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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

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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

Enterprise Gaming – Once an Opportunity, now a Trend

Having spent a large part of my career in the financial services space driving traditional business growth, using gaming to achieve business goals was not a cause I expected to be championing. Gaming was always a personal interest, but the business parallels only became apparent after we started experimenting with service engagements for enterprises. Given the planet anyway spends 3 billion hours a week playing games, the challenge was really to figure out how learning could fit in that construct.

We formed QuoDeck in 2010 to bring gaming into learning for enterprises. Having started with some elementary game engines and simulations, QuoDeck quickly moved on to make an omnipotent system built with the changing business environment in mind. QuoDeck’s platform today is one of the most powerful and engaging learning platforms in the world, catering to enterprise requirements for mobile learning. And as a leading player in this category, our advice to new entrants is to stay true to course, understand that the market is huge and that innovation is the key.

Mobility is here to stay

Mobile learning was just about appearing on the horizon in India when we entered the market. In fact, it was still at a nascent stage globally as well. While enterprises saw the demographic shift coming, the speed at which the device shift happened took everyone by surprise. Within a period of 3-4 years, millennial users had junked tablets and wouldn’t access their desktops or laptops for anything but sit-down work. They wanted everything on their mobile – on-demand, anytime, anywhere. Being a generation bred on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, they also wanted content and technology that was easy-to-use, visually appealing and in bite-sized pieces. The learning evolution that needed to happen in enterprises was phenomenal and existing products just weren’t prepared for this. Mobility as a trend forced a change in behavior, technology, content creation and consumption patterns across all strata of business.

There is always an element of luck in startup success and we were no different. Perhaps being at the right place at the right time with the right thought process is what its all about. QuoDeck has been at the forefront of this shift, shoulder-to-shoulder with enterprises looking to stay ahead of the curve.

EnterpriseGaming_MobileLearning_CEO_QuoDeck_2018.jpg

Gamifying the world

Our personal insight of gaming being habit-creating and creating long-term associative memories, was the inspiration behind the approach we took. Countless times, behaviors and constructs learnt in gaming had been translated by us to address real-world problems with excellent results.

We had a learning curve here as well. Having played on consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox, we assumed the world was ready to deal with highly complex games and constructs. However, working closely with business heads, HR teams and the Learning & Development function, we learnt that hyper-casual games create the best impact from a learning perspective. This is because they are somewhat repetitive in nature, with a greater level of participation & addiction to ‘scoring’.

While we initially worked on gamification applications on functions such as marketing, research, and learning, we chose to go with learning as a primary focus. Having started in this category long before games became the buzzword of today, we were fortunate to be able to take a pole position and we hope to actually drive the future of gamification for learning in the enterprise. But there are still a lot of white spaces to go after in enterprise gamification.

For New Players

Gaming as a learning solution is so vast in its scope, that it can’t be characterized or identified with any particular industry or even a clutch of industries. Wherever there is widespread staff or skilling required, gaming solutions can take charge and lead the change. So, when new players come in, they must remember that competition comes in various guises and is very rarely with another player. You will end up competing for mindshare against the likes of video-on-demand platforms or search engines where users can find information and content at their fingertips. Knowing what creates pull is perhaps the only challenge you should worry about.

Look out for learning opportunities

Gamification as an industry has a widespread application with learning being only one of them. A space was created for us because existing products failed to keep pace with what was required – large entrenched players became irrelevant in a matter of months. Overnight, enterprises recognized that resistance against this changing paradigm was futile, and mindsets started changing. Gaming and mobility were no longer bad words.

It would be foolish of us to think that we cannot be on the other side of such a trend. Keeping your offering relevant and at the cutting-edge requires you to have an innovation engine, which stops for no one. This requires tremendous willpower and a staunch refusal to settle into a comfortable spot.

 

This article was first published at YourStory

By Kamalika Bhattacharya CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck Technologies

What do Indian women want freedom from?

As India celebrates its 72nd Independence Day, Yahoo Lifestyle reached out to seven women to ask them what freedoms Indian women are still fighting for today.

Kamalika Bhattacharya, the CEO of QuoDeck believes women are more than a single dimension. She recently talked to Yahoo about why Indian women need freedom from being stereotyped

Discomfort is the Route to Entrepreneurial Success

So why is Discomfort so essential for entrepreneurial success and how to embrace it?

Entrepreneurship has always been about seeking out the new, in uncharted waters. Across ages, be it explorers or individuals, who have made a mark in their chosen fields or Entrepreneurs who have sought to change the world, have stepped out of their comfort zones. In an age when comfort is the buzzword for consumers, Discomfort is the mantra with which Entrepreneurs need to live by. Discomfort is not about putting oneself in a tough spot. It is stepping out from what you know, to the unknown. Exploring new opportunities, new areas of interest and nurturing a vision. An Entrepreneur seeks of problems and makes solutions for those problems while tackling the new-world questions which arise with these solutions. And that is where discomfort stems from. From seeking the unknown, from seeing problems in a new lens and attempting new paths. So why is Discomfort so essential for entrepreneurial success and how to embrace it?

Embracing Change

Discomfort comes from a change in what you have been doing. Change requires moving forward by going beyond what is holding you. Be it a safety net of certainty, an appraisal plan or just comfort with your work. To make yourself the next success, you need to embrace change as an integral part of your life. Start small but stay steady. A little change, one day at a time can bring success your way.

Say Goodbye to the Comfort Zone

Comfort zones are places which we are used to. We know how they will behave in any given situation. Coming out of this comfort zone is very important for an individual, especially for entrepreneurial successes because that is the only time when your mind is open to new opportunities and solutions where none existed. Discomfort is not just a punchline here, it is a way of life.

Nurture the Unconventional

Great ideas come from unconventional thoughts. The first wheel came because someone wanted to break the convention of walking. Discomfort makes you explore ideas and solutions which are unconventional and gives you the ability to experiment with varied combinations. It is the one thing which makes you think beyond what you think are your limits.

Calculated Risks

Risk taking is second nature to an Entrepreneur. But that doesn’t mean that you dive head straight into it. Study the problem, understand it, appreciate its presence and then find the solutions. Its okay not to have the perfect solution in the first go. Every failed attempt brings you one step closer to success. You may not have all the cards in your favour but a calculated risk towards your goals can get you there a lot faster, along with all the learnings.

Growing with Discomfort

There is only one thing for you to do- Get Up, Get Out & Get Moving. This is what will let you grow, explore opportunities and get a closer understanding of the world around you. You will start seeing things, you never did before. Go ahead to seek the new, forge your tools, mark your own paths and try your hands at everything that you can. It is Discomfort which will test you to the limits and will give you the experience to set on the right path.

By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck


This article was first published on Entrepreneur India


Fun and games to upgrade your skills

Arijit Lahiri and Kamalika Bhattacharya, who spent over a decade in organisations like ABN Amro Bank and Intellecap, saw learning department heads begging, bullying and even bribing their learners to stick to their learning agenda.
So they put on their marketing hats to understand what would catch learners’ attention. “Game-based learning pretty much screamed itself up,” says Bhattacharya. Games allow for more engaging learning experiences while also making the learner behaviour more measurable and analysable. Today, their company, QuoDeck (earlier Ptotem), uses board games, murder mysteries and treasure hunts as learning methods, and these have been used by organisations like PepsiCo, Unilever, Aditya Birla Group and Tata Group.

To read the full article, click here

6 must have apps for every HR professional

One of the most crucial functions in any organization is the Human Resources.

The HR function drives the organization, its culture, future growth possibilities and is also the first point of contact for prospective employees for the organization’s brand value.

It is interesting that HR teams witness an average 22 percent cost savings when they move to automated and digital solutions for process-jobs. There are other numbers which prove that an app backed HR function is much smoother, with transparent employee interactions.

To help with that, these are the six must have apps which every HR professional should have:

Workbright

One of the most primary functions for HR is the employee on-boarding process. Once the employee joins the organization, there is paperwork and one-to-one sessions required with the HR teams to help set the employee into the system & the job role. Workbright makes this process simpler by taking it online & doing it even before the employee has joined the organization. Workbright helps with all the process functions of the on-boarding journey and can also be made to have primary sessions for the employee-to-be on what to expect in the new role. Once joined, the employee already has an exposure to his role, saving up on time-costs for the HR team as well.

QuoDeck

Human Resources lead the Learning and Development functions for any organization. Very important everywhere, conventional learning mechanisms involve a set theory which needs to be read over and tested for a score. This has become a mundane process and generally, employees treat it as just another test which they forget about later. QuoDeck solves this problem by making games out of the tests required. Instead of repeating what was read, QuoDeck turns the entire session into a game where people win points, can compete within teams or outside of teams, etc. This helps take the learning process in the right spirit as the retention and participation levels are much higher.

LinkedIn

Hiring today is an online process and taking up the game notches is LinkedIn. A social media platform where professionals have well-crafted profiles detailing all their achievements is the perfect way for HR functions and recruiters to know more about prospective candidates. The chat & mail features also help both sides reach out to each other and have a meaningful conversation before they decide on functional meetings. For the HR functions, LinkedIn is an indispensable tool which helps them know a prospect better before they take the next steps. LinkedIn works better than so many other ‘job’ apps because it is about building meaningful careers with the right fitment and not just getting a job.

WorkStyle

Hiring is a very chance-based process. Despite all possible checks & attempts, there is a gut factor which comes into play. At times one lets go of great assets, or at times brings on-board undeserving candidates. In either case, it is a mistake which is realized late and costs the organization dear in terms of intra-relationships and any other means. WorkStyle helps the HR teams because it comes with testing an employee’s personality traits. Technical skill-sets help do a job, but personality traits make an employee gel with the teams and contribute for both personal & organization growth. WorkStyle comes here with a variety of models and tests helping the HR team to take an informed decision.

Zenefits

Human Resources work on two ends of the spectrum- the procedure-oriented and the emotional and human-oriented. The processes and formalities-based systems take up a lot of time, leaving them with limited scope to help employees with the ‘Human’ aspect of their profiles. Zenefits helps here by taking up all the roles of employee records, hierarchy structures, payroll management and any other function which can be done via a procedure. This leaves the HR team to devote time for better employee engagement, interactions and developing the general work culture of the organization.

Yammer

An organization is an ecosystem with its own sub-groups, job descriptions, work titles, assignments, line & cross-line reporting, etc. In such a world it is the HR’s responsibility that all communication channels are open for employees so that impromptu groupings can be made, everybody in a group knows about updates happening simultaneously and much more. Yammer makes it possible to engage in fruitful intra-office and inter-office conversations and coordinate for better personal relationships. For the HR team, Yammer is helpful as it comes with a dashboard with features for tracking, recording and maintaining effective communication channels.

This article was first published on Business Standard

The Indian Startup Show A Weekly Podcast Show About Indian Startups Entrepreneurs & More! Hosted by Neil Patel & Friends

Ep69: ­Arijit & Kamalika, Co-founders of QuoDeck – Meet the husband & wife team disrupting the traditional learning industry…One game at a time!

Both share great insights on life as an entrepreneur. The setbacks, the fun, building a team. Getting out of the comfort zone. Management styles, Quitting corporate life after 15 years and how they first met! So please enjoy the show.

To listen to the Podcast.

3 Types of Startups Who Need a Learning Culture to Succeed

Service-driven startups like cab hailing apps, e-commerce apps, delivery and logistics enterprises, etc. thrive on very specific yet highly competitive ecosystems.

Most startups work towards the one thing which matters most – Survival. In the crucial early years, startups are consumed by solving critical challenges like getting their product/service off the ground, creating differentiation with consumers, hiring the right team and raising capital. Most times this leaves no bandwidth for anything else and lower order priorities like training usually take a backseat – and, rightly so. Most startups can do without structured learning for a very long time, and instead, driving a culture of ‘figuring it out’ and self-learning can help teams remain cutting-edge and current. However, if you are a particular type of startup, then learning is actually quite critical to the success of your business model.

1.    Startups with large field forces

Startups that depend on a large field force to either sell or deliver their product/service to customers, need them to be knowledgeable and be skilled at selling. But, with large field forces come issues such as high attrition and the need for training their replacements faster. As a startup, balanced on the thin edge of efficient capital consumption and delivering a world-class brand experience to customers, these costs can prove very dear.

Startup founders typically, expect field force managers to teach incoming employees on-the-job or through 1-2 day-long classroom sessions, to equip them with all the knowledge regarding the product/service, its differentiation, processes, and skills related to selling and issue handling. That can be a lot to absorb in such a short time span! However, what startups don’t realize is that the willingness to commit this time to train may differ from manager to manager as may the ability to train, resulting in a lopsided field force where some are trained to deliver better than others. And one of the fastest ways to kill a brand is inconsistent brand experience with customers.

Such startups can benefit enormously from having structured learning and onboarding programs, that incoming field force is mandatorily required to go through in their initial few days. With advancing learning technology, such structured programs are now delivered with ease through mobile devices with micro-learning that is consumed on-the-go. Ultimately, the cost of such a program is offset by the benefits of consistency of brand experience resulting in growth and scale.

2.    Startups who run an ecosystem

Service-driven startups like cab hailing apps, e-commerce apps, delivery and logistics enterprises, etc. thrive on very specific yet highly competitive ecosystems. Features such as one-day delivery, pick-up & drop services, returns, and home trial add enormous pressures on logistics teams in startups. Conversely, the differentiating factor is not always the product/service itself, but the quality of hospitality and customer care provided, which is actually delivered by the ecosystem.

Compared to the previous type of startup, the need for training this ecosystem comes from two fronts – Process and Brand Experience. Ecosystem partners deal with both major stakeholders involved – with the startup (seller) and the customer (buyer). Understanding processes which may include critical aspects like authentication, cash handling, timely delivery and pickup, returns etc. is imperative for ecosystem partners. And every partner of this ecosystem doubles up as a brand ambassador, therefore they need to understand the brand experience they are supposed to deliver.

If such an ecosystem is at the center of a startup’s business model, then founders need to ensure that the ecosystem represents and communicates the brand experience founders have envisaged. This, however, cannot be done quickly and is a long-term process. Startups need to analyze the role of each partner, design training programs accordingly and ensure the same is communicated to them on a regular basis.

3.    Startups with complex product/service offerings

Startups with complex product/service offerings such as technology products, fin-tech or medical tech have a unique requirement. Their offering is typically based on a thorough understanding of the domain and the issues with existing products/services, which can be sometimes fairly complex subject matter. Not only historical context, it is important for such companies to keep abreast of the advances and latest developments in their domain. Sometimes, the requirement can be as simple as knowing new regulations in the industry that affect your product/service.

As such startups grow and hire, whether it is sales and marketing, product development, Operations or HR, translating this context and understanding is important and needs to be done continually. Such startups would benefit from building up a repository of knowledge that is available for reference or learning as needed.

By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck

This article was first published on BWDisrupt

Here’s how QuoDeck uses interactivity and games to engage enterprise learners

enterprise learning QuoDeck

QuoDeck is a SaaS product catering to the enterprise learning market. The basic concept of the product is 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 allows enterprises to quickly create and deploy learning platforms, which are mobile learning oriented with a big data backend to capture click-stream real-time data. Once deployed, the captured data streams are processed to provide effectiveness insights such as learner profiling, content quality assessments, training needs identification, etc.

To read the full article, click here