Cognizant, a global information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing service provider, aims to help companies build stronger businesses. With more than 100,000 employees worldwide, the company is based in the U.S. but has a substantial presence in India.
In February 2011 Cognizant CEO Fancisco D’Souza told The Economic Times managing growth is his biggest challenge. At the same time, the company strives to maintain its culture of client satisfaction, technology innovation and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work.
Cognizant seeks to innovate and enhance its employeeâ€‘friendly programs and practices to provide a best platform for professional growth via knowledge, skill and personal development programs designed to help employees unlock their potential, perform to their fullest and grow as professionals.
Organized under the aegis of Cognizant Academy, the company’s in-house learning center, these programs cover in-classroom training, virtual learning, internal and external certifications and libraries. The Academy also offers training conducted internally by Cognizant’s subject matter experts and covers the learning needs for a range of employees, including entry-level recruits, technologists, project delivery and management associates, leadership teams, sales and development teams, and relationship management teams. Programs offer technology, soft skills, crossâ€‘cultural, personality development, language, management development and role-enablement interventions.
Some of the learning initiatives at Cognizant include:
Role-based career framework: This empowers the workforce with the necessary skills to perform well in their current positions and prepares them for future roles. Focused on a role-centric model rather than a designationâ€‘based approach, it relies on a simple theme: assess, train, assess. It includes competency profiling and a skill gap analysis with a final goal to create a set of learning objectives derived from the fit gaps.
Virtual learning: This offering brings employees a wide range of easy, competitive and highly impactful learning courses, simulations, videos and e-books right to their desktops. Using classrooms with “Leader Speak” sessions to connect teams globally also has caught on well.
Experiential learning: These sessions invite employees to take part in a simulated, activity-based learning environment. Participants can try their hands at new ideas, processes and technologies. This helps those in newer roles experience job demands in a safe, risk-free environment.
Leadership development channel: This channel conducts several flagship programs with a blended learning approach of classroom and e-learning for managers. For instance, it covers all aspects of managerial effectiveness for a first-time manager such as motivation, negotiation, communication and performance appraisal. These role playing-based programs are effective with technology professionals who seek to sharpen people management skills.
CognOrators Club: This development option helps employees hone their verbal communication skills. By providing an informal forum of like-minded members who come together to improve their verbal communication skills, the club creates a mutually supportive and positive learning environment. Members also develop leadership skills and foster self-confidence and personal growth as they work to overcome any fears related to public speaking.
Learning festival: This innovative idea popularized the idea of celebrating learning at Cognizant via a global learning festival, where the core message is the importance of continuous development. A recent learning splash featured quizzes, dartboards, tangrams, chess, sudoku, jigsaws, book fairs, just-a-minute-talk sessions, origami and storytelling.
Committed to a work culture of continuous growth and change, Cognizant provides employees with opportunities not only to stay current with cutting-edge technologies and industry best practices but also to hone business skills such as communication, leadership and relationship building across a diverse, multicultural workforce. To build strong client relationships and customer satisfaction, Cognizant’s advice is simple: invest in employee development.
Sumit Sahni is head of corporate learning services, India, Harvard Business Publishing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.