Bridging purpose, learning, and business impact via ‘Learn for a Cause’

November 14, 2021 | Activate Learning | 3 min read

Over the last eighteen months, businesses have navigated a tough business climate, while also traversing social challenges. As the pandemic left a lasting trail of turmoil at the workplace, it also introduced many socio-economic problems to address.

In India, despite the huge push towards digital learning at the primary and secondary school level, it is estimated that only one third of India’s school children were pursuing online education and an even smaller cohort were engaged in live classes. Even worse, the pandemic induced disruption in the country’s food security system putting millions of children at risk for calorie deficit. Organizations simply couldn’t ignore the broader life challenges happening to families they employed.

As companies encouraged employee volunteer efforts, one of the most compelling ways to engage employees became supporting community-based impact programs.

Purpose led learning

‘Learn for a Cause’ was a unique, first-of-its-kind, purpose driven learning initiative that had a unique proposition for participants. By completing courses on the Percipio platform, they could give back to charities that worked toward battling hunger and improving access to education. And this program was open to companies across sectors.

The program envisioned by People Matters and Skillsoft was delivered in partnership with the help of two charities – Akshay Patra, one of the world’s largest NGO-directed school meal programs and Concern India Foundation, which extends financial, and non-financial support to grassroots NGOs working in the area of education.

“Most learning initiatives tend to focus on the impact on the individual and thereby impacting the workplace culture and the business. But the pandemic helped rethink the impact that we could have on the larger community, and that’s the vision that fuelled ‘Learn for a Cause’” said Kamal Dutta, Managing Director India, Skillsoft

“People inherently want to contribute to the society, and this was a great opportunity for employees to engage in this activity to give back,” said Kedar Vashi, Director- Talent, L&D, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, one of the companies that participated in this initiative.

This initiative saw 10,192 hours of learning being completed by learners from 17 organizations using the Skillsoft Percipio platform. There were about 4,390 active users who accessed 3,011 content courses, averaging 3.3 learning hours spent in the content, and 5 courses per user completed.

The impact

Speaking about the success of the initiative in the company, Sangram Kesari Samal, Deputy General Manager Human Resources, Bajaj Auto Finance, said, “the interest and curiosity element came from the access to the world-class content on Skillsoft Percipio, and the ownership element came from an inherent human desire to help one another”.

With the help of 17 participating organizations, 16,128 meals were donated and the initiative also helped sponsor the education and employment of 100 young women.

#LearnForACause highlighted the power of learning through L&D teams that are at the forefront of business transformation. The initiative also showed how businesses could weave ‘purpose’ into their growth strategy.

“At its heart, the ‘Learn for a Cause’ initiative was a unique attempt to bring about social impact while you learn. It was an opportunity for organisations to meaningfully contribute back to their community, while bringing about transformational business change as you volunteer and learn.” Ester Martinez, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, People Matters Media

Organisations that participated in this unique initiative included: UST Global, Bharat Petroleum, Bata, Raymond, TATA Chemicals, Capita, Bajaj Finserv, Bajaj Electronics, Bajaj Auto, MakeMyTrip, Evalueserve, ncourage, Rallis India Limited, Spark Minda, Emerson, HCCB.

As companies navigate a new (emerging) world of work, new opportunities are opening up to reconstruct and reimagine work in a post COVID era. ‘Learn for a Cause’ marks the beginning of a new innovative approach to tackling business challenges. By boosting employee engagement and experience and creating an impact in the community, ‘Learn for a Cause heralds a new era of work that place’s purpose at the heart of the business.

Watch this video to learn more about this initiative: