Amid global upheavals in human resource landscapes, earlier, more-accessible management training can help to address talent retention and training issues.

According to some studies, the biggest factor that causes people to leave their employers is poor management.

If the average employee becomes a manager at age 30 but only gets meaningful management training and development at age 40, that 10-year gap could account for many people leaving due to being made to report to a manager not skilled enough to motivate subordinates.

At one virtual management training program, the CEO knows that management problems are universal people problems — which means the problematic experience can be scaled, as long as people continue managing.

Amid the drastic pandemic-induced workplace changes and the Great Resignation, more leadership training needs to be made more accessible, according to Will Fan, co-founder and CEO, NewCampus, which conducts ‘cohort-based training’ designed for first-time managers. Such online training involves settings where participants collaborate about a specific subject at the same time, experiencing interactive, immersive learning.

DigiconAsia had a conversation with him on the foreseeable increased demand for virtual management training.

Will Fan, Co-founder and CEO, NewCampus

DigiconAsia: How is your virtual management training different from traditional management training such as MBAs?

Will Fan (WF): Ultimately, we advocate for universal access to business education for the 99% who cannot afford to uproot their lives and go overseas for one to two years for knowledge that can be outdated soon after they return.

A cohort-based online course cultivates leaders that can scale themselves and transfer these skills to their teams and the wider organization. Also, we have chosen to serve ‘non-traditional leaders’ in high-stakes environments experiencing rapid growth and change.

In our context, this means hypergrowth firms in South-east Asia, a region that adds several layers of complexity and cultural nuance. We help leaders from such environments (i.e., non-traditional leaders) get a business education and cross-cultural exposure at a fraction of the time and cost of a traditional MBA.

DigiconAsia: In the APAC region, do you have data on fintech and e-commerce firms using the workforce training tool you offer?

WF: We work predominantly with hypergrowth firms based in South-east Asia, which by nature tend to be tech and e-commerce scale-ups. They would be future unicorns that are home-grown from Indonesia or Vietnam.

Interestingly, 80% of our learners are women, which strengthens our conviction in equipping non-traditional leaders to help future tech giants scale more humanly.

DigiconAsia: Is it likely that startups can afford the cost of such programs designed for hypergrowth firms?

WF: Our training is best suited for startups that are at an inflection point in their growth path. They are generally scaling furiously and experiencing the associated chaos that comes with that.

Consequently, they tend to lack resources to effectively coach and nurture leaders that can then build effective teams and support structures for growth.

As we are passionate about providing universal access, that is reflected in our pricing and course design, which minimize time commitment and keep the learners embedded in their organization, so they can transfer skills and knowledge to their teams.

It is a more flexible, contextual, iterative way of learning that we find quite a good fit for this new breed of organizational culture.

DigiconAsia: How does cohort-based virtual management training provide an intimate learning experience?

WF: The best way to illustrate this is through a testimonial from the last cohort:

I not only learned from the instructors, but also from the experiences of the rest of the cohort. The interactive nature of the program with all the breakout sessions really gets you to apply in real time. I was the only creative manager in my cohort, so I got to learn different insights from all of the different cohort members. I thought only creative managers went through the things that I was going through. But I discovered that every manager faced these issues!”

Virtual training comes with pros and cons. The cons are pretty self-evident but one big pro is the ease of cross-cultural exposure and cross-industry exposure without having to fly everyone to one location (which is expensive and time-consuming).

Intimacy in this sense is not from physical proximity, but from a sense of belonging, connectedness and shared experiences/history.

DigiconAsia: Do you foresee more firms in the APAC region enrolling their new managers in programs such as yours?

WF: We foresee increased demand for cohort-based learning, especially from rapidly growing startups. There will be more demand for programs that are immediately applicable and transferable to their constantly-changing contexts.

Leaders and managers will always need to upskill in empathy, coaching, delegation and cross-cultural intelligence to navigate the growing challenges faced by the APAC region and beyond.