Building people to build the business: Interview with Anil Nair


Anil Nair is the COE Lead & Head - Organizational Learning & Leadership Development at Zydus Group. He is passionate about people and organizational capability development and brings along a career experience of 22 years. His core expertise lies in organizational L&D, Leadership Development, Talent Management, Succession planning, Assessment and Potential Mapping, Training and Development, Performance Management, Learning Automation and Organizational Behavior and Development. 

Anil’s intrapreneurial ability toinstitutionalize many L&D and HRD related processes in Zydus has been noteworthy.A firm believer of the adage ‘knowledge and common sense is mightier than thesword’, Anil is a proponent of building people to build the business, andbrings along an attitude of openness to new ideas and technology.

In this brief interview, Anil shares hiscareer experience in L&D in the pharma sector, sustainable learningtechnology trends and the criticality of developing people within theorganization to build a successful business.

You have been a key part of Zydus Group’s L&D function forclose to 16 years now. Which learn-tech trends, in your opinion, have stood thetest of time over the last decade and what will over the next 10 years?

Nothing beats the on-hands experience. Like swimming or driving can never be learnt through a correspondence course or theory classes, neither does the learning and development of an employee in an organization. The best learn-tech trend has always been to support talent with immersive experience into any specific role or been assigned some new or additional responsibilities. In the next 10 years the entire shift will happen from education to experience. Any technology which maximizes the employee experience and assembles the past experience and behavior of individuals to formulate a predictive action and help capability building in the context will be a welcome one.

So are you suggesting that learning platforms with AI/ MLcomponent will become L&D must-haves?

No doubt on that. The extent ofcustomizations expected is going to increase many folds. Learning anddevelopment will demand to be more individual-centric and situation-centric. Itwill be a nightmare for L&D experts to manually reach out for individualdevelopments. Not that the AI or ML led platforms will do that for you, butthen it will weed out the excess time contributed for L&D experts for ananalysis. It will tend to facilitate you to make quick choices, createalgorithms which will be highly predictive and ease out the actions.

However strong may be a platform though,the key thing is the input data. You get in return, what you feed in. So it’simportant to make sure that the technology is leveraged to its best capability.

You are a strong proponent of building people to build thebusiness. How can organizations, L&D functions in particular, achieve this?

As long as L&D remains only aninstitute for offering learning opportunities and development courses, it willcease to exist one day. Building people to build business is more of a spiritof ownership and accountability. If L&D exists only to supply capabletalent on demand then there is a problem. Progressive organizations are aresult of well rounded leadership capabilities. In order to build people tobuild business, the L&D function has to immerse itself into businessrealities, proactively understand and prepare people toovercome business challenges and partner with the business as one of thecustodian of business outcomes. It is with this spirit that organizations,L&D functions in particular can contribute to a larger purpose of buildingpeople and hence building the business.

What’s your mantra for personal learning and development?

Learning should not be boundary driven.Individuals should be encouraged to pursue learning in anarea of their interest and that should be put into use for organizationaldevelopment. When individuals pursue a career of their interest and are backedup with opportunities, rewards and recognitions, learning can create miracles.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Zydus Cadila.