Maybe stories are just data with a soul.
~Brene Brown
~Brene Brown

T & D CASE

A large telecom operator realizes that one of its high potential regions is not showing growth in sales or improved customer ratings …the company is losing to its competitors despite  better  technology  and established brand image .. the COO feels that employee training is the answer to gaining its position in the market …what approach does the training manager adopt to deal with this?

By Harish Raichandani*

Satak Telecommunications Ltd (STL), a telecom operator for past 7 yrs, having a almost national foot-print (about 75% of coverage in country) - offers both fixed line and mobile telecom services. It is divided into 10 regions with HQ in Delhi.

Each region has its own peculiar issues & market reality (including difference in competitor profile – nos. as well as players).  Each region has a self-contained organization structure for Operations (which include Sales, Switching & Network, Customer Care and Installation & Maintenance). However, support functions (viz. HR, Finance, Marketing, Training and Quality Assurance) have matrix organization structure with these functional managers having dual relationship – one reporting into the region and the other into respective functions at Corporate HQ Delhi.  A typical region has about 450 employees.

Region-VI is the 2nd largest region within STL.  It’s market-share position is no.4. It has 460 employees of which about 140 are Sales & Channel management, 85 in Installation & Maintenance, 110 in Customer Care and 95 in Switching & Network.

Competitors for Region-VI are growing at a rate faster rate than STL. Despite the best efforts the customer satisfaction ratings and sales do not indicate any improvement for over six months.

Like all other regions the training team of Region-VI is responsible for all the Operations training except on areas such as Leadership and Sr. Managerial interventions; which are focused upon by the HQ Training team. The training team follows the standard programs) rolled out nationally by the HQ team (based on best practice propagation approach).

The Training calendar firmed up quarterly in advance is adhered to the extent of more than 85% (including participation of target population).  While participant feedback has not changed significantly over 2 yrs the feedback from operating managers (with regard to efficacy of training programs has dipped considerably.

The Chief Operating Officer of Region-VI is convinced that effective employee Training is an answer to gaining market-share; for, the technology deployed by STL is superior to competition, customers perception of the SATAK brand, the STL’s parent SATAK group has risen over recent years.  The training budget is approved annually by HQ (last year it was pegged at 5% of employee cost), COO calls the training manager (you) and asks for a revised approach to training employees; further he mentions ‘don’t be constrained by the existing budgets, budgets wont be constrain for the right mix of training initiatives’.

* Case conceptualized by Namita Venkatraman, formerly with Titan
* Harish Raichandani, CEO potentia & Consultant Tata Chemicals (2007)