Learning Experience @ Manhattan

Date:   Thursday , November 29, 2007

Most techies are of the misconception that, by acquiring a B.E. degree and a job posting, they are secure in their career. However, recently, due to the spurt in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and growth of economy, the nature of the workplace as a place of learning has been transformed. According to the Oakland, California based Bersin and Associates, a corporate learning research company, on an average, large organizations, or those with more than 10,000 employees, spent five percent more on training and development during the past year compared to the previous year.

Recognizing the importance, Manhattan Associates invested in its people to create a corporate culture that allows excelling as an enterprise in Supply Chain Management. Hence, as a part of its corporate goal to “continuously improve associate development”, Manhattan gives equal importance to every facet of workplace environment for grooming employees. This helps employees to get training on product or domain, leadership and behavioral skills, role specific technical skills, and self-enrichment.

Today, the major challenge in research and development is to deliver high quality projects with latest technologies to the customers. Employees undergo niche training on latest technologies like J2EE and its related frameworks (Hibernate, Springs), websphere, and .NET amongst others to excel in projects. Shankar Shanmugasundaram, Technical Director, R&D, Manhattan, says, “We strive to package these programs with internal programs to deliver the best for each of our customers.” So we upgrade our employees with our best practices on coding and frameworks on an ongoing basis.

Manhattan recognizes the need for having focused Learning and Development (L&D) programs and has thereby substantially increased its L&D budgets in the past years. It also has an e-library for all employees. This allows employees to get access to more than 8000 technical and management books. The company encourages higher education and supports the education expenses.

Manhattan has a tie up with Georgia Tech University. Every month, top professors from the University are invited to the Manhattan headquarters to interact with the techies and to discuss about the latest trends in the Supply Chain domain. This is broadcast live to all Manhattan offices worldwide.

The company also has a pool of external trainers who deliver customized training programs of the highest quality.

A comprehensive on-board training, both for the lateral and campus hires, exists. The day-long program for the lateral hires focuses on broad company issues and allows settling down within the SCM domain. When it comes to campus recruits their on-board training stretches on to two to eight weeks before they are allocated to teams. There is a mandate of 40 hours of training to be completed by every employee in a year.

In addition, the company has different leadership programs for building strategic leadership across all levels in the organization - like Manhattan Associates High Impact, Manhattan Associates Academy, and others.

According to A. Annapurna, Assistant HR Manager, giving the best training programs is a challenge, but getting to know how best the learning has percolated into every individual is a bigger challenge. Manhattan has a very good computerized feedback to evaluate the learning. This helps to get the best metric out of the program.

With a drive to make all the employees aware of the importance of learning at all levels, Manhattan Associates annually celebrate an L&D month with a focus on learning. The celebrations include talks, posters, article gallery, graffiti, and the most exciting event, the ‘supply chain’ exhibition. The mission motto of learning at Manhattan is: Learning Never Stops. Techies have to take up learning as a part of their career where it can be an experience that is understood in tranquility and not as a burden.