In case of most of us, there has been never a more important time for employers, employees and customers in our entire lifetimes. With the disruption caused by the pandemic, the past two years have been a harsh reminder of all that we have been taking for granted and should be thankful for. Incidentally, this time has also been a great testimony of resilience and support. The way all of us, in our own capacities have gone above and beyond to support each other, is a lesson that we would remember for centuries to come.
While 2021 has been still gloomy on the pandemic front, there have been reasons to smile, and we, the Upside Learning family, for sure didn’t want to miss any. Getting this dose of positivity to you all too because we all can do with some extra cheer and happiness. So come join us for a sneak-peak into this amazing year through our eyes.
Growing Older and Better
In April 2021, we celebrated our 17th anniversary which incidentally also coincided with completion of one year of working from home. Over the course of this challenging one year, our team displayed the true spirit of going beyond and went against all odds and managed to deliver great customer experience, which helped us achieve higher growth for the company. To celebrate the company’s anniversary and to appreciate our grit as a team, we sent out a small gift hamper to each of our team members.
Expansion of Our Office Space
Not just by age, but this year also saw us expanding our physical boundaries to accommodate the growing Upside Learning family. We inaugurated our new additional office space in July 2021 on the auspicious day of Guru Purnima. We had started the interior work for our new office space just a few months before the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, and the sudden lockdown put brakes on the work for several months. But as the lockdown gradually started easing out, we managed to overcome the hurdles and got the space ready. The inauguration ceremony took place at the hands of Sonal Sheth, our COO, in the physical presence of some employees (and many attended it online as it was streamed live). Hoping to utilize this space for all our upcoming milestones and a lot of water-cooler chats as the world tiptoes towards normalcy in the next few months.
Building games and gamified experiences is a craft that we’ve been extremely serious about. We took this a step ahead with our ‘Gamification’ campaign early this year. We published 2 eBooks on gamification this year – ‘Level up Your Learning Game’ and ‘Not Playing Around – Gamification for Workplace Learning’ (Published jointly with the Brandon Hall Group). The eBook was followed by a webinar – ‘Go Beyond with the Gamification of Workplace Learning’ with Jonathan Peter, Chief Motivation Officer at Sententia Gamification, as our special guest. Looking at the great response to our gamification campaign, we also planned a podcast series exclusively around gamification of workplace learning.
You can access all the resources related to the ‘Gamification’ campaign here.
Learning Engagement Campaign
This year also saw us publishing one of our most aspirational eBooks so far – ‘Go Beyond: Design for Learning Engagement’. Through the process of developing the eBook, we came across a lot of interesting insight and opinions from researchers, industry leaders, and influencers, which also provided us the opportunity to evaluate our own observations and recalibrate our own approaches around learning engagement. We also sponsored a webinar with eLearning Learning on Learning Engagement where Keith Keating joined us a special guest.
You can access all the resources related to the ‘Learning Engagement’ campaign here.
Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards
This year saw us winning a stupendous 14 Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards in collaboration with multiple clients, our biggest victory at Brandon Hall Group awards so far. The win testified once again that we build world-class learning solutions that delight our clients and jury alike. We definitely make a powerful team internally, and when this amazing team joins hands with world-class clients, the results are phenomenal. A big thank you to all our clients who trusted us with their critical projects.
The details of our winning entries are as follows:
- Gold for ‘Best unique or innovative learning and development program’ won in collaboration with The World Bank.
- Gold for ‘Best benefits wellness and well-being program’ won in collaboration with The World Bank.
- Gold for ‘Best advance in compliance training’ won in collaboration with The World Bank.
- Gold for ‘Best advance in custom content’ won in collaboration with The World Bank.
- Silver for ‘Best unique or innovative learning and development program’ won in collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
- Silver for ‘Best advance in custom content’ won in collaboration with The World Bank.
- Silver for ‘Best advance in custom content’ won in collaboration with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited.
- Bronze for ‘Best advance in custom content’ won in collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
- Bronze for ‘Best advance in compliance training’ won in collaboration with ISS A/S.
- Bronze for ‘Best use of video for learning’ won in collaboration with ISS A/S.
- Bronze for ‘Best advance in custom content’ won in collaboration with ISS A/S.
- Bronze for ‘Best unique or innovative learning and development program’ won in collaboration with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited.
- Bronze for ‘Best advance in employee engagement’ won in collaboration with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited.
- Bronze for ‘Best learning team’ won in collaboration with Colgate-Palmolive.
More on the Brandon Hall Group Award wins, here.
L&D Go Beyond Podcast
We have always nudged our teams, our clients, and the L&D community to go beyond the ordinary and do more. The L&D Go Beyond Podcast is another big step in the same direction. It was an idea that we had been nurturing for quite some time, and we couldn’t be more thankful that we could bring it to life this year. A significant and noteworthy part of our Go Beyond initiative, this podcast is for anyone who is constantly intrigued by how workplace learning can be leveraged to help people develop in an organization. Amit Garg, our CEO and Founder, has hosted some fabulous guests so far on this series and has had intriguing conversations with them. The audience has been loving the podcast so far and we are pretty sure, this love will keep getting stronger.
Here’s a snapshot of who we’ve interviewed till date and the topics we’ve covered with them:
- Dhiren Doshi – Learning Engagement in Supply Chain Training
- Kirk Donaghey – Building Learning Programs That Engage
- Keith Keating – Design Thinking for Learning Engagement
- Guy Wallace – How to Bring Performance Focus to Training
- Phil Reddall – Innovation in L&D
- Jennifer Tsang – How to Solve the Right Problems in L&D
- Toby Harris – Curation & Learning Ecosystems – Dealing With the Complexity That Damages Learning Culture
- Stefaan Van Hooydonk – Curiosity & Learning in the Workplace
- Vince Han – Chatbots in Workplace Learning and Performance
- Julie Dirksen – Design for How People Learn
You can catch up on all these podcast episodes here.
Learning Technologies Shortlist
Another high of the year was 4 of our entries getting shortlisted in the final round of the prestigious Learning Technologies Awards, across multiple categories.
Details of our shortlisted entries were as follows:
- Excellence in the Design of Learning Content – Commercial sector, nominated for two different projects in collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise
- Excellence in the Design of Learning Content – Commercial sector, nominated in collaboration with ISS A/S
- Best Online Distance Learning Programme – Nominated in collaboration with Colgate-Palmolive
Though we could not make it to the winners list, we are still extremely proud to be shortlisted amongst the vast number of entries received by the Learning Technologies team.
Great Place to Work Certified, for the Third Time
Among the many accolades that came our way this year, this was the sweetest. In October 2021, we were declared Great Place to Work Certified, for the third year in a row. We achieved this feat by recording a stupendous score of 77 on the Trust Index.
A reassurance of Upside Learning’s wonderful people practices, this recognition is an indication of how well our organization has adapted to the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and how we ‘Go Beyond’ the ordinary to create a positive and safe work environment for all. It is heart-warming to know that while we care for our people, they also see us a great place to learn, grow, and celebrate. Amit Garg, our CEO, often says “This is the recognition that makes me happy beyond bounds.”
Know more about this certification here.
LearnX Live! Awards
Our winning streak for 2021 continued and in November, we were bestowed with 24 prestigious LearnX Live! Awards in collaboration with multiple clients. Another testimony to our cutting-edge learning solutions that help clients achieve real outcomes from their training programs. We made our mark with 1 diamond and 23 golds for various learning projects across different categories.
The details of the winning entries are as follows-
- 1 Diamond for ‘Best learning model’ won in collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise
- 3 Golds for ‘Best L&D project’ won in collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise
- 1 Gold for ‘Best talented team’ won in collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise
- 1 Gold for ‘Best learning design’ won in collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise
- 2 Golds for ‘Best L&D project’ won in collaboration with The World Bank
- 3 Golds for ‘Best eLearning design’ won in collaboration with The World Bank
- 1 Gold for ‘Best pandemic response’ won in collaboration with The World Bank
- 1 Gold for ‘Best L&D project’ won in collaboration with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited
- 1 Gold for ‘Best eLearning design’ won in collaboration with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited
- 1 Gold for ‘Best talent strategy’ won in collaboration with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited
- 1 Gold for ‘Best eLearning design’ won in collaboration with Wienerschnitzel
- 4 Golds for ‘Best L&D project’ won in collaboration with ISS A/S
- 1 Gold for ‘Best talented team’ won in collaboration with ISS A/S
- 1 Gold for ‘Best eLearning design’ won in collaboration with Colgate-Palmolive
- 1 Gold for ‘Best eLearning initiative’ won in collaboration with Colgate-Palmolive
- 1 Gold for ‘Best talented team’ won in collaboration with Colgate-Palmolive
More on the LearnX wins, here.
Multiple other pleasant recognitions came our way this year. We got featured in Training Industry’s 2021 Custom Content Development Companies Watch List. The selection was based on the following criteria:
- Capability of developing multiple types of content
- Depth and breadth of subject matter created
- Industry visibility, innovation, and impact
- Strength of clients and geographic reach
- Company size and growth potential
We also made our way into Fosway’s 9-Grid for Learning and were placed as a Potential Performer. This was a big achievement for us considering that the digital learning market continues to see new entrants every year and the landscape gets harder to track and trickier to navigate. Featuring on this grid is a testament to us carving our own niche through the impactful work we have been doing and the value we are providing to our clients.
Diwali has always been special. This time, a little more, considering the tough times we have all been going through. Diwali 2021 was also extra special for the Upside Learning family, as many of us met almost after 18 months in office. The get-together was full of smiles and laughter, fun games, and good food. Even more delightful was to see colleagues dressed up in their ethnic best and not to forget, the wonderful festive spirit. Some wonderful utility gift items and goodies home delivered to each of us including our support staff, made the festival brighter for all of us.
Our Blog(s) Shortlisted and Winning as the Most Valuable Posts of 2021
We have always strived to create content that is useful, informative, and well-researched. And 2021 brought us another good news when we were informed of two of our blogs having made it to the final round of eLearning Learning Most Valuable Posts (MVP) Awards. These prestigious awards recognize posts which are filled with actionable insights and provide strategic long-term value to industry professionals. You may access the posts below in case you are in the mood for some good reading.
The mind science behind microlearning
Microlearning empowers your frontline to cope, convert and create
As I was making the finishing touches to this blog, got to know that ‘The mind science behind microlearning’ emerged as a winner of the MVP awards in the ‘Learning Culture’ category. Couldn’t resist adding this exciting piece of information at the last moment.
New Members in the Upside Family
The Upside family grew bigger and better this year. Many wonderful and talented folks joined us this year including several additions to our leadership team. I will start with myself; I joined this fantastic team in June this year as the AVP-Marketing and have been involved in many wonderful initiatives since then, including many of the above shared earlier in this blog. With a lot to share and even more to learn, I have been cherishing my time here. Shortly after my joining, in the month of September, we welcomed Sandip Bose, a BFSI domain veteran, as a Senior Consultant. Continuing to build on our BFSI focus, Sandip now overlooks all BFSI-targeted efforts at Upside. We also strengthened our Instructional Design function with the on-boarding of Alesiya Khan as a Senior Manager. Alesiya now leads the instructional design efforts for the pre-sales and innovation functions at Upside Learning. The most recent addition to our family is Kamal Lambaa who joined us as the AVP – Business Development for APAC region. With Kamal’s extensive experience and exposure, we are very hopeful about establishing many wonderful new client relations in the APAC region.
All in all, a very special and eventful year that we will cherish forever. And as the year comes to a close, we want to say a big thank you to our amazing clients whose trust in our teams drives us to perform better every single time. We would also want to thank and give a shout out to our fantastic team whose creativity, passion, and perseverance has got us here. They are the stars behind the fantastic learning solutions we create and the ones who keep going beyond their own benchmarks.
2022, we’re ready for you, all driven and charged. Time to #GoBeyond once again!