The coming year has its share of challenges as well as opportunities for leaders and talent alike. One of the arenas in which this plays out is digital transformation. While technology has often been pronounced as an enabler in the ongoing process of HR transformation, the way in which this tool is leveraged will be critical in the business and people strategy of organisations moving forward. In a recent conversation with People Matters, Anand Ramamoorthy, Managing Director, Micron Technology, shared insights on the importance of the skilling agenda, leveraging AI with strategic insights and cultivating a diverse workforce.
Anand joined Micron in October 2019, after a long and distinguished career at Intel Corporation where he led the South Asia sales and more recently as MD for South Asia at McAfee (an Intel company, formerly Intel Security). Prior to that, he served as MD for Harman, India. Anand spent the first nine years of his career in Silicon Valley, as a hands-on chip designer and moved into management and global business roles of escalating importance. He moved back to India in 2009 and has since then, steered products, engineering operations and technology innovation in the region.
Here are some excerpts from the interview.
Q. Upskilling is an agenda that has become top priority for organizations across the world. In light of this, what are some of the skilling challenges that you have witnessed? Especially in the semiconductor industry?
In addition to looking outward for new talent, semiconductor companies also need to look inward and strengthen their existing talent base through upskilling. Not only is upskilling a highly effective complement to talent acquisition activities, it also helps organizations to increase employee retention and enhance brand positioning. But it's not just employees who need to upskill. Leadership also needs to embrace new strategies and talent solutions to successfully navigate the challenges ahead.
It is no secret that one of the biggest trends in the technology space is big data and machine learning, promising new insights and bottom-line benefits to organizations worldwide. The premise of machine learning is to allow machines to use large amounts of data to create algorithms to discover patterns and accurately predict future outcomes. This makes it inevitable for all engineers to also don the hat of a data scientist. All in all, developing a growth mindset is imperative for leaders and talent alike.
Q. Given the accelerated digitization of the workspace, how can organizations go about choosing the right tech solutions for their skilling programs?
In light of COVID-19, the semiconductor industry is undergoing major changes and adapting its work practices to a great degree. This transition has given rise to new skills priorities. In such a challenging time, reskilling and upskilling are of vital importance to follow the constantly changing demands of the market and adjust to the new work realities.
The application of the right tools and solutions can significantly increase the scope and reach of coaches and facilitators. Smart tools and solutions can offer a data-based personalized learning experience, offer feedback and essentially optimize the learning journey.
The skilling space will continue to witness emerging hybrid learning models driven by continuous learning which will be the mainstay for working professionals. Technological advancements and skilling will go hand-in-hand, to not just help individuals in their work but allow businesses to keep pace with new trends and evolve with technology.
Q. What are some key insights that you would like to share with fellow leaders who are investing in L&D programs to bridge the skills gap?
The semiconductor shortage has highlighted the critical role of talent, but there is no single solution for bridging the gap. To create a strong and flexible workforce for the years ahead, organizations will need to take a broad and proactive organization development approach that encompasses talent acquisition, talent management and succession planning.
Giving team members the skills to grow and the opportunity to thrive keeps people engaged and in the pursuit of excellence. Organizations need to offer not just resources for technical learning but also for personal effectiveness and leadership development. Adopting the 70:20:10 model to ensure that a more holistic approach to learning is provided will ensure maximization of learning impact and enable organizations to create and support high performing teams.
Q. In light of the massive changes in the world of people and work witnessed this past year, what are some of the HR agendas that companies and leaders must prioritize as they reinvent their people and business strategy?
At Micron, people are our No. 1 value. We exemplify this by investing and innovating in programs that attract and engage top talent, building a creative, diverse and inclusive team and positively influencing our global communities. Reflected in this commitment is our transformation from a more traditional, transactional human resources function to a people-oriented organization that fundamentally cares about and considers the whole person while enabling our business to enrich life for all through technology delivery.
In integrating work, the workplace and the workforce, the need for mobility (ability to move right talent to critical roles), learning agility and the ability to build capability faster and facilitate organizational change in terms of enabling improved collaboration with new ways of working, emerged as key agendas for the HR function that companies and leaders must prioritize as they reinvent their people and business strategy.
Q. While companies have been able to adapt, innovate and push forward in spite of the numerous hurdles be it in the field of L&D or wellbeing or digital transformation that has come up in this new working model, what are some of the challenges that are likely to come up even in the year 2022 and what are some of the practices leaders can engage in?
The pandemic changed things more rapidly than anything ever did before. The changing playing field for businesses presented new challenges, and almost overnight, organizations were expected to future-proof themselves for the new world of work. As part of the technology play of bringing in machine learning and AI into HR, remote work has provided greater flexibility for organizations to adopt such a working model. However, this has also been coupled with challenges, concerns and coping mechanisms such as enhancing employee experience, managing stress, etc.
AI combined with strategic insight is creating new business opportunities and is transforming the way HR contributes to an organization’s competitive advantage. Technology is much more than an enabler in the post pandemic world. Today, while the industry is looking at the future of work in a hybrid work model, a distinct competitive advantage using technology is that it can provide new insights, encourage learning and creativity, improve productivity and efficiency.
Q. What are some of the new workforce trends and innovations that you’re looking forward to in the coming year?
At Micron, cultivating a diverse workforce where everyone is heard, valued and respected is a cornerstone of how we do business. Our efforts are aimed at not only creating equal opportunity but also maximizing creativity within our inventor community. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the significance of data, AI, digital technologies and accelerated the future of work to now. The best companies in the world, those outpacing all others in profitability, revenue, growth and innovation are extremely confident in the need to reinvent HR. Employee experience is central today as HR is indeed helping to drive a company’s overall enterprise transformation. The HR function today has become more automated and AI-driven, more data-centric and consultative and more agile than ever before.
The most in-demand skills of the future will include working with people, problem-solving and self-management skills such as resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. Companies also need to look inward and strengthen their existing talent base through upskilling, with both employees and leadership embracing new strategies and ways of working.