Article: Success of learning initiatives will hinge on how quickly HR leaders adapt: Janhavi Sukhtankar, President - Human Resources, Lodha

Strategic HR

Success of learning initiatives will hinge on how quickly HR leaders adapt: Janhavi Sukhtankar, President - Human Resources, Lodha

In a conversation that explores the skills mandate for 2024 and how HR leaders should today build future-ready learning programs.
Success of learning initiatives will hinge on how quickly HR leaders adapt: Janhavi Sukhtankar, President - Human Resources, Lodha

Business and technological shifts require companies to up their learning programs in 2024 and build for the future. We sit with Janhavi Sukhtankar, President - Human Resources, Lodha to explore the skills mandate for 2024 and how learning pedagogies are evolving in 2024 to keep pace with workforce demands

Looking at the rapidly evolving nature of technology, what are some key skills that you think are going to become critical to support growth in your company?

In the past decade, the integration of technology across industries has witnessed exponential growth, highlighting the critical importance of continuously aligning skills and capabilities to support business expansion. At our company, we adopt a comprehensive approach that involves assessing both internal capabilities and external skills landscapes to effectively bridge any identified gaps.

We place great emphasis on the significance of both behavioural and functional skills within our workforce. Essential skills such as digital literacy, data-driven decision-making and the adoption of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence are paramount to our success. By prioritizing the development of these skills and implementing strategic initiatives, we aim to ensure that our workforce remains adaptable and equipped to thrive in an ever-evolving technological landscape.

Furthermore, we identify data proficiency and technology adoption as essential areas for future skill development within our organization. Through targeted training and development efforts in these areas, we aim to equip our employees with the necessary competencies to navigate and excel in a rapidly changing business environment.

Given your skilling agenda for the year, how are you scaling your ability to build the right skills and capabilities in your workforce? What are some learning pedagogies that you are excited to implement or have seen reap the right results?

In anticipation of the evolving skill landscape, we have conducted a thorough assessment to identify essential skills needed over the next five years. Analytical and Creative Thinking remains top-ranked, alongside emerging competencies in AI, Big Data, Leadership, and Social Influence.

Aligned with our skilling agenda for the year, we have strategically enhanced our capacity to nurture requisite skills and capabilities within our workforce. Our approach entails a multifaceted strategy aimed at fostering continuous learning and development.

By embracing a holistic and adaptive approach to skill development, we can align our learning culture with our company values, including our commitment to excellence, our dedication to going the last mile to do what's right, and our steadfast adherence to a first-time-right approach. This empowers our workforce with the necessary skills and capabilities to not only succeed in their roles but also excel in navigating the complexities of an ever-evolving business landscape.

What would your advice be for companies today hoping to proactively assess and bridge the skills gap they face? What are the core determinants—both in terms of tech usage and attitudes of HR leaders— of successful learning initiatives in 2024?

Recognizing the uniqueness of every organization, it's imperative to not blindly follow skilling trends without understanding what's specifically needed for our associates and business at large. To proactively bridge skill gaps, we require a strategic approach beginning with a thorough assessment of the current skill set and identifying areas for improvement. Simultaneously, one should keep a keen eye on emerging industry trends and technological advancements to accurately forecast future skill requirements.

Fostering a culture of continuous learning is paramount, and we can achieve this with tailored training programs designed to address identified gaps with a balanced focus on employees' career aspirations. Companies can adopt various approaches to build skills, including buying or outsourcing talent, developing skills internally, or leveraging simple process improvements through technology and AI. Embracing emerging technologies such as AI and VR can significantly enhance the effectiveness of learning initiatives by providing immersive and personalized experiences. Additionally, promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing among employees fosters a culture of collective growth and development, enabling organizations to stay ahead of the curve and thrive in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Looking ahead to 2024, successful learning initiatives will hinge on the willingness of HR leaders to embrace technology and adapt swiftly to evolving skill demands. Prioritizing the employee experience in learning and development efforts, leveraging data-driven insights to inform decision-making, and gaining buy-in and support from senior leadership are all paramount. By aligning learning initiatives closely with organizational goals and priorities, companies can ensure that their workforce remains equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in an ever-changing business landscape.

A recent Deloitte report stated that across 2800 companies, 62% said that they were excited about the application of Gen AI across different functions. How would you rate your expectations about tech-driven learning and capability-building initiatives? Are there any Gen AI-led/embedded initiatives planned for 2024?

This underscores the transformative potential of technology, particularly the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in revolutionizing learning methodologies and enhancing workforce capabilities. Given this landscape, our expectations for tech-driven learning and capability-building initiatives are notably high. We recognize the unprecedented opportunities presented by AI to drive continuous improvement and innovation within our organization.

As we design our technology roadmap for the next five years, we have outlined a tangible plan. Our primary emphasis lies in Technology Adoption & Data Literacy, where our objective is to harness AI and technology for process enhancements, data-driven decision-making and elevating the quality of both our products and job roles for our associates. This strategic direction not only aligns with broader industry trends but also underlines our steadfast commitment to remaining at the forefront of technological innovation.

Regarding Gen AI-led or embedded initiatives planned for 2024, while specific details are still being finalized, we are actively exploring opportunities to integrate AI-driven solutions into various aspects of our operations. This includes ensuring AI or robot-led quality checks, procure-to-pay processes, candidate screening, dashboard creation, and most importantly, our learning and development programs. By incorporating AI into these initiatives, we aim to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and effectiveness, ultimately driving greater success and innovation within our organization.

What role do your skilling initiatives in your company play in raising agility and resilience in the workforce? What are some soft skills that you think are crucial for you to be more agile and resilient?

Our organization is renowned for its nimbleness and speed of execution, and our skilling initiatives are strategically focused on fueling the growth of the organization. We aim to create more meaningful and substantial roles for our associates while reducing ad-hoc and repetitive tasks through the integration of technology. Empathetic leadership is at the core of our approach, with a strong emphasis on emotional intelligence.

Moreover, excellence is ingrained in our culture, driving continuous improvement and pushing boundaries to stay ahead in the market. Sustainable leadership is also a key priority for us, with a focus on social and national development.

In addition to enhancing agility and resilience, our skilling initiatives prioritize customer experience by refining our products and lifestyles adding a touch of luxury and sophistication.  Through targeted training programs and a commitment to continuous learning, our employees are equipped to navigate uncertainties effectively and capitalize on opportunities.

Collaboration and teamwork are integral to our initiatives, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose among our workforce. Essential soft skills such as adaptability, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and communication are key, to enabling our employees to thrive in a dynamic environment.

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Topics: Strategic HR

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