Article: User Obsession: What is your approach to ensuring future-ready talent

Talent Management

User Obsession: What is your approach to ensuring future-ready talent

At the Cornerstone OnDemand Converge India 2017, Vikram Bector, Group CHRO at Piramal Enterprises, and Ashwani Prashara, CHRO Hydrocarbons at Reliance Industries talk about the approaches essential for organizations in the disruptive world for future-readiness.
User Obsession: What is your approach to ensuring future-ready talent

In the movie, Blade Runner released in 1982 which depicted 21st century – the Hero, Deckard played by Harrison Ford was on a duty to exterminate the humanoids who came to Earth. The Hero falls for a beautiful woman Rachel played by Sean Young who turns out to be one of the Replicants that he is set out to ‘kill’. And the fact that Rachel was a humanoid doesn’t cross the Deckard’s mind. In one of the scenes in the movie, he wants to take her out and calls from a ‘payphone’.

This scene captures the ‘future-ready-ness’ idea. While 2017 definitely has seen the amalgamation of humans and machines co-existing (a bit, at least), the technological readiness can come from any other segment. The movie talks about cyborgs, but what we have witnessed in the last decade is the metamorphosis of the ‘phone’. Today, the simple pay-phone of yester-years have moved to become smartphones – giving the ultimate user experience like no one. This also means that what you envision will change in a stipulated period of time might not be the one to seek out for in future, the metamorphosis can happen in the different context - in this aspect, it is the phone which the movie-maker didn't foresee, but in the same film he talks about flying cars which we are yet to achieve. Well, that's just a movie. Cut to real life. 

There are challenges in trying to be future-ready. 

We have become very short-term focussed. According to a study by McKinsey, organizations are emphasizing more on short-term success and plans than ever before, and in that long-term aspirations like being future-ready, succession planning, talent management are taking a backseat. The context of success has become so short that the long-term planning is getting out of context. 

Secondly, the challenge is leadership development efforts are inadequate. We push the development back and don’t give challenging work to young people for various reasons – may be inexperienced, lack of understanding among others. But why do we have to wait?

Thirdly, we don’t think enough about the two together – digital readiness and digital workplace. The competency model of various organizations on future readiness do not have digital readiness as a major pre-requisite. 

“At Piramal, we are looking at future readiness with four factors – 3 As and 1 E – Ability, Agility, Aspiration, and Engagement. The most important one is the agility, you can be a great performer but your success depends on the way you embrace agility at work,” said Vikram Bector. 

The signature steps that are of the leaders are now being side-stepped. The problem is not connecting with the vision of 2020. Leaders must try and get noticed in the global context. 

All companies talk about providing the ultimate user experience – you can give big projects to employees, give them various exposure to rise, but all your efforts will turn to dust if you don’t have a work culture to be proud of. The one thing which mars the entire employee experience is the jealousy of the managers who might think that “how can my direct reportee by a HiPO when I am not?” In your future-readiness, you have to catch talent early, develop them to be leaders of tomorrow. 

Startups have another way of disrupting businesses. In future-readiness how your organization can innovate to bring your line of startup under your fold – to be able to leverage the potential of successful ventures is a crucial thing. 

In the 21st century, an illiterate person is not the one who can read or write but a person who is not willing to learn, re-learn, or un-learn to learn. In 2020, 30% of the jobs that existed today won’t exist, and by 2025, nearly 75% of the workforce will be Millennials. To be able to tide over the disruption of the highest order, one must have an entrepreneurial mindset, be highly impressionable, willing to experiment. The challenge for organizations will be to retain such employees for more than 4 and half years. 

The workplace of the future will be devoid of any hierarchy, digital transformation will be the order of the day, there will be free flowing structure with small teams. resources you can pick and choose. no predictability and security. but right opportunity to seize them. 

What is it going to take to ensure future ready organizations? 

  1. Mindset – It’s about transparency, openness, accessibility and not just giving solutions. 
  2. Power of leverage - leverage to the maximum whatever you can and wherever you can
  3. Attitude: weaknesses should be leveraged as strength. 


Embracing technology has to be faster, you need to be agile, have to create great employee experience which is going to be the hygiene factor. Create a pool of permanent and temporary resources – skilling, re-skilling should be practiced, and engaging and inspiring so that talent stays with you. 

(This article has been curated from the session User Obsession: What is your approach to ensuring future-ready talent? By Vikram Bector, Group CHRO – Piramal Enterprises, and Ashwani Prashara, CHRO-Hydrocarbons, Reliance Industries. The session was moderated by Rashmi Mehrotra, Solution Consultant at Cornerstone OnDemand.)

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Topics: Talent Management

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