Small Business And Start-Up

Skilling Workforce at Scale is the Need of the Hour


Learning and Development addresses the big challenge for IT enterprises, the re-engineering of its 4.1 million-strong workforce and create a talent pipeline to meet the demands of fast-transforming IT businesses. Rapid change in infrastructure and avenues like automation, big data, etc. making deep inroads into supply chain, the demands of industry’s global clientele have evolved as a challenge. But the rapid change in technology is not the issue. The issue lies in lack of professionals who can implement emerging technology at work. The talent gap and the skill shortage have become defining factors for enterprise competitiveness and decide if businesses are going cherish or perish. Industries around the globe have realized that on-boarding and skilling the right talent is a way to level the uneven playing field.

The challenges of skilling workforce at scale

With a renewed push among enterprises, re-skilling the IT workforce is across the boards. Identifying and implementing strategies to retain valuable employees at scale has become the primary concern among L&D teams. Under skilled engineers aspiring for IT jobs is not the only blow industries face today. Even employed professionals are now vulnerable to the shrunk shelf life of skills and now require to upskill while they are still working. Large enterprises with thousands of employees, irrespective of the sectors they operate, aggregate millions of such employees who need instant and constant upskilling.
Employees are willing to learn new skills as per the changing job roles and L&D has been playing its part by providing enough learning opportunities for its employees. Yet there is a huge room for improvement as only 21% of employees are reported to have taken advantage of on-campus learning and development initiatives. Amidst enterprises’ claim that they provide enough learning opportunities, there is a disconnect where L&D professionals often fail to cope with the flexibility needed for newer technology, traditional learning standards and various generations at workplaces.

The much-needed change

Traditional L&D practices, which earlier focused on the narrow domains and deep expertise of skills, are now moving to a “learning experience platform” where learners go through continuous learning, learn entire development stacks, while helping them interoperate efficiently. But the scale and intensity of L&D activities at large enterprises can be terrifying for individuals if there is a “one size fits all” approach in place.
Learning is best delivered when it is in the flow of work. With employees finding it harder to take time out of their schedules, learning resources need to consume “in the flow of work,” ideally between projects, meetings, or even while commuting, etc.
Skilling at scale also requires enterprises to eliminate all artificial barriers between L&D, learning management system, and the mentors to offer a collective intelligence that is not obstructed every now and then.
In terms of the learning methodologies, contextualizations of concepts are great when learners are trying to understand and retain new concepts. Since workforces are required to demonstrate critical thinking during unforeseen situations and come up with viable solutions, learning agility among the workforce is a sustainable way of creating and maintaining talent pool which remains productive.
The entire L&D approach where employees are exposed to learning by doing and fast feedback is a widely used approach today. To conclude, any new learning ecosystem has to be a harmonious integration of people and data that assesses the skill gaps, provide an immersive learning experience and learning by doing.”

By Mr Keshava Raju, CEO and Founder, IIHT