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Upskill And Learn: The Newer Ways Of Employee Transformation Upskilling reduces employee turnover and this fact is especially helpful when the talent is hard to find

By Chandan Chattaraj

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A new decade dawns upon us with unprecedented changes. While HR as a profession has witnessed series of transformation in last many years, the journey ahead now comes with a twist. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a greatest reset in the world—disrupting lives, economy, markets processes, in fact, precisely everything. It had an unexpected impact on the HR profession as well.

As a CHRO, I am now confronted with challenges which weren't an issue few years ago. One of the major and critical challenges is upskilling the workforce to meet the competitive demands of the future in terms of business. As per annual global CEO survey conducted by PwC, valuable learning and development opportunities presented by the organizations to upskill their employees is one of the most important determinant for building a reputation of "employer's of choice'. Further, generation X and millennial employees now account for the maximum portion of the headcount across industries, they typically rank "lack of career progress' as one of their top reasons for leaving job. Upskilling reduces employee turnover and this fact is especially helpful when the talent is hard to find and the most context-relevant example, I can think here is of my organization.

Here is how we take this challenge head on.

Robust infrastructure of internal trainings

However cliché it may sound, this is our best bet. Given the pace of Fourth Industrial Revolution, upskilling human capital for future business needs takes on a whole new dimension. While AI, machine learning and other new technologies are the key drivers of this revolution, it ultimately needs to be worked out and implemented by people at the shop floor. So, as much as we invest in the technical trainings, we focus equally on the behavioral and leadership training. While we can have external partnerships for the latter two, we can only get limited outside help for the technical trainings because it's we who disrupt ourselves so internal trainings has to be home grown and a strong pillar for success.

Digital learning academy

To facilitate learning across levels—right from operators to top leadership team—we have consciously designed our flagship programs keeping in mind the core competencies required by each category to perform their role better. These programs are revised from time to time and new programs are launched as per the business needs. Collaborating learning with digitization has helped us deliver smart learning portfolios which helped us thrive even during the pandemic.

Linking learning outcomes with business growth

Being strategic about our learning and development interventions has helped us to position ourselves as business enabler. Our focus has always been on measuring the impact of L&D initiatives on the businesses in terms of improving efficiency, improving quality, ensuring compliance, reducing maintenance and improving customer experience and responsiveness.

Finally, upskilling by its very nature is proactive. You must predict and prepare to stay competitive. It cannot happen by accident. The full benefits of any capability development programs take time to emerge but one thing is for sure—if done right, it delivers more than just building the capability. There are many complementary gains like positive business impact, engaged workforce, strong corporate culture and reputation as sought after employer.

Upskilling employees is no longer a choice, it's an obligation on the company that intends to do well. Wiser thing to do is make this obligation a shared one by creating a learning culture. You will be surprised to see the amount of learning that happens then!

Chandan Chattaraj

President–HR, India & Global, Uflex

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