Indian companies will have to put more emphasis on skills development, talent mobility and employee engagement. In the forthcoming year, these companies will have to operate in two gears. One which takes cognizance of the signs of an economic slowdown that can weaken growth in certain sectors like manufacturing. The second where, even under a slowdown, to operate in one of the fastest growing economies and markets in the world. In such a scenario companies will work towards “managed growth”. This means that there may not be much of a downward impact on hiring and there will continue to be shortage of skills and challenges in recruiting. Training and skill development at the entry levels will therefore remain an important and growing trend. In a scenario of slowdown, however, there will be greater need to enhance employee productivity and build greater internal talent mobility. Multi-skilling and re-skilling at middle and senior levels will be encouraged. Within skill development, along with leadership development and communication & presentation skills, employee engagement part will concentrate on building strong HR capabilities across all stakeholders. Therefore, companies will work towards enabling non-HR managers/ other stakeholders to move out of the comfort zone and bring incremental change in them. It is said that by 2013, 47 percent of all employees will be born after 1977 and engagement efforts will be strongly directed towards younger workers. Companies will be looking for engagement initiatives that not only will be limited to just having fun but will simultaneously provide value-added growth enablers for these youngsters. There is a fine line between engagement and experiential training, where especially soft skills training can lead to more positive attitude, better interpersonal skills and more engagement.
While there will be growth in the workforces generally with an emphasis on talent mobility, there will be greater cost consciousness. Corporate training will continue to transform and become more social, informal and on demand. As companies focus on growth, and begin to operate from multiple locations across the country and the globe, the challenge for companies will be to maintain a common culture. This will propel companies to increase efforts towards the use of the web to deliver this common message for a unified culture. There will be an increasing role of online workshops, which would be effective 60-90 minute interactions, allowing large number of people to go online through webinars, etc. This is already a very popular trend globally. In India, the need for growth amidst a slowdown will compel companies to look for reducing costs without reducing training and development. Web based or live online programs will become business critical as this involves least cost and allows maximum reach without compromising on training quality.
While the manufacturing industry has already felt the brunt of the slowdown, the economic conditions may soon affect other industries as well in the coming year. Therefore, all large organizations, which have a considerable internal training platform, will look at consolidating resources to maximize the return on investments. Enhancing internal training capability will be critical. This will force those already invested in T&D infrastructure to aggregate training capabilities from experts to deliver to internally. On the other hand, those companies with smaller direct investments in training may seek to completely outsource their training functions.