Wipro's Anurag Seth on learning in hybrid work mode
While the world had to absorb the shock of the pandemic without a choice, organisations had to undergo several changes over a night, remote work-model being the most significant one. Many employees were not equipped well enough to adopt it overnight, but by the mandate of the pandemic, eventually, every level of the workforce pyramid did.
According to Anurag Seth, though the shock was sudden but huge, it only took a quarter to get accustomed to the mandatorily new mode of work. But, as it is, with anything new or innovative, learning comes as a bonus. This has given rise to the need to make changes in the learning and development procedure across all the industries. During 2020, the patterns and policies around talent management also had to change, pertaining to the mentioned needs.
However, even during the pandemic, attrition did not stop, rather got a nudge due to several factors given rise by the pandemic. So, it was clear that the majority of the candidates in the organisations were new and mostly millennials and Gen-Z who had barely been associated with any organisation before. So, this called for an immediate need to change the learning designs. Anurag mentioned that new skills were in demand but there was a problem. New people were working on projects remotely that required continuous training to satisfy the customer needs.
“The role of a faculty changed from being a mere teacher to a mentor and coach,” said Anurag Seth
While working remotely people may prefer flexible timing, but when they get stuck with a new project, they would seek guidance from their seniors. So, there was a need to blend flexibility with a particular time. Due to the changes, the modus operandi had to change. Anurag said, “On the job training enables people to learn from colleagues personally, but for the hybrid workforce, you need to have a technical networking platform to help them form learning community”.
So, network building became the need of the hour and that is what our organisation also did. Sharing an example, he said that communities enable people to have group discussions around problem-solving.
Due to the huge scale of attrition, the hiring needs also increased across industries. When the hiring needs go up by three times, the number of skills along with the raw talent in the market naturally go down. Anurag said that this triggered the hiring of freshers to double than usual. But the talent pool wasn’t industry-ready. So, to make the pool ready, we started training the professors with the codes and transformed them into certified trainers. We also started providing them with virtual lab environments which were also exposed to the students to enable them to practice. He stressed that this is how the learning module has to undergo changes right from the primary and academic levels to make have a future-ready workforce.
But also, there is a significance of skilling the people working already within the organisation. It is important to train them to maintain a balance to keep the foundation of principles strong. Today, hundred people are working from hundred locations. But that doesn’t mean that the existing project managers can’t be in place anymore pertaining to the new technical platforms that they need to use to execute a project from several locations. Skilling up the existing project managers are enough to initiate any process with employees working from remote locations.
“The project managers have to be really skilled as to how do you manage remote teams,” said Anurag.
Concluding the session, he stressed that if these aspects can be balanced, working in a hybrid model will become much easier. “It took the initial time but now I think people are comfortable,” Anurag concluded.