The Udemy’s latest report on skilling reiterated the need to invest in continuous learning. The overwhelming majority (94 percent) said it is important for their employer to encourage and support a ‘constant learning/training culture’ in the organization. Whether it is to retain the employees, or to make them more capable to drive business outcomes effectively, investing in L&D is key.
As Neeti Sharma, Senior Vice President, TeamLease said in a recent interview with People Matters, “L&D budgets need to be seen as investments and not an expense.”
How has the pandemic highlighted the need to invest in L&D?
The pandemic has been a catalyst for Employee learning & development. L&D professionals have never been so busy as the need for upskilling and reskilling of working professionals has been more important than ever before.
Organizations required L&D to initially keep their employees engaged, at a later stage to skill them areas such as monitoring & governing remote working, balance work & home etc. and eventually developing resilient & productive workforce.
The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling. So, how can organizations up skill their workforce at this scale and make them future-ready?
The phase of Industry 4.0 had been the start of redefining the skill sets of the future. We all know that many new jobs don’t exist today and hence their skill requirement is also very sketchy.
Nevertheless, COVID-19 has advanced the technology usage world over and specially in India at least by two decades. This calls for immediate upskilling every employee across companies on either developing or using new technology products. Many entry level / redundant job roles will get automated across sectors, and that will create new jobs or jobs with new skill requirements.
What is your advice for CHROs and people managers who face challenges to skill and re-skill their employees including cost and other bottlenecks?
As the saying goes “If you think training is expensive, try ignorance”.
L&D budgets need to be seen as investments and not an expense. L&D budgets have largely been “nice to have “ as against a “must have''. And this has been a major bottleneck for most HR & L&D people. However, that has changed over the last two quarters, with organizations willing to make investments in upskilling their workforce. Upskilling & Reskilling has been a major ask from businesses in the recent past. Instead of hiring new employees, companies are keen to up-skill their existing employees, help them improve their productivity, move them to different job roles as per business needs and also build resilience for their employees to perform better. Having said this, HR & L&D folks need to keep in mind that any upskilling or reskilling program organized for employees needs to have very clear objectives, specific and measurable outcomes defined.
At a macro level, how do you think industries, government, and associations work together to bridge the skills gap? What kind of collaboration is required at present?
Each one in its own way is trying to solve the skill gap problem. Industries internally through their L&D & CSR Budgets, Government through its various Skill Development schemes and Associations by trying to bring the demand & supply together. What is really required is to create an ecosystem of Skilling where in the output of skill development programs flows through an Apprenticeship program (funded by the industry) and there on to formal employment.
There is a significant cultural shift organizations are facing after the crisis. How can business leaders and HR teams work together to create a high-impact learning culture in their organizations?
Many jobs are disappearing due to the increasing use of technology & automation. Roles that are emerging require very quick thinking, creativity and much else. Companies need to focus to develop the culture of Learning to Learn. In a world where Google knows everything, L&D teams need to react quickly and adapt to the changing requirements. Organizations with a good learning culture supports an open mind-set with a continuous quest for knowledge. Business leaders, HR & L&D teams need to be actively involved in the employees’ learning needs.
Know more about the latest trends in the learning & development landscape at the People Matters L&D Conference 2020 coming to your screens from 21st-22nd October. Click here to register.