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Study of a Learning Organization:

Robi Axiata Ltd.

1.0 Introduction

There is no magic recipe for a successful organization in todays world. Process,


people, inventory, innovation all are integral part of every organization regardless
in which industry it operates. But we are living in such an era, where success of any
organization cannot be credited to any one of these factors and also, similarly, we
cannot expect drastic change in an organization by just working on one or few
aspects and expect success. Even, todays success factors may prove futile just
years after. In this fast-changing world, only thing that can somewhat guarantee a
company to survive though competitions and consumerism, is undoubtedly by
adopting the concept of becoming a learning organization.

A very popular saying in telecom industry is that: change has already happened
yesterday. This one sentence very efficiently depicts the very nature of telecom
industry. Being heavily technology-dependent, the companies always have to be
alert and spontaneous to address and incorporate any probable change in the field
they operate be it product, service, process, control, compliance or people. So
regular learning, training and development programs are integral part of any of the
telecom companies. In this report, we have taken Robi Axiata Ltd. as our chosen
organization to study the theoretical knowledge acquired from this course on
Learning Organization by going through the learning process and culture of this
organization in practice.

1.1 Objectives:

Primary:

The primary objective is to fulfill the course requirement for the Training and
Development course (H 610), conducted by Adjunct Faculty Mrs. Fatima Rizwana.
Secondary:

The secondary objectives are:

To study the characteristics of Learning Organization


To obtain thorough knowledge about the application of the features of Learning
Organization in an organization.
To explore how Robi incorporates 6D in its learning process.

1.2 What is learning organization?

The concept of Learning Organization was developed through the work and research
of Peter Senge and his colleagues.

A learning organization is the business term given to a company


that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously
transforms itself.

It describes an organization with an ideal learning environment, perfectly in tune


with the organization's goals. Such an organization is a place where people
continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new
and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set
free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole (reality) together.
(Senge 1992).

1.3 Methodology

Primary Sources:
The interviews have been qualitative in nature with structured questionnaires. The
interviews are mainly paper-assisted (PAPI). The following have been the key
interviewed personnel:

Robi HR Department Officials (2 Interviews)


Current Robi Employees (2 Interviews)
Ex-Robi Employees (2 Interviews)
Secondary Sources:

Secondary sources such as websites and social media have been skimmed for
insights as well. Specifically, key platforms such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn have
also been used as sources for insights from different stakeholders of the
organization.

1.4 Rationale for choosing Robi as the Learning Organization:

Given the objective to provide insights about a learning organization, we have


chosen to look into Robi due to the following rationales:

i. Robi was initially a local organization (Aktel) that was later acquired by a
multinational company, so the learning transformation has been significant.
Hence, Robi has had to shift its gear when it comes to learning as an
organization. New standards and practices were introduced which had to be
absorbed into an organizations with a rejuvenated identity.

ii. Robi has recently gone through a merger process as well, which has created a
broad scope to amalgamate the learning scenario for stakeholders of both the
companies. These changes are very unique not only in the tele-
communication industry, but in the corporate sector of Bangladesh as a
whole. By looking into Robi, we could gain practical learning whether the
company has succeeded to be a learning organization during these changes
and if yes, then how.

iii. The management emphasizes on continuous learning and development of its


employees from top to root level and conducts training on regular basis to
improve performance in every relevant aspects (product knowledge,
leadership skill, team management, personal development, skill
enhancement etc). All of these could be looked into and comparisons could
be drawn with other tele-communication organizations.

1.5 Limitations
i. The concept of Learning Organization being comparatively new in
Bangladesh, no such background data could be found available in secondary
sources for Bangladeshi organizations
ii. Intra-Industry comparison could not be done since we could only cover the
organization taken into consideration for the practical knowledge
iii. We could not gain hands-on experience for the implementation of Learning
Organization characteristics, we had to rely on the interviewees for this
purpose.

2.0 Literature Review

The telecom giants of Bangladesh are only recently opening up to the importance of
building a learning organization. While many globally established human resource
practices have already been adopted by these organizations in the past, the
importance of building an in-house knowledge based working culture is fairly
unpracticed. Nevertheless, the art of transferring knowledge through trainings and
manuscripts had already been existent in the contemporary human resource
culture. What was missing was an intrinsic need to retain the existing knowledge,
and inculcate its utility into the human resource system. What is also absent is the
presence of a learning ecosystem, where creating, transferring and retaining
knowledge are systematically imbedded.

Among the telecom operators, Robi Axiata maintains its place as a thriving learning
organization. Its efforts to create transfer and retain knowledge manifest in its
learning culture. The Assessment of training process of Robi Axiata Ltd., gives an
idea of its products/services, culture, beliefs, CSR activities etc. Inherent with its
practices is the need to upgrade the quality of its human resources to uphold its
position as a top telecom operator. The following reviews of the literature on Robi
Axiatas training process would provide a good idea on the study done relating to
our subject.
Assessment of the training process of Robi Axiata Limited, February
2014.

In this report, training and development is defined as a subsystem of an


organization which ensures that randomness is reduced and learning or behavioral
change takes place in structured format. Training and development in the
organization is considered important for the reasons listed below:

Development of Human Resources: Training and Development helps to


provide an opportunity and broad structure for the development of human
resources technical and behavioral skills in an organization. It also helps the
employees in attaining personal growth
Development of skills of employees: Training and Development helps in
increasing the job knowledge and skills of employees at each level. It helps to
expand the horizons of human intellect and an overall personality of the
employees.
Productivity: Training and Development helps in increasing the productivity of
the employees that helps the organization further to achieve its long-term
goal.
Team spirit: Training and Development helps in inculcating the sense of team
work team spirit, and inter team collaborations. It helps in inculcating the zeal
to learn within the employees.
Organization Climate: Training and Development helps building the positive
perception and feeling about the organization. The employees get these
feelings from leaders, subordinates, and peers.

The report further moves into the assessment of the training process at Robi.
This part of the report deals with several parts of the training process including
the Training calendar, Training Programs, Training Need Analysis, Training Design
and Training evaluation.

Training Calendar: The training calendar is an annual schedule of the trainings


slated to take place. It is an important plan which the HRD develops after need
analysis and personal assessment. Such an arrangement allows the HRD to
schedule, plan and organize the training to take place. The training calendar
consist the name of the training, training from which department, who will be
directing the training, participants of the training, where the training should held
and the time.

Training Programs: All the training programs of ROBI AXIATA LTD. are generally
divided into two types; Leadership training and Functional training.

Leadership training: Leadership trainings are such type of trainings


designed to develop the leadership skills of the employees. Employees
from all departments and all designations are allowed to do these types of
trainings. Name of some leadership trainings are, Business communication
training, Problem solving decision making, Project management, Coaching
for excellence, Business English, Situational leadership, Time and stress
management etc. Each of the training has a relevant competency
development like Business communication is relevant with building the
competency of Business Acumen, Project management is for result
achievement, Time management for Personal attribute etc.
Functional Training: Functional Trainings are types of trainings that are
designed to help employees to deal with their day to day functions. These
trainings are most of the times designed for Employees of a specific
department. Most of the functional trainings such as, Oracle Data guard
training, 3g Overview training, Ip network Barrier training, Huwai interface
training etc are for the employees of technology department. There is
another functional training named Success through distributors, this
training is mainly for the Area manager of Sales division. But some
Functional training is open for employees of all departments such as,
Training of power point, Training on Excel etc.

Other than the trainings mentioned every year a number of employees are
sent for overseas trainings. Top level manager, vice president are allowed to
participate in the Annual Axiata training held in Malaysia. Employees from
technology department are sent to Malaysia, Korea and China for Advanced
training in possible new technologies.

Training Need Analysis: Training need analysis is done through:


Organizational Analysis: ROBI AXIATA LTD. does their organizational
analysis once in a year with the top level management only. They look
throughout the organizations environment and find the influences
which affect the employees performance.
Operational analysis: Also known as the job/task analysis. It includes
Job Identification, Job Summary, Responsibilities & duties, Authority of
incumbent, at the same time his immediate supervisors post and
immediate subordinates post, the working condition that they provide
for the job, Standards of performance.
Person Analysis: Finally the person analysis shows who is the most
active and filled up with KSAs and who are required KSAs for their job.
This analysis is also known as the performance appraisal of the
employees. Robi uses two methods for appraising employees, the
Graphic Rating Scale Method, for all employees, and the 360 o feedback
process, for managerial level employees only.

Training Design: The training program of the company is likely to change. The
company never always maintains the same techniques while designing their
training programs. But they do know why their training programs are being changed
and why. While designing their training programs the Company usually follows some
steps. They are given below.

Step 1 Analyzing: This includes, Identifying Training Needs, Cost


Analysis and Determining Learning Objectives,
Step 2 Making Decisions: This step answers the important questions,
What Methods of Training to Use? How Much Time to Allocate for the
Training? How Many Trainees to Train at the Same Time? Different
Training for Managers and Subordinates? The Appropriate Locations for
the Trainings
Step 3 Developing training objectives: While developing the objectives
they generally consider some issues. Those are: The present level of
performance, the desired level of performance and the benefits of the
success of the training.
Step 4 Execution: This is the final step where company executes all the
earlier stages and brings them into action. After this step the Company
finally comes up with a training design program.

Training evaluation: Before assigning employees for training, the company creates
some expectations from the employees and then they analyze the performances of
those employees. After analyzing they try to find the gaps from the performances
compared to the expectations. And based on those gaps company starts planning
the training needs for employees. It also helps the company to make a forecast of
their future training planning. During many workshops the company also gets to
know how well aware their workers have become considering their participations. In
the Eco seminar the company gets to know how much their employees have
learned from the training since in the Eco seminar the trained workers from abroad
shares their knowledges with other employees. Since these abroad trainings are
very expensive, therefore the company shows a lot of interests in evaluating the
trainees. Feedback is also collected from the participants, through feedback form. In
the form 17 characteristics of the training are mentioned and participants mark
each of them in a scale of 5.

Employee Training and Development Practice of Robi Axiata Ltd.


September 2015

This report is built on the study done in the Assessment of the training process of
Robi Axiata Limited, February 2014 report. In this report, information regarding the
training process is collected through primary sources. This information provides key
insight to the learning methods of Robi.

The initial information from the study reveals that most of the employees are well
versed with the HR practices of their organization. They are all aware of their HR
planning about training and development procedure which has been talked in the
Training Manual. Additionally, from the given information it suggests that most of
the employees (from officers to top) are well aware that they have job analysis
process. This is also good for the organization. Here two major things are
uncovered; firstly, they have job analysis process and secondly most of the
employees are informed about the matter If each employee knows that what the
minimum competency is required for his post and what are the duties and
responsibilities for his then he/she will be able to achieve the organizational goal.

The importance of helping the newcomers with the training is also a key finding. An
orientation program helps an employee to understand basic matters, know
organizational culture, to be familiarized with the colleagues and to avoid first-day
jitters. A new person feels welcome and at ease and the orientation also makes the
person knowledgeable about rules and regulations which prevent them from making
time-consuming and dangerous errors.

Furthermore, the study uncovers that training needs are identified through training
need assessment. Consultants, trainers and the HR department along with
employees participate in the assessment of training needs. As they have job related
all information from Job Analysis according to which they conduct recruitment and
induction training. But yet every employees need to be updated for various reason.
Robi HR department conducts this assessment once in a year. The consultants along
with the HR department survey the current job statement identify lacking and show
the management where training is needed. Individual interviews and opinion
surveys beside performance appraisal are some of the methods used to identify the
training needs in the organization.

The training methods used include on job training along with classroom lectures and
audio visual based training. Classroom lectures has several advantages. Its a quick
and simple way to provide knowledge to large groups of trainees. Audiovisual based
training techniques like films, power points, video conferencing, audiotapes and
videotapes more expensive than conventional lectures but offer some advantages
like keeping the learner interested.

The report mentions that Robi invests in personal attitude development, to focus in
developing the soft skills of the employees. In this area, training includes training on
discipline and grievance, conflict avoiding or ways to adjust with organizations
culture etc.

Trainers are selected from internal and external sources based on a set of
parameters. The most important parameter for selection of trainers is to be highly
experienced on relevant matter and a solid hand on expertise. Another two points
have also been mentioned, those are high educational qualification and good
communication capability. After the training, evaluation takes place with respect to
both the trainer and the quality of training imparted. The output of the evaluation
feeds into future training designs and methods.

This study now moves to assess the most important part of this report. This part
seeks to find out whether the knowledge gained from the training process is
inculcated into the work processes. This is done mainly through observation and
monitoring. HR department is monitoring and evaluating the yearly appraisal by
consulting the related departmental heads. That means the company emphasizes
on monitoring and thus they will be able to bring correction in their training process.
The study also reveals training is very important to increase ones motivation level
and enable to be more productive. Training helps employees to perform better and
add value to them, make them able to work more efficiently. In this way motivation
level rises and productivity increases.

Robi tries to make skill transfer easy to keep the trainees motivated. According to
the data revealed the company provides adequate realistic practices for the
trainees. The HR department can take several steps to increase the trainees
motivation to learn. Providing opportunities for active practice and letting the
trainee make errors and explore alternate solutions improves motivation and
learning. Feedback including periodic performance assessments and more frequent
virtual critiques is also important. The department should also make the matter
meaningful.
3.0 Robi Axiata Ltd: At A Glance

The company commenced operation in 1997 as Telekom Malaysia International


(Bangladesh) with the brand name Aktel. In 2010 the company was rebranded to
Robi and the company changed its name to Robi Axiata Limited. Next, on
November 16, 2016 - the first merger of Bangladeshs telecom sector came into
effect with the beginning of the operation of Robi Axiata Limited as the merged
company of Robi and Airtel.

At present, Robi Axiata Limited is the second largest mobile phone operator of
Bangladesh and the first operator to introduce GPRS and 3.5G services in the
country. It is a joint venture between Axiata Group Berhad of Malaysia (68.7%
controlling stake), Bharti Airtel Limited of India (25%) and NTT DoCoMo Inc., of Japan
(6.3%).

The company has introduced many first of its kind digital services in the country
and has invested heavily in taking mobile financial services to the underserved
communities in the rural and semi-urban areas.

Supported by a strong corporate governance framework its employees approach


every challenge with I can, I will attitude and uncompromising integrity while
putting customer at the center of all its activities.

Robi is the proud sponsor of the Bangladesh National Cricket team with the aim to
ignite indomitable spirit in pursuit of individual and collective glory and excellence.
This strong brand message has made Robi synonymous with the passion of the
aspirational people and the company humbly honors this popular notion with quality
mobile telecommunication services for empowering people.

In the evolving digital landscape of the country, Robi has established itself as the
leader in providing customer centric data and digital services. As part of the
companys commitment to build digital bridges, Robi has introduced Facebooks
basic internet platform Free Basics in the country. Besides, it promotes responsible
use of internet among the youth with a Corporate Responsibility initiative named
Internet4U.

Catering to all the consumer segments, the company constantly innovates to have
an edge over its competitors. Robi proudly claims to have the widest international
roaming service in the market, connecting 385 operators across more than 140
countries. With innovative Value Added Services (VAS) Robi has enhanced peoples
life experience, be it entertainment, education, health, agriculture or any other
aspect of human life.

Its ticketing platform Bdtickets brings utmost convenience in the way people buy
bus, launch and movie tickets. Besides, its utility bill payment solution continues to
provide digital bill payment facility to the clients of Bangladesh Power Development
Board for paying their monthly electricity bills.

Robi, as a socially responsible brand, has taken up a number of flagship Corporate


Responsibility initiatives in the areas of ICT-Education, Health and Environment with
a view to contribute towards the sustainable development of the country. The
company has extended support towards the countrys largest digital education
platform, 10 Minute School. More than 179,000 students have already subscribed to
the digital school while 55,000 students from all over the country are now active
members of the live class group that is broadcast using Facebook live feature.

Robi established the countrys first e-library in Dhaka University connecting the
largest University of the country with over 35 overseas universities and
international publishers providing free access to e-books, scientific journals and
research papers for the students and teachers.

The company has recently launched Digital Smart Buses under a 3-year project in
partnership with Huwaei and ICT Division of the Government of Bangladesh where 6
buses will be used to provide basic ICT training to 240,000 young and talented
women across 64 districts of the country. The company has also set up internet
corner in all the divisional public libraries and in a number of key regional press
clubs around the country providing vital access to information.

4.0 Training and Development Practices in Robi


Axiata Ltd.

Robi Axiata Ltd. is an organization that creates, transfers and shares


knowledge and modifies its behavior to reflect the new knowledge and
insights. Thus we can call it a learning organization. Robi understands that
continuous improvement requires a commitment to learning. For Robi the
purpose of training is to ensure that randomness is reduced and learning or
behavioral change takes.

When recruiting, in an employee Robi Axiata Ltd. seeks the required skillsets
and how the skillsets are delivered. Robi Axiata Ltd. acknowledges that
performance varies among the people who have the same skill set and that
the cognitive learning process is different from employee to employee.

Robi understands that employees have a need to acquire new skills as a


unique set of skills add more to employability. To help employees acquire
new skills to accomplish their professional tasks and fulfill individual goals
Robi Axiata Ltd. arranges training sessions on a regular basis. One example
of such a training that not only contributes to a more efficient way of
achieving organizational goals but also helps employees manage their
personal lives is a training on Getting things done. One of the teaching in
this training was to create and maintain a list consisting of their personal and
official tasks and carry it all the time. The employees for whom it was very
difficult to manage both personal and professional life found the training very
useful. It became easier for them to manage and complete those tasks on
time and maintain a work life balance.

5.0 Robi Axiata Ltd: A Learning Organizations

In this section of the report, Robi is studied in light of the characteristics of Learning
Organization to relate its aspects with the theory:

Systems Thinking:

The importance of systems thinking is well recognized by the human resource


department of Robi. However, the difficulty of instilling it into the working culture of
the organization is also recognized. In many cases, efforts have been made to
implant the culture of working in systems. The Human resource department has
made several efforts to train the personnel on thinking their work as a related part
of a bigger system. However, in an organization like Robi, that is driven by targets
and KPIs, instilling the philosophy of systems thinking becomes a long shot. In
certain corporate settings, where the core deliverables of a person or a department
are at stake, the personnel often start thinking their deliverables in an isolated
system.

Personal Mastery:

An important part of Robis organizational goals remain to enhance personal


mastery in not only their top performers, but also amongst its average employee.
While Robi values its top performers profoundly, it keeps a close eye on its average
performers who form a majority of the organizations human resource. Robi
understands that its organizational performance in the long run will be determined
by not only its top performers, but its average performers as well. Henceforth, it is
impertinent for the company to pay special attention to the needs of a large
majority of its core employees. It is also important to ensure that this average
performing majority maintain their aspirational hopes, and envisage their career
path in the organization in the long term.

Mental Models:

Like any other organization, personnel in Robi have some rigid mental models,
many of which are susceptible to to lead us to biased insights about people or
events. The human resource department of the company understands the
importance of identifying and changing these models to attain organizational
objectives. Such application though requires a strong backing from top
management. In several cases, such biases exist within the members of the top
management. In such cases, for Robi to remain successful, it is important for the
human resource to sit with the top management and engage in self-introspection
that can lead to tough and less popular decisions.

Building shared vision:


Robis vision is to be the no 1 telecom operator company, through not only market
share, but also through being the employer of choice. Its up to date knowledge and
state of art products are geared to address the ever changing needs of our budding
nation. This is not only their vision statement; it is the goal that every single
individual of the company strives to work towards. The objective is to hire not the
best, but the right individual, so that they not only have our needs catered to, but
also give the incumbent an opportunity to realize their potential and aspiration.
Such is their fervor of the top management towards their vision, that they have
painted the picture of their future success to the employees through copious
channels of communication.

Team learning:

The significance of accomplishing team success is recognized by Robi as most of the


organization works in an interlinked team structure. Hence, the human resource
function takes special care into training its personnel into working in teams.
Through these trainings, the HR seeks to introduce the personnel of the company to
the main factors that are responsible for team success. Here, dialogue is
encouraged amongst managers of different ranks. The idea is to make them
understand that winning together as a team is more important, than standing out.
Here, factors that can undermine learning are also discussed within teams, so that
during real work scenarios, the teams can overcome these hurdles.

To further understand the learning environment of Robi, we would look at the


learning practices of the organization in light of 6Ds.

6.0 Turning Learning into Business Results: 6Ds

Robi Axiata Ltd. understands that effective learning initiatives are result of a
disciplined and systematic process executed with passion, excellence and a
commitment to continuous improvement. Development entails a series of
training, education and experiential opportunities over time to help
individuals achieve their full potential. Robi Axiata Ltd. realizes the
significance of Moment of Truth, when an employee decides how to
perform a task. Which path an employee chooses depends on the answers to
two critical questions: Can I do it the new way? and Will I make the
effort? It makes no difference how much an employee learned or how the
knowledge was obtained; unless he or she answers Yes, I can and Yes, I
will at the moment of truth, the learning adds no value to the organization.
The objective of the companies learning initiative is that the learning needs
to be conceived, designed, and delivered in the right way, at the right time,
to the right audience, in a conducive work environment to ensure that both
the Can I? and Will I? questions are answered in the affirmative.
Otherwise, the effort is a failure and the investment is wasted.

To ensure that the learnings are applied by the employees in the moment of
truth, Robi Axiata Ltd. takes the following initiatives for enhanced learning:

6.1 Define

Robi Axiata Ltd. always start with defining business objectives. Purpose of
the training and the outcomes from the trainings are informed to the
employees through emails and sometimes in the meetings. Knowing that
features tell, benefits sell, Robi clearly communicates the benefits from the
trainings to the employees through emails to grab their interest. The purpose
of defining is to communicate the following information:

The present level of performance

The desired level of performance. What the participants are expected to


do differently are described.
The benefits of the success of the training and the answer to the question
WIIFM or Whats In It For Me?

Interviewees responded that, in Robi, this phase normally starts and keeps
ongoing with several warm-up and introductory mails from Management
Committee members. They convey the background, necessity and brief
premises of the objectives. These preparation goes a long way to align and
aware the workforce to work towards the objective collectively. It can be an
organizational change, adopting a new policy, initiating a new process or
launching new product or service. When the message comes from senior
MANCO members directly, the importance and significance of such messages
are well-absorbed and well-perceived.

Even before beginning any kind of learning/training workshop, the moderator


breaks the ground by asking, what we are currently doing, why/how we
are doing it, how it can be done better etc to get the views and
perceptions of the participants so that by discussing and analyzing those, all
of them can come to a common ground and from there, the objectives can
be established and then the learning/training can proceed forward targeting
that definite goal to fulfill the objectives.

This phase often starts with these ending notes in mind:

1. What business need will be met?


2. What will participants do better and differently?
3. What or who could confirm these changes?
4. What are the specific criteria of success?

6.2 Design

Designing the orientation, training and development materials is a major function of


the HR of Robi Axiata Ltd. A need assessment is done to plan and manage transfer
process. When employees feels that they need a training they communicate the
need and ask for approval from the supervisor and then from HR. On the other hand
if the supervisor feels a particular employee needs any particular training, s/he can
recommend the name. Also through KPIs HR gets to know about the aspirations of
the employees and what exactly they want.

The training programs change according to the change in needs overtime. But the
company distinguishes the reasons behind the change. At first the company analyze
the needs of training for the employees. To do that they look at the performance
gaps of the employees which results in the failures of efficient and effective
performances by the employees. After identifying the problems they try to figure
out appropriate training programs to be provided to fill the gaps.

Then the company moves on to making a forecast of the cost that might occur to
carry out the training programs. In general, only 5-8% of the total budget is
allocated for trainings. Then the company decides on the methods to use, how
much time to allocate for training, how many trainees to train at a time etc. The
final step is coming up with a training design program.

Robi believes that learning is a process, not an event. What happens before and
after training is as important as the training itself. The critical link between the
learning event and improved performance is learning transfer. The complete
learning experience includes all four phases of learning, which are:

a. Preparation (pre-work, experience, etc.)


b. Learning (Instruction / coursework)
c. Learning transfer (Application to work)
d. Achieve (a sense of accomplishment)

The learners complete experience starts even before the pre-work and continues
long after the instruction, back on the job. To maximize impact, Robi as a learning
organization plans and positively influences the total experience, not just what
happens in the training room (actual or virtual).
6.3 Deliver

This phase is essential to ensure guided learning trainings are given on


related fields. Therefore, participants easily understand the relevance and
utility of what they are being asked to learn. All the employees are given
enough time to practice what they have learned from training by allowing
them to work on that particular fields. If they fail after enough time, they are
sent for the same training again. To engage the employees videos are shown,
role plays, and team exercises are done so that they can remember it easily.

Delivering for
Results helps build
a bridge between
Learning and
Doing that
accelerates the
passage from
current level to

Robi strongly relies on the fact that instructional methods impact transfer
success. They understand that delivery influences both Can I? and Will I?
and thus, active learning, practice and feedback are essential. Training
designers tend to avoid conveying too much information at one go.

Can I?Did the training actually teach me how?

Will I?Am I motivate to make the effort because I understand


relevance and utility?

Robi heavily emphasizes and monitors on how the training is delivered (D3)
since it impacts the learners response to both the Can I? and the Will I?
questions. Robi understands from its own experience that content covered is
not content learned.
Robi puts so much belief and significance over this phase that Can I, Will I?
is one of the three (3) qualitative KPIs for each member of the workforce.

6.4 Drive

To make sure that learning is transferred into action, a system for


accountability is established through this phase. Higher targets, target floor
and ceilings are given, and it is checked if they can meet the target after the
trainings. Changes in performance are observed. If employees fail to show
the improved performance, they are given further training in differentiated
and modified forms.

Robi realizes that great learning is essential, but not sufficient and both great
learning and effective transfer are crucial. And thus, transfer must not be left
to chance. No transfer is synonymous to no results and to a business - that
means that the training and learning has failed, which is costly in terms of:
time, materials and opportunity cost.

reminde
content
r

reflectio
collaboration Steps of Drive
n

accountabili
coaching
ty

6.5 Deploy
Job aids and performance support are provided according to the need of the
employees to improve existing structures, build new functionalities and
create leverage. The answer to Can I do it comes from the training session,
and Will I do it comes from the ability to relate to the situation which is
influenced by providing the right reason. Environmental factors that hinder
performance are removed and checklist, video and illustrations, coaching
etc. are provided.

Performance support is specifically crucial when applying new skills. Support


helps learners answer the Can I? question to increase learning transfer and
business value. Performance support is an integral part of every program
design in Robi. The goal of performance support is to ensure everyone does
the right thing every time (consistently).

Four key attributes of effective performance support are:

1. Available (when and where needed)


2. Concise (provides just enough information)
3. Practical
4. Clear and easy to understand

Robi gives utmost effort to make sure that managers have the knowledge
and tools they need to reinforce training on the job. Robi also increases
managerial support for training by providing short, practical, specific
guidelines and instructions for post training follow-up.

6. Document:

Robi Axiata Ltd. puts significant emphasis on the documentation of the


trainings. They follow all the standard rules and regulations. After the
training sessions the gap between the employees expectation from the
intervention and the reality is documented. This is done through the use of
feedback forms or evaluation sheets. By the use of these instruments, Robi is
able to evaluate whether its training was imparted as the HR had intended or
not. This helps the company to make a forecast of their future training
planning. The results of the evaluation also help make major decisions in the
future such as, whether to bring any change in the training process or to
move with a new trainer etc. During many workshops the company also gets
to know how well aware their workers have become after participating in
trainings. As the trainings held outside the country are very expensive, the
company intensively evaluates the trainees, comparing their post training
performance to the pre-training performance.

Robi believes that training is an investment that must create value.


Therefore, evaluation is essential to asses Robis each and every trainings
value to improve future offerings. The measurement criteria are: relevant,
credible and compelling. And also these lead to the final questions: are
people performing better? Is Robi performing better?

7.0 From Local entity to MNC: A Learning


Organization on its Rise

In September 2008, NTT DOCOMO acquired 30 per cent stake in TM International


(Bangladesh) Limited , known as Aktel, by directly acquiring all stocks in TMIB held
by AK Khan Co Ltd at a cost of $350 million. The rest of the 70% was still held by
Telekom Malaysia. This changed scenario gave Robi access to the international
expertise of Axiata and NTT DOCOMO INC. However, such a drastic change in the
backdrop is not without its threats. Thus such a situation needed to be managed
judiciously to ensure a smooth transition. How the organization managed the
transition in light of the five learning organization characteristics will provide an
insight into the learning culture of Robi Axiata ltd.

Learning
Organizati How Robi Axiata coped after the acquisition of Aktel by
on Docomo
Characteri
stics
It is important to note that during the acquisition by Docomo,
Aktel was in financial loss. Hence, after the acquisition, it was
important for the organization to use this opportunity to
foresee how this acquisition can impact the newly formed Robi
Systems
thinking
in the future. They realized that merger with the Japanese
Docomo offered several operational and strategic advantage,
that they could use to revive the company and its new brand.
Rather than looking at individual functions, the need of the
time was to look at the acquisition from systems perspective.
They identified the opportunities that this acquisition
provided, and utilized it to recuperate Robi from its preceding
impasse.
The negative effect of such acquisition is that it sometimes
sows the seeds of suspicion amongst the company personnel.
This can result in distraction amongst employees from their
personal vision and aspirations. Thus Robi acted quickly to

Personal
clear the air about the doubts that the company personnel
mastery had in their minds. Furthermore, the organization was quick to
address its support to people for personal growth and
mastery. It was at this point of time that Robi Axiata
engrossed into developing its human resources to build a
prodigious talent packed organization.

The parting of the local Aktel and the assimilation of the two
MNCs created uncertainties within the organizations
employees. Initially, the seismic change created confusion as
to which way the organization will head in the future. This
incertitude gave birth to numerous preconceived mental
models. Employees held on to certain unfounded beliefs.
These ranged from the forthcoming changes in their work
culture to job security. Consequently, the human resource
function of Robi Axiata had their work cut out. There was a
pressing need to get the people onboard. Thus the task of
Mental
Models
addressing such mental models of the employees was of
paramount importance. The human resource function took this
as an opening to pitch for the acceptance of the new model of
management and governance that was to follow. The human
resource function astutely pointed out the shortcomings of the
previous administration, and how it had confined the progress
of the organization and its employees as a whole. It further
went on to promote the benefits that the newly integrated
Robi Axiata would bring to the employees. As a consequence
of their efforts, the company personnel gradually started to
ditch their earlier mental models and subscribed to the new
narrative of an optimistic new Robi Axiata Ltd.
To reinforce this narrative, it was important to build a vision,
not merely in name but also in spirit. The top management
and HRD were aware of the fact that their efforts to achieve a
successful assimilation of the two companies would remain

Shared
incomplete if the employees did not buy into the vision. As a
vision consequence, when the vision was formed, the top
management was quick to relate as to how it will impact the
individual functions. When company visions are related with
individual goals, the acceptance of such in lower levels is
greater. This propels the organization towards success.
For Robi Axiata ltd, the change from Aktel to Robi was much
Team more than a mere name change. While it was perceived as a
learning
mere brand change in the eyes of the public, the company
was set for a major overhaul. The integration of the practices
of Robi Axiata along with Docomo, the company that had
purchased stake in Robi, created a new assimilated identity
for Robi. The blend of the diverse cultures of the Malaysian
and Japanese MNCs created a unique culture for Robi. It
imbibed many of the qualities of its parent organizations while
discharging others. The result was most noticeable in its effort
to develop the performance of teams working together. The
HRD of the new unit pushed a lot of effort into building
dynamic cross functional teams. The idea was to create a
synergy amongst different cross functional units through
deliberate professional collaborations. New trainings were
designed to limiting arguments and promoting discourse. The
idea was for each functional unit to help out other functional
units for the benefit of the team. Due credit was reserved for
excelling in team works while acclaim for individual glory was
curbed. This was the building blocks for team learning in Robi.
It created an environment where team building and team
learning flourished and the organization started working in
teams.

8.0 Integrating Merger Scenario as a Learning


Organization:

The first merger in the history of telecom industry of Bangladesh took place in 2016.
While the merger is expected to strengthen the long-term sustainability of the
telecom landscape of Bangladesh and secure faster nationwide rollout of mobile
broadband as well as contribute significantly to the overall economy, it has another
significant impact in terms of operational aspect. Once the consolidation process
started, more than 200 executives of Airtel joined Robi, while around 137 left under
a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS).

Here we have made an attempt to list down a few of the change-incorporating


efforts made by the MergedCo as a Learning Organization and also to remain as a
Learning Organization:

Learning
Organizati How MergedCo Coped with the characteristic
on
Characteri
stics

The management could see the big picture the potential that the
MergedCo. holds and the revolution it can bring to the telco industry
of Bangladesh. But the main challenge has been to extricate
Systems outlines instead of hypothesizing change as secluded events. A few
thinking
paradigm shift have been integral - from being isolated to being
inter-connected to the entire concept; from stating the enemy is
out there to a consciousness that how we operate, our actions
- can create difficulties on our way to success.

MergedCo., like any other learning organization got this this


message loud and clear that, it can gain significant competitive
advantage over competitors if its workforce, who happen to come
from diverse background, work-culture and organizational system -
Personal
can learn more quickly than the workforce of other organizations.
mastery
Theoretically, individual learning is acquired through training,
development and constant self-improvement. However, being
receptive and committed to learning are the pre-requisites as
learning cannot be forced upon an individual. Since most learning in
the workplace is incidental, rather than the product of formal
training, therefore MergedCo has been giving utmost importance
and focus to develop a work culture where personal mastery is
practised in everyday work life and also, individual learning to be
transferred into organizational learning.

To remain as a learning organization, MergedCo. has been working


relentlessly to continuously challenge the mental models at both
individual and team level, and this can be regarded as one of the
hardest hurdle to overcome in the merger event. At an
organizational level, each and every staff has 'memories' which
preserved certain behaviors, norms and values nurtured in their
own parent organizations. In MergedCo., a lot of those pre-
conceived Mental Models had to be penetrated through to instill the
new belief and learning. The Airtel members, being the
transferred ones in new set-up, building, process felt more like
Mental
Models outsider or unwelcomed ones, though the real scenario may not be
at all like this. The existing Robi members felt threatened by new
joiners, that their job may get snatched though there have been
no such consequences till date.

For creating and maintaining a refreshed learning environment, it


has been vital to substitute antagonistic approaches with an open
atmosphere that promotes confidence and conviction. To attain this,
the MergedCo. put in place mechanisms for identifying and
assessing the major mental blockheads. Undesirable values were
required to be eliminated through unlearning, else the new learning
could not enter the mind or brain of the receivers of either entity.

The idea of a shared vision [together we are building #1 network]


has been crucial in encouraging the workforce to learn, as it created
an amalgamated identity that provided focus and dynamism for
learning in the MergedCo. Since it has been a proven fact that most
Shared
successful visions are built on individual visions of the employees at
vision
all levels of the organization, so there has always been this
possibility of the creation of a shared vision which could be
threatened by traditional structures of the two stakeholder entities
who have been competitors in immediate past.

Team Airtel members have been placed in team-works with existing Robi
learning members in project-works on a variety of cross-functional projects.
The aim was to benefit from team or shared learning so that staff
members of two different culture and work pattern bond and align
more quickly and the overall capacity of the MergedCo. gets
improved through better access to knowledge and
talent. MergedCo. Has developed structures that facilitate team
learning with features such as boundary crossing and openness, by
engaging individuals in dialogue and conversation. Through these
team-works, team members are being able to develop open
communication, collective implication and mutual understanding.
MergedCo. Is trying its utmost to nurture uninterrupted knowledge
management structures - allowing creation, acquirement,
dissemination and execution of this knowledge in the organization.
9.0 Conclusion: