“India is the most populous country in the world, and in the next thirty years, it will be the world’s top 3 economies. There will be abundance, but it will unleash mega change," shares Vikram Tandon, Group Chief Human Resources Officer at Adani Group. He highlighted the importance of learning in his keynote session, ‘Valuing Talent: Powering Progress With Purposeful Work & Growth Potential' at the People Matters L&D India Conference 2023.
Conducting the session, Vikram focused on how organizations can foster success by aligning systems, policies, processes, and people management practices to maintain an organization's relevance and forward-thinking approach. He added, “Over the past three years, my journey with the Adani Group has been a dynamic experience marked by the ongoing task of hiring a substantial number of individuals. The primary challenge we face is in equipping our recruits with the necessary skills. As professionals, you play a central role in this endeavour. I engage with business schools to gain insights into the educational landscape shaping our hires.”
India’s skilled talent to lead GDP growth over the next 30 years
Delving into insights on India’s growth projection, Vikram said, “India has a projected increase to 1.7 billion people over the next 30 years, anticipating an influx of 15 to 20 million individuals into the workforce annually. This demographic shift is poised to fuel exponential GDP growth, reaching an estimated $35 to $40 trillion in the next three decades, reflecting a yearly increase of approximately $1.3 trillion. This staggering trajectory contrasts with the $3.75 trillion accumulated over the past 75 years, emphasizing the unprecedented scale of the country’s impending growth.”
He added, “This surge in growth will lead to an era of abundance, where all of you, the driving force of this transformation, will witness a surge in home purchases, second homes, cars, washing machines, and various goods. The manufacturing and services sectors will undergo a monumental expansion.”
India will grapple with significant challenges, says Vikram, “As the country evolves into the world's largest middle class, we anticipate profound changes. This evolution will bring about a rapid, intense pace of change over the next 30 years, giving rise to heightened geopolitical risks, persistent inflation, demographic shifts, and an increased focus on sustainability and climate change.
Commenting on the evolving landscape with Artificial Intelligence, Vikram underlined, “The advent of creative AI, while often considered a buzzword, represents just the beginning of a technological revolution. This transformation will impact the workplace in ways that might seem magical today but will soon become integral to our daily operations. Furthermore, the business landscape will witness a further shortening of cycles, reducing the shelf life of ideas and products. In navigating these colossal changes, we are in search of a tracker as a guide to steer us through the uncharted waters of this transformative journey.”
On the brighter side
Despite these challenges, Vikram said, “The overarching narrative for India remains one of exceptional growth and abundance. The opportunity lies in the country's immense prosperity. When engaging with business schools, I often encounter challenges related to the evolving skills needed in the workplace. The pace of job evolution has never been this rapid, with roles becoming obsolete while new ones emerge within the same workspace.”
He added, “On the supply side, there are notable gaps in the curriculum, a persistent issue in academia. Hiring from business schools poses its own set of challenges, with professors often adhering to conventional thinking. This presents a significant challenge for Learning and Development (L&D) professionals tasked with shaping the workforce amid institutional stagnation.”
Embracing L&D effectively amidst workforce evolution
Highlighting the challenges in the learning and development in this marathon of AI evolution, Vikram said, “Clarity of purpose is another challenge, given the distractions in today's world. The responsibility expected from line managers to train and mentor employees is often lacking, as they are preoccupied with running the business amidst rapid change.”
He added, “In the context of a hyper-growth company like Adani, the skills sought for acquisitions and inorganic growth include a growth mindset, a hunger for achievement, passion for excellence, risk-taking ability, lateral thinking, agility, competitiveness, dependability, authenticity, innovation, and resilience to failure. This list underscores the need for adaptable, forward-thinking individuals in the workforce.”
Sharing the effective solutions, Vikram said, “We are working toward creating learning experiences at Adani that embrace failures as valuable opportunities for growth. We aim to define purpose in a cluttered environment and cultivate a culture that encourages mistakes as part of the learning process. Recognizing the crucial role of line managers, we emphasize creating a supportive environment and holding senior leaders accountable for leadership development.”
Conclusion: It is the collective responsibility of all L&D professionals to navigate the challenges of hypergrowth and seize the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that lies ahead. The time is ripe for the L&D community to step up, address these challenges, and contribute to shaping India's future workforce.