Bridging the tech skills gap: the build vs. buy dilemma
As the technological landscape undergoes major changes at an organizational level, the Indian labor market is grappling with the challenge of supplying the new skills in demand. HR leaders across the corporate spectrum are looking to strike a balance between upskilling the talent within and acquiring new talent that is already equipped with new age skills.
During the roundtable discussion hosted by People Matters in association with Randstad, CHROs and business leaders shared their expertise and ways of ensuring that their organizations are equipped with skills such as blockchain, AI, Machine Learning, Algorithm Design, RPA, cybersecurity etc.
“The conversation around the way technology is transforming the skills’ demand and supply is not a new one,” said Paul Dupuis, CEO of Randstad India.
Dupuis believes that creating an ecosystem within an organization which is conducive for quick learning and training is crucial. Training and upskilling existing employees are one aspect of bridging the skills gap whereas identifying ways to attract relevant and highly skilled talent is another factor to be taken into consideration.
As an HR leader, it is extremely vital to know why a person wants to join your organization. In India, most employees cite their immediate boss or manager as one of the primary reasons for accepting a particular job, Dupuis said.
“People join people, people stay with people and people also leave people,” Dupuis added.
Build vs. buy
In recent years, the demand for data analytical skills, data scientists, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation and cyber security acumen are some of the areas wherein organizations need talent. However, the supply of such skills is not keeping up the pace with the rising demand.
Leaders at the conference cited the build vs. buy dilemma that they face in their respective companies. Training the existing workforce and upskilling them in data analytics is the “build” route” that some organizations are trying out.
However, even though some choose to build internal talent to cater to the requirement of a different skillset, leaders such as Debolina Dutta, Vice President of HR Admin and CSR, Schneider Electric--Luminous India, found that getting the existing generation of managers at different levels come together to one table to be a part of an intense technical learning module is challenging.
For Manishi Saxena, Vice President of Human Resources, EXL Services, taking an outside-in approach has worked to a great extent in her organization.
“I think it is very important to raise the digital quotient of the organization,” she said. “And the way you do it is that you involve people in the entire organization.”
Every award in the company has a digital component, she added. That motivates every employee to go the extra mile and build up her or his technical skills so that they can be eligible to get the awards. It is also crucial to identify which aspect of the organizational operations require and would benefit from a tech boost. To this end, keeping the end-consumer in mind is essential.
“It is a balancing act between outside and inside talent,” Saxena said.
A Nucleas Software, the HR leaders are looking for innovative sourcing channels for their hiring. Having set up a center of excellence in partnership with universities, they are able to nurture and hire talent with the targeted skillset, said Debyani Sinha, Vice President of HR, Nucleas Software.
The organizational leadership including the HR function can connect with the line managers to understand why talent wants to join, what makes employees stay and what makes them leave. If as an HR leader, one chooses the “buy route” having a strong brand that has a clear vision is crucial.
In an era where most of the senior management level executives are of the baby-boomer generation and the incoming employees who possess the required new age technology skillset are millennials, there needs to be a way to not only hire the best talent but also give them purposeful work and believe in the brand so that they might want to continue to stay and in-turn build better talent for the organization.
A balance between upskilling existing employees through various training modules and award/incentive-backed learning sessions along with an inflow of new ideas in the form of new hires is crucial in bridging the skills supply gap still facing the HR leaders across the board.