Need for L&D to evolve to Cope with Fast-Evolving Talentscape

By: Kaushiki Srivastava, Human Resources Director, Ubisoft India Studios

Holding a PG Diploma in HR from Xavier Institute of Social Service and having completed the Executive Development Program from XLRI Jamshedpur, Kaushiki spans a career of 15 years and has successfully handled key roles across companies such as Sony Music Entertainment, Pernod Ricard, Allied Blenders & Distillers, Essar Group and Vedanta Resources.

In a recent conversation with Women Entrepreneur India Magazine, Kaushiki shares her insights on the strategies to address skill gaps and keep employee skills relevant in today’s dynamic business landscape, as well as the metrics and KPIs that help an organization measure the effectiveness of its L&D efforts.

Explain the role of technology in enhancing the L&D efforts within an organization.

For the HR department in any organization, embracing technology is very important in today’s dynamic and fast-paced business landscape. Today, the macro-environment and technology are disrupted constantly, and professionals need to be able to navigate in an agile manner and continue to develop their skills to stay relevant to the market dynamics. Technology, when embraced and accepted rightly, can boost learning agility and improve the speed of deliveries in this context for organizations.

Firstly, companies must decide on the most suited and smart technology for their business, to gather precise information in terms of training needs identification and talent analysis. These systems should enable meaningful databases to understand your talent demography, represent their potential and key skills, and relate specific training programs for individuals in their current or future job roles, as well as point out redundancies.

Gone are the days when classroom training, reading materials, and webinars were the only means of learning for an employee. Today’s workforce is multigenerational in nature, wherein every individual has a different level of acceptance and comfort with technology and different learning adaptabilities. Companies can also leverage technology to provide different mediums of learning for their employees and truly enrich the pedagogy for it. This is true for training programs for both behavioral and technical skills. With the help of self-paced, online/virtual modules, and the whole works of a 70-20-10 approach, learning will evolve into a continuous journey rather than an occasional event.

Suggest a few strategies to address skill gaps and keep employee skills relevant in today’s dynamic business landscape.

The first step in this regard is to identify the right and relevant Training Need Identification. The most primary, and eventually glaring gap occurs when there is no proper balance between the identified need and delivery, or when the training being provided is not relevant to the job profile, and if the learning delivery does not precisely impact the actual requirement. I recommend always starting from the very foundation of learning: the why and what, then the how. Thus, my first strategy is to spend more time analyzing the training needs and communicating with the managers & and business heads to align peoples’ training needs with the business vision and expected delivery outcomes. Secondly, you must look at faster deliveries, and long and short-format learnings to achieve quick ROI. Additionally, following through post the learning event, program or module is very important - business leaders must work with their team members on their development plan linked to performance to enhance the training effectiveness.

Self-learning is equally key to evolving relevant skill sets and is also appreciated as a quality of potential talent. Employees must also pursue their learning curve through the various mediums available, while the organization plays its role in investing in them.

What are some of the metrics and KPIs that help an organization measure the effectiveness of its L&D efforts?

There are numerous metrics to define the success of an L&D initiative, and they must align with the organization's vision and goal. The first and most crucial aspect in this regard is the immediate to long-term ROI on the budget being spent on the L&D program. ROI can be many things: impact of elevated performance or skill on company profitability or success, reduced turnover, suitable engagement scores, performance improvements, improved representation and talent retention, internal career growth success, and many others. Another key way to measure the outcomes of your L&D initiative is to analyze the training trends on different employee demographics to ascertain inclusion and equity. Additionally, the frequency of repetitions for the same training need and program for the same group is another key metric to measure - it is pertinent for the training needs to evolve in tandem with a rapidly changing business environment; having the same training program continuously could indicate the existence of inefficiencies or redundancies, and in some cases even lacking attention to TNI details. In case a need is repetitive owing to its uniqueness, the success is in innovating the integration.

What impact do upskilling and reskilling contribute to organizational resilience in a fast-evolving talent landscape?

For an organization to have a sustainable and stable environment in terms of people, processes, products, and quality, there must be a continuous culture of learning, unlearning, relearning, and focusing on skills across the entire organization. With the advent of advanced technologies such as AI/ML, and an increase in the employable population, the investment in jobs and expected output from all jobs are influenced in some way. Every professional is now expected to build a certain amount of superior technical skills in their respective fields and continue reskilling/upskilling to stay in demand. Not only that, evolved behavioral skills to navigate a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world is equally emphasized as one grows professionally. Having upskilled individuals enhances the confidence of the entire team and enables it to be capable of delivering more challenging and complex tasks, as well as helping drive more autonomy. A younger managerial workforce is now upon us, and building their emotional resilience, together with the know-how of industry and embracing the novelty of technology is complicated – learning is now a must-have for companies and individuals to thrive and survive. In the long run, upskilled individuals form the future for any company, and are the most sought-after assets for competition.

“The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual, and do not represent any company policy, information, or the entity she is associated with”.