Technological dynamism requires the development of new skills everyday: Oracle’s Deepa Singhal
The pandemic has reshaped how companies think about skilling priorties – with increased emphasis on digital fluency, agility and enabling learners to learn better. It has also led employees to think deeply about their career journeys. In this context, the technology that supports all the business stakeholders is changing. In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Deepa Param Singhal, Vice President, HCM, Oracle Asia Pacific, talks about ths shifts in skills and the AI based technology infrastructure that is helping businesses to accelerate growth.
1. Over the past year, businesses has to refocus their priorities on building efficiencies and a lean workforce, and to automate whatever can be. This is leading to a mismatch in skills and jobs. How are you seeing this shift and how can companies help employees prepare their skill sets for a hybrid future?
The skills gap varies greatly depending on the company and industry. Certainly, in high-tech fields, there is a great rate of change, requiring workers to reskill and upskill regularly. However, it is worth noting that the the way we work has changed drastically in last few years and technology is rapidly evolving workplace and workforce.
The pandemic has affected and, to some extent, transformed all corporate operations, focusing on both customer and employee satisfaction. Furthermore, the life-span of skills is diminishing every day which signifies that skills that are currently in trend or we have learnt today might not be relevant in the coming year. Fundamentally, a difference between the skills required on the job and the actual skills possessed by the employees is evidently “Skills gap” and this gap is increasing bit-by-bit. Skills gap that has been a source of concern for organizations for many years has been aggravated by pandemic-induced disruptions. Gartner estimates that 58% of workers need new skills to do their current jobs and its getting difficult for HR leaders to quickly find and develop talent with the demand of skills. There is a growing recognition that skill is a critical variable in determining how effective an organization will be in the future. In this regard, the risk of loosing the best talent is as difficult as loosing a good customer. Organizations must make sure that they have proper capabilities embedded by new-age technologies to adapt to the new interlinked model of automation and human interaction through taking proactive steps to ensure constant learning and reskilling of their employees with the relevant skillset.
2. The pandemic has also taught us that building resilience and agility will be key components of the skilling strategies. How can HR teams best enable these skills using technology?
HR processes are at the core of building resilience and agility in businesses. After all, an agile business cannot exist without an agile workforce. The greatest challenge for businesses currently is the pace of change and this has been observed across sectors. Technological dynamism requires the development of new skills every day, and businesses struggle to have an accurate understanding of all the skills within their organization without a mechanism to collect and track this constantly evolving data.
The skills employees have and need today are constantly changing, therefore, HR leaders must understand the skills that are already existing, what is required, where is the skills gap, and accordingly connect individuals & provide learning and job opportunities to guarantee that the organization's end-to-end personnel supply chain meets its demands. Cloud solutions that have been designed to bridge skills gap can provides HR teams and business leaders a direction with the data they need to ensure they have qualified people now and in the future by offering a comprehensive view of their workforce competencies. Using artificial intelligence to leverage the ever-increasing amount of available data can provide customised, role-based, and competency-based learning and performance assistance, in real-time at scale throughout the business.
3. Oracle has recently announced its foray into SkillsTech. Could you talk about the challenges that the new product will help leaders solve?
The skill gap in India continues to be a major impediment to the country's economic growth potential. There are simply a lot of pressures on businesses across the globe right now, particularly in India and with the second wave that the nation just witnessed. Individuals are being challenged to present themselves with the correct opportunities, and companies are just wanting to ensure that they understand the capabilities they are bringing into their organization to achieve the agility that they require. Furthermore, with the regular introduction of new technologies, the skill gap in India is widening and has become one of the biggest difficulties for businesses to manage. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), India will have a 29 million skill deficit by 2030.
To address the growing challenge, Oracle has built AI-powered Dynamic Skills, a comprehensive AI-driven solution that keeps an up-to-date database of skills data within the company, including job titles, employee capabilities, experience, and skill strength. Essentially, imagine a solution that integrates all the talent managing process ranging from hiring relevant professionals to keeping track of all employees and their growth to enable learning among existing employees to keep up with the skills demand. The basic features include skills inference, taxonomy development, and tagging skills to profiles, jobs, and other talent programs. With the Cloud solution, a new global inventory can be put in place in organizations, specifically adapted to the unique language of the firm. This would not only help firms identify what particular skills a candidate brings as an employee but also help the existing employees to build their career profiles. Essentially, it can be used to connect people, learning, and occupations that are relevant to the skills as they change dynamically.
Also, one of the most challenging tasks is finding the right talent. One way we aid with Dynamic Skills is by enriching candidate profiles during the job process so that they may better match with the opportunities that are available and posted by the firm. Hence, it assists both individuals and firms by integrating all the processes thus fostering career growth, planning more efficiently, making better recruits, and developing a highly competent team.
4. We’re seeing learning and development become even more critical in the employer value proposition. How can it unlock talent attraction as well as drive retention?
The Employee Value Proposition has evolved dramatically over the past couple of years. Its important for employers to think that now they can do more to create a culture of continuous learning and to identify and provide the opportunities to acquire digital skills In the modern-day, EVP is an ecosystem of support, recognition, and values that a company provides to employees for them to reach their full potential at work. Attracting and maintaining top people is strongly tied to providing enough learning and development opportunities for employees to maintain a relevant skillset. Therefore, organizations must strive to make it convenient for employees to track their progress toward career objectives and take action to advance their professional development. This not only assists firms in retaining great individuals but also saves costs on further recruitment and training. This equates to a sizable sum, as many company resources are invested in educating and training new candidates.
Every profession, every activity, regardless of the nature of the work, requires some type of skills, and they vary and alter very significantly, more so in certain industries than others. Therefore, employee reskilling and upskilling are critical for them to attain their full potential. These are things that were not previously conceivable, but with technology, we can now basically follow the skills across the world and maintain our inventories current without having to manually manage it.
5. What is your one advice to CHROs and business leaders on building a learning centred workplace culture?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three concepts that CHROs, HR and business leaders may not consider when it comes to talent development. However, if they start pivoting and truly embracing skills-based talent management approach and People, Performance & productivity based approach. This will ensure they have the right talent both now and in the future and will provide a comprehensive view of the skills within their workforce. Also, at the same time they will be able to manage performance and productivity more useful for their people this year.They will see enormous improvements in future-proffing their workforce and will accelerate immediate results. A strategy that is purely based on skills is a more equitable approach to managing your workforce and hiring people into your organization.
Therefore, my piece of advice to CHROs and business leaders on building a learning-centered workplace would be to engage in a skills-based learning approach. When CHROs approach HR operations from a skills-based perspective, they can eliminate a lot of bias from the process. Also, this skill-based approach is not only limited to recruiting but also include internal mobility and career development for existing employees, so they are constantly encouraged to upskill themselves. One of the reasons we are so excited to make this investment is that it will on emphasis back to skills. When it comes to career mobility and hiring, the focus is on skills and qualifications for opportunities, as opposed to more prejudiced approaches.