In the fast-paced work environment today, employees must be equipped with the future-ready skills that will keep them and their organisations ahead of the curve. It, therefore, becomes imperative for organisations to craft a well-designed capability development programme that shapes a culture of continuous learning and enables agile market-ready talent.
Gaurav Panwar is Director – People at S&P Global. With more than 15 years of progressive people experience, he provides strategic partnership and solutions support to businesses on Talent Strategy, Organizational Effectiveness and Engagement of talent.
Gaurav speaks to us about the importance of capability development, its role in building an agile and future-ready workforce of the future and the impact of technology and automation on talent and people training.
Why is capability development in organisations so important today?
In the forever-evolving technology industry, driven by innovation and plagued by attrition, there is a constant and increasing demand for top talent. This necessitates organizations to optimize available internal talent and focus on Employee Capability Development programs that address the scarcity of top talent and serves as a retention tool at the same time.
A well-designed Capability Development program, when leveraged fully and made integral to the DNA of an organization leads to:
– creating a culture of continuous learning
– enabling agility with market-ready skill sets
– reducing time and cost of recruitment
– ensuring an engaged workforce
While such programs may vary in their construct from organization to organization, a top-down approach is a prerequisite for all. A successful Capability Development Program requires the conviction, commitment, and confidence of the leadership in inculcating a culture of learning to become a sustainable initiative.
What are some of the ways companies can work towards people development in the time of the pandemic?
This new era calls for moving beyond specific job descriptions and broadening their scope. Employees must develop skills in areas beyond their predictable daily tasks. Offering employees resources for multiple learning opportunities is tremendously important.
To continue enabling and delivering value-creating efforts, learning leaders have a few tactical steps they can consider protecting employees, adapt programs/delivery, and expand virtual live learning – Digital and virtual learning programs were already on the rise before COVID-19 struck, and we already see a marked increase in such learning programs, which many younger employees embrace.
Beyond tactical steps, there are strategic measures, such as exploring alternative digital learning strategies that managers can develop during this time of social distancing. The stronger learning capabilities that emerge could stand as a positive long-term outcome from this sobering period.
Consider the following alternative strategies to keep investing in employee development when you don’t have the same budget anymore.
1. Offer ongoing support and coaching.
2. Emphasize critical skills, but don’t forget behavioural skills.
3. Create a virtual network of learners
4. Build a learning culture
How does organisational development lead to company growth and help to accomplish business objectives?
Organizational development is a critical and science-based process that helps organizations build their capacity to change and achieve greater effectiveness by developing, improving, and reinforcing strategies, structures, and processes. Organizational design has become more crucial over time. Today’s world is characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (VUCA). This VUCA world requires new agility from organizations, and organizational development is the means to that end.
Organization development strives to leverage the internal employee talent and diversity to improve organisation productivity, creativity and problem-solving. This may deliver such benefits as continuous improvement of work processes, product innovation, better communication, employee development, specific product and service behaviours and improved profit/ company growth. Consequently, typical interventions might focus on people processes (e.g. team or cross-team level), organization structures (e.g. team and job design), Human Resource Management (e.g. performance management, well-being, diversity) and strategic change (e.g. transformation, continuous improvement, M&A).
How is the idea of people capability development evolving today with the introduction of automation and digitalisation in the workplace?
Automation will help make employee training an enormous area of opportunity for HR. The use of simulators and electronic instruction will increase. The old process of master-apprentice, wherein employees are slowly trained by masters in their jobs, will be supplemented and in some cases replaced by digital training.
Apps, webinars and recorded training will allow employees to learn on the job during lulls in workflow or when they need it, rather than when the schedules of a large number of individuals allow. HR also may have a role in training machines, which need knowledge from real people and help to adhere to human standards. Unsupervised technical employees can, for example, inadvertently impart biases, such as racial or gender preferences, into systems.
The introduction of AI and Data Analytics into the continuous learning arena has now created a new frontier for L&D organizations to tap into – one that’s poised to make them intelligence rich. Various tools can be effectively used for the digital transformation of employee T&D, such as – Learning Management Systems (LMS), Mobile Applications, Extended Reality Technologies (including virtual reality – VR, augmented reality – AR and mixed reality – MR technologies), etc.
How can companies build an agile and future-ready workforce through capability development?
Agility goes hand in hand with digital readiness, a critical competency for any workforce. As AI, analytics, automation, and digitization disrupt industries and transform businesses, they’re reshaping existing jobs, giving rise to completely new roles – and opening up a yawning skills gap in the process.
To be future-ready, agility must be a hallmark of your organization’s culture and cultivate behaviours like curiosity, learnability and adaptability is essential in supporting agility and digital readiness.
Start by determining which traits are most desired for the workforce of the future. One critical step is to change your organization’s culture to one that embraces agility — and not just in the areas of process and development. An agile mindset must be adopted at all levels of the organization for your workforce to be successful. Cultivating behaviours like curiosity, learnability and adaptability is essential in supporting agility and digital readiness. These traits give your workforce the ability to pivot in the face of change, and your talent management processes should identify and reward them as you develop your future-ready workforce.
By laying the agile principles of curiosity, learnability and adaptability over your existing framework, you can identify where your organization needs to become more agile and how you can reskill your existing workforce to become future-ready.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are solely those of the interviewee and not the views of his employer