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AgVoice | Setting the learning agenda for communications

The world of communication is spinning at a dizzying pace. For any company, the stakeholders are multiplying and so are the ways to engage with them. And yet, the more things change, the more they remain the same. The value of messaging, transparency and the tenets of reputation management remain the same. Understanding this delicate balance, Genesis Burson-Marsteller has been leading the industry in creating and giving shape to new ideas while holding on to the values and the core of communication. And this is what we impart through our various pioneering training programmes at the GBM School of Learning.

A changed environment

If there is one thing that sets a person apart in today’s dynamic world of communication, it is the ability to shape-shift and take on new roles, new skills, new ways of engagement, while keeping the core intact. This ability isn’t just something you are born with. It is something you can acquire, given the right nurturing environment, the right learning and development intervention.

Every day, you see the world of communications change a little. It is a noisy space where shouting the loudest isn’t the only way to get heard. You also need to break the clutter with new ideas. More importantly, you need to be alert and agile to learn from your environment every day. That is no mean task and the responsibility to ensure that is as much the organisation’s as the individual’s. After all, when individuals learn and evolve, so does the organisation.

Ahead of times

Genesis Burson-Marsteller has always been at the helm of this thinking. Whether a new associate or the leadership team, the ability to learn and evolve differentiates us from the rest. As a firm that has mirrored the journey and growth of public relations in the country, the need to be ahead of the curve in terms of new ideas and industry-leading thinking has always been part of our DNA. And so, very early on, we knew that it wasn’t just enough to hire the best talent, but also hone, chisel and develop this talent.

GBM ALP: A gold standard

Way back in the year 2002, we started what became an industry benchmark—the GBM Associate Learning Programme (ALP). This year-long programme, which combines classroom and on-job learning, is the only formal and structured programme that nurtures young public relations talent at the workplace in India today. More than 150 people have experienced this pioneering programme, which took them far beyond what they learnt in college to make them more relevant to the industry. Today, the GBM ALP graduates occupy leadership positions, not just within GBM but also in the industry.

While GBM ALP forms the foundation of GBM School of Learning, over the years, we have built a holistic approach to developing our people, creating learning landmarks that give them the leg-up they need in their career paths. Soft and hard skill training workshops dot the entire learning calendar, giving our people the flexibility to choose what skills they wish to hone or where they face challenges.

Experiential learning through GBM LEAP and GBM SEED

For us, experiential learning forms the core of our learning ethos. Linked to employee competencies and business, experiential learning sets the course for the overall growth of the person. With this in mind, we created two exemplary learning programs for our growing professionals—GBM LEAP, for our future leaders and GBM SEED for our young managers. Year-long programs for hand-picked participants, these programs approach our employees as individuals bringing their own unique perspective to everything they do. Not only do they help our employees hone their work skills, they also empower them with skills that go beyond work to make them well-rounded professionals who can break through set norms to create new innovative ideas, are cognizant of and sensitive to their environment and are more in tune with their own strengths and challenge areas.

GBM School of Learning has always set examples for others in the industry to follow. Our learning programs come from our experiences as a leading communications firm. When our clients need us to think beyond the brief, our people are empowered and equipped to not just do that but counsel them on what the dynamic business environment requires them to do. And this feeling of empowerment is echoed by anyone who has been through any of the GBM training programs. At every industry gathering, GBM alumni find each other connected, no matter where their professional journey may have led them. The experiences and the learning light a fire that serves as a beacon. And the fire continues to shine on forever. 

The author of this opinion article is Ms. Kavita Rao, Chief Talent Engagement Officer at Genesis BM.

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