Article: Building strong cultures of continuous learning helps build future successful businesses: Egis India’s Suneel Wasan

Learning & Development

Building strong cultures of continuous learning helps build future successful businesses: Egis India’s Suneel Wasan

In conversation with People Matters, Suneel Wasan of Egis India shares how organisations can design a robust and impactful L&D framework to thrive in the future of work.
Building strong cultures of continuous learning helps build future successful businesses: Egis India’s Suneel Wasan

Suneel Wasan joined Egis India in August 2017 as Director-HR. He has experience working across global multicultural organisations with expertise in Human Resources management and administration, as well as experience functioning as a senior technical professional in various infrastructure engineering consultancy organisations. He has also worked with reputed companies like Mott MacDonald, Halcrow, COWI India, National Transportation Planning & Research Centre & Delhi Development Authority.  In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Wasan dives deep into how Egis India is championing L&D initiatives and the challenges and trends that leaders today need to keep a pulse on as they open doors for career mobility and growth.

Here are some excerpts. 

When leading skill-building strategies at Egis India, what are those key talent or business trends that have an impact on your L&D framework? What are those skill sets you are prioritising?

COVID-19 has fast-forwarded the adaptation of digital transformation and transformed how we used to work. Also, every industry has gone through a radical shift with the availability of data, analytics, and broader internet reach and the growth of smartphones. “Change is the only constant”, and change is beneficial when it keeps pace with altering times, and as we all know, time is one of the biggest game-changers. The new normal requires upskilling, reskilling, learning and unlearning, and understanding digital and hybrid working practices. 

Every organisation, learning and development plan starts from TNI (training need identification), so we at Egis also did a complete TNI with the second level of the hierarchy, understanding their technical and soft skill training needs. We developed a training calendar for 21-22 post-discussions with domain leaders. We prioritised specific training basis, which every month training calendars were prepared: mandatory training, technical training and behavioural training programs. Mandatory training is generally on ethics/compliance and POSH training, and technical programs are on contract management and BIM (Building Information Modeling) training to start with. Last year, most of the programs aimed to take care of our people's psychological well-being. We have onboarded life coaches, and counsellors to conduct certain programs with softer aspects. This year, we are providing a focus on sales excellence programs on customer centricity, along with complete leadership programs across all levels. 

Our priority is also adopting newer technologies, setting up processes and creating an environment where employees can work remotely wherever required. We have 3000 employees nationally, and most of the employees are in site offices. Hence, communicating, connecting and creating ease at work is the utmost priority.  Besides remote working and newer technologies, it’s also essential to understand cybercrime / cyber safety. We have also designed coaching tailor-made for the staff in Egis; training is delivered in chosen locations, and we also train staff in a way that suits their business needs.

What challenges do you feel HR and L&D leaders must address early on to build more robust learning frameworks and strategies? How have you addressed those challenges at Egis India?

The COVID-19 pandemic is drastically changing the workplace, the crisis is forcing businesses to reconsider their short and long-term goals, and employees are urged to cope with new ways of working. Post-lockdown, the importance of internal Communication & employee engagement has increased multi-fold, and so has L&D; it is also essential to chart a purposeful path to the next normal. Brands have begun to embrace online learning, empowering employees to develop skills – wherever and whenever is best for them.

Our long-term success depends on maintaining a talented, technical and diverse team that can rise to the world’s most complex technical and environmental challenges – and help solve them. It means nurturing our organisational culture and continuously developing our people's skills, allowing everyone to reach their full potential. As part of this, we're pursuing our equality and diversity policy, supported by ongoing constructive social dialogue. But, above all else, our priority is protecting our employees' health, safety and well-being worldwide.

As we talk about talent trends such as quiet quitting and attrition, career development has been key to talent retention. So, how have you been aligning your L&D strategies with career growth and development opportunities for your workforce? 

Yes, career development is one of the critical aspects of retaining talent. Companies are focusing a lot on upskilling staff with new skills – essential to carry out the existing & future business effectively. As part of the regular annual exercise, career development is part of the discussion managers have with employees regularly.  Required training is the result of the discussions and is aimed at upgrading skills by which companies can achieve their business plan for the future. In addition, efforts need to be made to : 

  • Be a learning organisation through best-in-class development programs and learning experiences
  • Build internal and cross-disciplinary career opportunities through the inside-move mobility programme – both internal and international mobility
  • Facilitating the transfer of skills and expertise 

Finally, what are some words of advice that you would like to share with our community on building a future-ready workforce?

In today’s dynamic work environment, the inability/unavailable opportunities to learn and grow can be a strong reason employees generally look for new opportunities outside. Offering opportunities to grow – horizontal and vertical growth can be one of the key deciding factors for retaining talent for the longer term. Therefore, the focus of the companies should be to upskill staff in critical areas, which can be instrumental in building up talent pipelines for the future. The induction of young talent – fresh graduates are currently seen as one of the best ways to build a  workforce that can take challenges of the future world wherein business dynamics are continuously changing, and technology is taking the front role.

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Topics: Learning & Development, Skilling, #FutureOfWork, #HRCommunity

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