We talked to Mona Shah, founder and CEO at Sproutlogix about upskilling, developing, and aligning employees to a business objective using innovative AI technology and this is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mona Shah: Hanging in there. We are all safe and sound though we are still working from home/ on virtual school. We have spent the past almost year together. I have actually spent a lot of quality time with my family and this lockdown has been somewhat a blessing in disguise. This time has allowed me to connect with myself and my family, something that we all had almost forgotten to do in the day to day hustle of ‘life’.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Sproutlogix?
Mona Shah: I have worked in startups for most of my career. As an entrepreneur, I have made it my mission to help companies solve their business problems, find solutions in innovative ways, and explore the best ways to re-energize industries. So when my co-founders, other friends that were senior leaders, and myself all started complaining about the lack of return on investment and real business impact from our HR/L & D budget, I knew we had hit upon a dinosaur of an industry that really hasn’t been reinvented in years. Even with the onset of dozens of technical solutions, a mindset shift was required in how we build the capabilities we need our employees to have.
How does Sproutlogix innovate?
Mona Shah: Innovation has been the foundation of our company. As business leaders, my co-founders and I realized that there was a huge gap in the way people were upskilled in the corporate world. It was too reliant on a siloed approach to “training”. There was no connection, on the job application, and managers were left with zero accountability in this process. Plus progress wasn’t being measured or tracked, employees were being disenfranchised, and budgets were being used without ROI or justifications. We decided that we could use a technology-driven solution to tackle this problem.
So we brought in technology like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing to boost our solution:
- AI to identify skill gaps
- NLP to assess the Tone, Sentiment, and Objectivity of feedback shared by Managers
- Intelligent recommendation engine to recommend learning modules/content for a Netflix-like learning experience
- AI-powered learning assistant bot
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Mona Shah: We are amongst the few businesses that flourished during the pandemic. The lockdown prompted small, medium, and large businesses to turn towards digital mediums and platforms to continue their skill development initiatives. As a result, we saw a sharp uptick in the request from corporates to use our platform and make learning measurable and effective while working from home.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Mona Shah: As a founder and CEO, making difficult choices is part of the DNA required to be successful. I typically like to weigh all the available options, review the pros and cons of the alternatives, assess the impact of every alternative that I may pick, and prepare for a “what if” situation. And while this sounds great in practice, one can’t ignore the human aspects of this process. Depending on the urgency of the situation, getting feedback from my team and allowing them to contribute their thoughts to the decision-making process often leads to great ideas. This approach has worked well for me throughout my career.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Mona Shah: A majority of our emphasis is on communication, connectivity, and productivity tools like Zoom, Hubspot, etc.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mona Shah: We do have a couple of them like – Docebo, SAP Litmos, Learn Amp, etc. But our approach has always been different- it’s about changing the mindset – Pushing accountability of capability development to the managers and the employees. Our entire platform is centered around that.
Your final thoughts?
Mona Shah: I think the world is heading towards a new approach to what is considered normal. This has given us the opportunity to adapt and adopt solutions that make our lives easy.
I am certain that it’s only going to get better from here and hope that we as a capability development company can make a difference in the lives of people by upskilling them to meet any challenge that may come their way professionally and personally.
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