was first published on People Matters

HR Tech and Startups in 2018: The year that was

How was the year 2018 for startups in the HR tech space in India when it comes to adoption and talent? Read on to find out.

December is a time to look back and take stock-where did we start from and where have we reached after 12 long months. And when the startups in the HR Tech space look back, they will mostly say it has been a good year. From the degree of adoption to the amount of funds flowing in, the startup space has generally seen an increased awareness around technology in HR. With the talks of AI, automation, technology dominating the whole year around, HR Tech saw a definite uptake both in India and globally.

So if in the first quarter, Degreed, a global platform for discovery, learning & certification of skills, made news by raising $42 Mn in a funding round, back home, in the second quarter, Indian corporate social responsibility and sustainability management technology platform, Goodera brought raised around $12 Mn. Similarly, employee focused HR tech app Hush also saw itself raising three funding rounds in the year, a major thumbs up for employee engagement apps. 

The space also saw major consolidations taking place in the HR Tech space this year. Globally, US-based job review and job hunting website Glassdoor was acquired by a Japanese human-resources and consumer-information provider, Recruit Holdings Co. Similarly, global consulting firm Mercer acquired India based HR tech startup Mettl.


Which brings us to the first trend in the space-awareness, fund flow, and consolidation.

A good year for HR Tech- more awareness, more funds

We talked to a number of startups in the HR Tech space such as game-based learning platform Quodeck, employee engagement startup Hush, sustainable credit provider SalaryFits, HRMS provider Zimyo, talent discovery platform Vyre, on-demand video platform Monjin, and Zeta which digitizes employee benefits, HR talent marketplace Noble House, among others.

Majority of the startups agreed that globally as well as in India, there has been a huge spike in interest and fund flow into the HR Tech space. 

Quodeck’s co-founder Kamalika Bhattacharya says, “There has been a marked increase in awareness for the need for technology-enabled employee engagement amongst the HR community and companies. For the HR tech startups that have kept up with the evolving needs of our clients, this year has been good, steadily moving up the value chain of the requirements for our clients.”

Most of the startups believe that the major acquisitions in India and globally point towards interest as well as consolidation in the space.

Kumar Mayank, co-founder of Zimyo believes that HR Tech startups had a great year in 2018. “From Recruit’s $1.2 Bn acquisition of Glassdoor to Mercer’s $40.5 Mn acquisition of Mettl in the Indian subcontinent, HR Tech is now drawing the long due attention it deserved. Incidentally, Mettl’s acquisition is not only one of the biggest HR tech acquisitions from the country but also one of the biggest SaaS acquisitions too thus making it the joker in the pack for drawing international investors’ attention to Indian SaaS startups.”

Ashutosh Dabral, Co-founder & CEO, Hush reiterated the same belief that it was a good year with multiple startups in the space raising one or multiple rounds of funding.

“This industry is poised to be a $400 Bn dollar industry so the funding activity reflects this assumption.”

Aye for adoption, aye for technology

The startups agreed that early-stage startups too have quite been successful in making inroads to mainstream HR with many of them raking in early customers and investments. 

Sudev das, co-founder, Vyre shared, “From an adoption perspective more organizations specifically the ones which are growing have a larger appetite to try out newer HR Tech solutions to support rapid business growth and efficiencies.”

This was reiterated by Kunal Kapoor CTO, Monjin who believes that HR tech is gaining importance in the era of skilling and tech-based recruitment and employee management services. 

Another major trend was that hiring has seen a big surge in adopting technology to screen and assess candidates. There has been an increase in off-premise interviews assisted by use of tech to shortlist resumes, online assessments, and video interviews. Similarly, there has been a significant uptick in interest shown by teams within large organizations and SMEs including startups for simple, attractively priced and quick to deploy Learning Management Systems. 

“More than hiring, we believe that companies are taking definitive steps to enhance engagement and productivity in the workplace as a retention tool,” says Guilherme Mota, Head of Operations, India, SalaryFits. 

Referral hiring has also become a preferred route but companies don’t find it easy to run effective referral programs, avers Ashutosh.

Then again, adoption of video in hiring, learning and engagement has significantly increased and will increase significantly in the next couple of years. This would be largely driven by Gen Z as we go forward. In fact, organizations from a hiring perspective will have to focus on Gen Z as they would significantly change the landscape of a workplace and drive change significantly as they become a part of the workforce. 

Hiring talent in the non-tech world will become a major focus for organizations across the board, adds Sudev. Consumer-facing roles will be in demand but the supply will always be shorter. The current way of hiring this talent will go through significant change. 

Moreover, recruiters will have to move beyond the traditional job board and platform sourcing to actually embed themselves in the real-life contexts of the candidates and attract them. 

This leveraging of technology will only ramp up as the volume and quality of data increases and AI improves. While awareness of AI and acceptance of AI in the HR Tech has increased, however, it would take a couple more years for us to see the real benefits of AI as systems and tech matures in the AI world

Challenges ahead: A dearth of talent, funds and market access

Notwithstanding how highly hopeful and happening the year 2018 was for startups and HR Tech, there are still many significant barriers they have to cross before they can scale greater heights of success.

For instance, hiring talent itself in the space is a problem. Mayank of Zimyo shares that it is becoming difficult day by day to hire quality talent. He revealed,

“We floated over 20 openings during the year, each carrying a 40%+ hike & ESOPs and yet we failed to generate good interest among potential candidates. Many of our partner HR Tech startups (from our HR marketplace) complained of the dearth of quality talent too; especially, at senior levels.”

The same thoughts are shared by Sanjay Lakhotia, Co-Founder, Noble House Consulting Pte who reiterated that a significant challenge for HR tech startups is a scarcity of talent in the market, across all functions, technology, sales, operations etc. He also added that price realization continues to be a big challenge for most HR tech startups.

Bhavin Turakhia, co-founder of Zeta feels that a major challenge with HR Tech companies is that the user interface has mostly not been built from the standpoint of easy adoption, which is what makes ready adoption difficult. The real challenge he feels is creating that HR tech mindset among companies where the goal of HR Tech is beyond managing operations all the way to empowering and enabling people to be their best. With that as an objective, the scope expands 10X for HR Tech. 

Unavailability of a ready-market they can sell their business to is another challenge, adds Mayank. For SaaS based HR Tech startups like Payroll or AI Chatbots, it is the lack of cloud adoption in the Indian subcontinent; for Niche HR Tech startups like Compensation and Benefits it is the lack of domain knowledge. Being enterprise solutions, HR Tech startups have to undertake a lot of shoe and leather cost to make every sale happen.

“While the market is there for the taking, quite a few of us in the HR Tech space find it difficult to get across to potential customers. We are not great at selling the product or even marketing or engaging customers. Even platforms which could help us do that are limited and very costly, adds Sudev.

The same is reiterated by Kamalika who shares that HR departments in companies face hurdles in getting business buy-in for tech products. A significant percentage of product/service acquisitions are led by the business teams rather than the HR team. Moreover, companies in India, view HR tech as a service rather than a product. This leads to delays in deployment due to discussions on feature additions and customizations. Ironically, companies still adopt an extrinsic motivation approach (reward vs punishment) as against intrinsic motivation approach (micro-learning, immersive experience, casual game-based learning), which hopefully should shift majorly in 2019.     

Then there are global big incumbents in this space and for startups, it’s difficult to build a competitor. So most startups are looking at working on niche areas that can make them an acquisition target for the behemoths, shares Ashutosh.

Interestingly, though the year 2018 saw a lot of funds pour in, yet the number of VCs interested in investing in HR Tech startups are still far and few.  Hopefully, the startups believe that in the next 1-2 years, HR Tech will hit the tipping point where investors users and businesses will invest significantly in HR Tech. 

For now, some feel there need to be more cost-effective platforms where Tech HR startups can come together meet learn and share experiences, where seasoned HR leaders, tech leaders, and founders come together on a regular basis. An ecosystem that supports startups at a fledgling stage would be more than helpful in the current scenario. A little guidance in sales and early client acquisition would go a long way for the startups. 

While technology (AI, video, automation) will definitely push up adoption and increased interest from both buyers and investors up the ante for HR Tech startups, we will have to wait till 2019 to see if the dreams and hopes of HR tech startups will materialize. 

By Shweta Modgil, Feature Writer with People Matters

This article was first published on People Matters