TeamLease’s latest report on the EdTech sector in the country revealed that investments in skilling programs are expected to rise by 15%. This points out how organizations are increasingly prioritising L&D programs as it offers a number of benefits from highly skilled work performance, increased productivity, agility and flexibility as well as accelerating business growth. It also positively impacts the overall employee experience which is a significant variable in talent retention as attrition rates are expected to rise in the coming months. As the business value of a positive learning culture is being witnessed and understood by companies, what is important at this juncture is to align employee’s professional growth journeys with the larger business goals.
The indispensable role of C-Suite in the skilling agenda:
With CHRO’s starting to play an even more important role in the overall business strategy design, planning and execution, there is a closer alignment between the Executive Leadership and HR leaders. From Skilling being a long held exclusive HR function pioneered by L&D leaders, the involvement of C-suite executives have been on the rise. LiveMint reports how as a result of skill shortages in the IT industry in India, this intervention has been on the rise. At Mindtree Ltd, the executive leadership is known to aid the skilling process through a roadmap backed by learning centres, digital platforms, sponsorships and proactive budgetary support. In HCL Technologies, the CXO actively participates in programmes like TechBee, which trains Class XII students to work in IT jobs with the company. Both the skilling and recruitment process then gets aligned.
With skills based hiring on the rise, using role based skill benchmarking has become significant in the overall business design. This is where the C-suite leaders and L&D leaders come together to accurately take note of not only the skills in demand but the skill shortages within the organization. This when aligned with the larger organisational growth plan can also boost talent mobility strategies within the company. One cannot deny the valuable role played by upskilling programs to tackle skill shortages and keep up to date with the changing skill needs at the company level as well. In the face of disruption digital and otherwise, having a strong skilling platform that regularly assesses what the organisation lacks and what it urgently needs to develop is fundamental for achieving business targets.
Strengthening the learning culture to create a business impact:
Deciding on the skills that your company needs is only the first step in the process of sustaining the organisational learning culture. What comes next is the execution which will decide whether the expected skill change and rise in learning curve will be achieved. What the C-suite executive and L&D leaders must invest their efforts in include:
- Driving hyper-personalised learning journeys for business performance: Surely, all policies in the HR domain must be employee centric but a business angle is a must in the executive. We want the growth of our employees but we also want them in a way that it helps achieve overall organisational growth. To do so requires AI-based learning pathways and even customised dashboards with organisational skill heat map across different dimensions. The focus must be on linking skilling and business impact at all levels.
- Encouraging micro-learning strategies to implement learning in the flow of work: Balancing learning programs and meeting company growth targets can be a tough game to play which is why micro-learning has been a rising trend alongside gamification. Learning experiences have to be designed with bite-sized blended skilling interventions in micro forms to drive engagement and deliver that impact. Moreover, this also enables the culture of learning in the flow of work as consuming such micro-content won’t add too much pressure on the workforce.
- Increasing productivity and retention with low-touch high-scale onboarding programs: Skilling fresh hires is also an important strategy of strengthening the company’s learning culture. To drive engagement in the pre-joining phase, workflows that can auto assign 30-60-90 day structured onboarding journeys will play a fundamental role. Moreover, encouraging continuous coaching and tracking employee job performance and readiness will help in evaluating the impact of the learning programs.
Having a learning strategy that tackles the three critical arenas of meeting skill shortages is a value addition to any business plan. By recognising the need to drive impact and deliver results on the talent acquisition, talent development and talent retention front is no longer an HR focused job. C-suite leadership has to participate in not just setting the skill targets that the business needs but also in devising a strong learning program that can adapt to any potential disruptions. A future oriented and adaptable learning culture will be a game changer in not just the employee growth journey but also the larger company growth journey. It will bring in the talent that you need and it will also aid you in developing your talent in the direction the business needs.