ATMA | 21 March 2022
What does Learning & Development mean to Atma? How important is it on an organisational level?
As an organisation that focuses on the capacity building of education NGOs in India, we practice what we preach by fostering an environment of continuous learning among our staff.
Learning and development (L&D) is a core component of an Atma employee’s work. Over the past year, Atma has been running frequent L&D workshops- these are run by staff for staff and cover a variety of topics.
The topics covered in these sessions help support four thematic groups- making Atma an effective workplace, learning beyond the workplace, keeping on the pulse and creating strong partnerships.
For example, COVID-19 continues to impact the way we operate and upskilling has been necessary for response to Atma’s shift to an all-virtual operating environment. Courses such as how to present yourself in a virtual setting and managing burnout aim to provide the knowledge that we now need to operate in a post-COVID world. Going in-depth into the Locked Out: Emergency Report on School Education helps us keep on the pulse.
Acknowledging that work doesn’t just affect us from 9-5, Atma has hosted multiple sessions on topics that affect staff outside the workplace- from managing tax to managing burnout. Over half of the Atma staff surveyed were able to apply learnings from the L&D sessions to their personal lives.
|Making Atma an effective workplace
The Mental Models workshop challenged participants to reflect on and understand their basis’ which in turn helps in complex decision making.
How to present yourself in a virtual setting
As the world moves towards an online environment in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, understanding how to effectively operate in this new environment becomes key.
Saumya who ran the Pay What it Takes (PWIT) workshop valued the opportunity to gain more in-depth knowledge on a topic by presenting it to others.
'It gave me space and motivation to find out more for myself. It was different from just reading about PWIT. It’s a whole different thing when I have to present it to someone, to give people enough information and to allow them to inform their opinions'.
Saumya, Business Development Associate
Atma employees have also valued the opportunity to learn from colleagues and keep channels of knowledge open.
'I like how much of an open space it is when it comes to the learning sessions. Atma gives you the opportunity to conduct sessions for other employees. It’s not only about conducting a session but keeping that space open for people to ask questions and share opinions. It’s about keeping space open to share insights and knowledge.I think it’s simple- I want to keep learning and see what other people have to share. We all come from different backgrounds, there’s just so much to learn and share’.
Openly acknowledging failures and striving to learn from them helps staff create effective working relationships with partners.
'It was really nice to see Atma acknowledge and collectively analyse the failures openly. This session was held early on for me when I had just joined so it was very nice to see this happen’.
At Atma, we also give our team the opportunity and space to develop their skills and knowledge by encouraging them to take up stretch projects and formal courses to widen their horizon. Vanita Kariappa, Lead Consultant at Atma took up a post-graduation programme in Development Management specialising in Social Business & Monitoring and Evaluation at SP Jain, Mumbai. As of 2022, she has successfully completed her 18-month part-time programme along with managing her role at Atma.
Additionally, we also provide opportunities for coaching/mentoring as well as shadowing a new team member to help our team members support each other and create a conducive environment to thrive.
In the year ahead, Atma looks forward to continuing this journey of learning and development with its team in order to create strong partnerships, respond nimbly to an ever-changing environment and cultivate a well-rounded workforce.
The survey included 12 respondents*