Article: Sonata Software sets sights on 100% workforce literacy in Gen AI by FY25: CHRO unveils strategy


Sonata Software sets sights on 100% workforce literacy in Gen AI by FY25: CHRO unveils strategy

We've partnered with educators to create AI and Generative AI courses, aiming for 100% literacy in Generative AI by FY25, with 50% already certified," said Balaji Kumar.
Sonata Software sets sights on 100% workforce literacy in Gen AI by FY25: CHRO unveils strategy

In the job market, proficiency in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data has emerged as a crucial skill for the future. According to the Future of Jobs survey 2023 by the World Economic Forum, businesses are increasingly prioritising the training of their workforce in utilising AI and maximising the potential of big data. 

This paradigm shift underscores the growing significance of technological literacy in fostering innovation and maintaining competitiveness within organisations. Additionally, the survey underscores businesses' significant focus on leadership and social influence skills, alongside proficiency in AI and big data, when allocating training resources. 

This strategic approach aims to cultivate well-rounded employees who not only possess technical proficiency but also demonstrate strong leadership capabilities. Employees who can effectively leverage AI and big data while exhibiting exemplary leadership and social influence skills are expected to be highly sought after in the job market over the next five years. 

Therefore, investing in Gen AI literacy among employees is imperative for organisations seeking to thrive in a digitised and competitive business landscape. Sonata Software is one such organisation recognsing this importance, as highlighted in an exclusive interview with Balaji Kumar, Chief Human Resource Officer, where he discusses the strategies and policies to achieve this objective.

Excerpts from the interview: 

Can you provide an overview of Sonata's HR strategy and how emerging technologies, such as AI, are integrated into it?

At Sonata Software, our HR strategy revolves around the motto of 'Modernising Talent to Value', which encompasses the modernisation of talent, culture, experience, and the HR function. This approach is deeply intertwined with emergent technologies, employee aspirations, customer expectations and overall organizational strategy and is operationalised through our home-grown Sonata Experience Management framework (SEM), internally developed GenAI tools, Sonata University, AGILE Sonata Ways of Working, to name a few. 

Specifically, we have deployed Mavin, an AI-driven tool, leveraging our proprietary responsible-first AI solution, Sonata Harmoni.AI, which forms the overarching schema for employee interface for all HR-related matters to ensure high quality employee experience. In addition, through Sonata University and the different Unified Engineering Programs (UEP) and Academies we have intensified our efforts towards training and capability building of our employees in GenAI and AI. 

Our signature platform, Sonata Spark, which is aimed at giving fillip to innovation and intrapreneurship among our employees is the rallying point for grassroots innovation on AI. We are also developing AI-driven applications for talent acquisition, career management, learning and development under the aegis of a dedicated R&D group focused on exploring intelligent HR systems and facilitating proofs of concepts.

Platforms like Sonata Spark and initiatives such as the month-long celebration of Sonata Harmoni.AI play key role in building awareness, fostering innovation, and advocating for emerging technologies like Generative AI. These engagement platforms serve as catalysts for internal dialogue, encouraging employees to explore and embrace cutting-edge technologies.

Our 'Black Belt Champions' play a pivotal role as ambassadors, guiding teams in the effective utilisation of Generative AI to meet customer demands and drive value creation. Through these cohesive efforts, we are committed to cultivating a future-ready workforce, ensuring sustained success in HR operations and beyond.

How does Sonata ensure that the adoption of emerging technology aligns with its overall HR goals and objectives?

In line with our theme of Modernising Talent to Value, our objectives are anchored in leveraging emergent technologies to refresh our talent value chain in line with emerging skills and competences, democratising growth and career development, nurturing DEI through fairness and transparency, elevate performance through AGILE PMS, better and faster decision management and re-imagine overall experience management. 

The HR function has taken the mandate of executing the above with the help of emergent technologies including GenAI. Mavin, our AI-powered employee buddy, is being designed to handhold employees throughout their journey. 

Sonata University plays a pivotal role in institutionalising emerging technologies within our curriculum. Through collaborations with educational partners, we have developed a range of AI and Generative AI-focused courses to equip our workforce with future-ready skills. Our target is to achieve 100% workforce literacy in Generative AI by FY25, with 50% of our workforce already certified. This initiative is complemented by Sonata's Unified Engineering Program, integrating Generative AI across various academies.

Additionally, the Sonata Experience Management Framework, is a pulsing and sentiment check program and is on its way to be integrated with AI and Data & Analytics for ensuring better engagement and retention of different talent archetypes through a hyper-personalised approach. 

Moreover, we are currently undertaking a project to integrate Learning and Development with talent management with the aim of building an intelligent and democratised talent marketplace. This connected system is aimed at providing a comprehensive and dynamic view of each employee's certifications, skills, and suitability for different roles within the organisation and also provide the required support for employees to realise the career aspirations and full potential. 

At the same time, the HR organisation has a key role, in partnership with the leadership, to anchor the change management charter and ensure organisational readiness not only to adopt and adapt to emergent technologies but thrive and lead the way. Our AGILE (Action, Growth, Integrity, Learning and Empathy) Sonata Ways of Working architecture acts as the catalytic framework for this to be embedded and institutionalized. 

Moving on to talent acquisition, what are some of the key challenges faced by mid-sized IT companies like Sonata in attracting and retaining top talent?

In the ever-evolving business and technology landscape, the tug of war for skilled talent is imminent. These challenges are further exacerbated by the niche areas in which we operate and also the capacity we are building for newer practices. The way we address these challenges is through a multi-pronged approach. 

Traditionally our talent pipeline had been robust to ensure people grow from within and take on senior roles. Our internal fulfillment ratios especially at the leadership level are something we are proud of. 

In addition, we have a strong employee proposition that is pivoted around growth i.e. grow with Sonata and also be part of Sonata’s growth trajectory. 

Our culture premium is a significant differentiator. Because of our size we have not only been able to be agile but also create a sense of belongingness where people don’t feel lost. We are small enough to care for our people but big enough to make a positive difference to our customers and employee success. The AGILE Sonata Ways of Working is a living document that helps our employees align their purpose to. By highlighting projects that offer meaningful work and opportunities for skill development, we attract top talent seeking purpose and growth. We actively work towards reducing the hire to onboard time, through active engagement and shadow programs.

While we understand the importance of competitive compensation, we also offer valuable benefits such as flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities, and mentorship programs, emphasizing career advancement and recognition for contributions. To address talent pipeline challenges, we invest in nurturing relationships with universities, building capabilities that align with current and future requirements, partnering with recruitment vendors to develop a pipeline of future talent. Additionally, our expansion into newer geographies provide access to untapped local tech talent pool.

Retaining our top and critical talent is equally crucial and is a part of our regular business reviews and metrics right from the top. More importantly, we have been lucky to have business leaders who truly are talent champions, and genuinely believe that in essence we are in the talent business. 

Furthermore, insights generated through our Sonata Experience Management dashboard provides a view on parameters that work well, needs improvement, and requires a revisit. It helps us reimagine experience, customer satisfaction, and stay relevant. 

Can you discuss any innovative approaches or initiatives that Sonata has undertaken to attract talent, especially in light of the increasing competition for skilled professionals?

We acknowledge the significant impact of a robust employee referral program in attracting top-tier talent and engaging our workforce in the hiring process. As a result, our teams remain dedicated to sourcing candidates with specialised skills for pivotal projects, further reinforcing our commitment to securing exceptional hires and fostering a resilient company culture.

Let’s understand that good talent have an entrepreneurial spark in them and have a burning desire to innovate. Through our ideation and innovation platform, SPARK, we encourage cross-team collaboration and mentoring. Teams would like to see their ideas to fruition, turning into a viable business proposition. SPARK fuels innovation at the groassroots, while encouraging employees to share their use cases of innovation which can be scaled up. The company invests in such viable ideas with funding. Tech Fest is a platform where technology use cases and innovative ideas set the stage for a discussion within various technology groups and delivery teams within the organisation. 

With the rapid evolution of technology, the need to update and learn from each other’s experience is greater than ever. Therefore, we aim to harness our teams' diverse project experiences worldwide to and encourage smooth collaboration across functions and projects, creating a sense of belonging. We launched Sonata Knowledge NEXUS, a platform designed to capture the valuable insights and lessons learned from our ongoing projects in Generative AI. It aims to enhance our collective knowledge and foster continuous learning, innovation, and collaboration across teams. Through scheduled interactive discussions, it will offer curated sessions for Sonatians to explore case studies, project details, strategies, challenges, and lessons learned. Additionally, we will invite industry experts from time to time for a global perspective on matters.

We build the right ecosystem to ensure people are upskilling themselves and applying the learnimg in ongoing projects. That is what Sonata University’s Unified Engineering Program and the different academies that have started really ties in. On Sonata University, there is a treasure trove of close to 80,000 learning programs, which are curriculum driven for specific technologies. 

Our Global Diversity and Inclusion framework is instrumental in encouraging and supporting women employees on their growth journeys, while factoring in women who are on a break and wish to come back to the work force. At Sonata Software, we are committed to building an environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive, where every employee feels valued, heard and empowered, irrespective of their differences. The set up of the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council is a step in that direction. The independent Global D&I Council advises the leadership and HR function on furthering our Diversity Equity and Inclusion Charter. The composition of the Council reflects our diversity across gender, ethnicity/race and generation. Under its aegis, we have constituted the Sonata Women Advocacy Network which acts as a resource group with chapters across the globe. 

You can also read: 

Looking ahead, what future trends or developments in emerging technology and talent acquisition does Sonata anticipate, and how does it plan to adapt its strategies accordingly?

While we continue to focus our strategy on the above-mentioned pillars of moderniz#sation of talent, culture, experience, and functions, we will evolve the specifics of it to match the evolving business, technological, talent and geo-political landscapes. 

Here is a glimpse into the future trends we foresee and how we plan to adapt:

Forecasting Future Talent Needs: Leveraging predictive analytics, we will analyze past hiring data and market trends to accurately forecast future talent requirements. This proactive approach ensures readiness to meet evolving workforce demands.

AI-Powered efficiencies : AI automation will streamline the HR processes including hiring process, from sourcing to onboarding, induction and enablement. Tools like JD Crafter will aid in crafting candidate-specific value propositions. AI-powered assessments will ensure integration with induction, learning and setting new joiners up for success. Similarly, we are exploring use of AI in governance and compliance management. 

Hyper-Personalised Employee Experience: Utilising AI for hyper-personalization we will tailor the candidate experience at every touchpoint, ensuring consistency and engagement through AI-driven insights and actions. More importantly, we are working towards expanding the scope of Mavin – our AI driven bot – to be a valuable ally during the overall employee journey depending upon specific talent pools. 

Dynamic Adaptation through Sentiment Analysis: Generative AI-backed sentiment analysis will dynamically adapt recruitment and employee engagement strategies and actions.  

In essence, Sonata Software remains committed to evolving with emerging technologies and shifting paradigms in talent acquisition and engagement, ensuring continued effectiveness and relevance in a rapidly changing landscape.

Read full story

Topics: Technology, #Artificial Intelligence, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

Did you find this story helpful?



How do you envision AI transforming your work?

Your opinion matters: Tell us how we're doing this quarter!

Selected Score :