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April 27, 2018

“Learning and innovations go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William pollard

Disruptive technologies and socio economic forces threaten to swiftly outdate the shelf life of people’s skillsets and their relevance. Not only employees but employers too, are feeling the effect of these disruptive forces. The rate of change is such that employers have to put in great deal of effort to fulfil skills requirements that are in demand.

Keeping up with the future

HR in its strategic role as enabler towards organization’s growth has to align with business strategies and workforce trends. HR leader will not only have to be prepared to meet the changing skills demand from time to time but also look ahead and plan for the future skills. According to the World economic forum’s 2016 report, Future of Jobs, by 2020, more than one third core skill needed to perform most jobs will be made up of skills currently not even considered. The business scenarios changing with technological advancements such as IOT, AI, Big Data, Cloud, and Robotics are placing demand on HR to be innovative and agile.

Re-skilling workforce

The ManpowerGroup’s 2017 Talent shortage survey suggests that 40% employers reported difficulty in finding skilled talent, and these gaps were filled by re-skilling and developing people internally.  Re-skilling, therefore, is an important part of the HR strategy.  Not only corporate but government is also taking pro-active measures to address re-skilling. Recently, Karnataka government made an announcement (Nov 28, 2017) to set up re-skilling workshops for engineers to make them re-employable.

Best practice for re-skilling would be to identify the skills of future and run re-skilling programs as mandatory driven from the top management. Program should be managed by dedicated learning and development teams and could be linked to the goals and KRAs.  Identification or selection of employees for re-skilling could be gathered from appraisal feedbacks and employee aspirations besides the workforce skills requirement trends. It is important to link re-skilling to career development and rewards to ensure employees are motivated to acquire new skills.

Alternative approach used by corporates is job rotation and job enhancement. Job rotation is a systematic movement of talent from one job to another ensuring right employee is fit into the right job. On the other hand, job enhancement involves addition of tasks at the same level, which helps employees to hone their skills with increased responsibility and improved motivation towards work.

Above mentioned practices require addition or upgrade of new or existing skills, which can be acquired by developing a progressive learning ecosystem such as Learning Management System (LMS) with the digital technologies.

Digital LMS – The academia of corporate

LMS – an application for administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of learning programs is an integral part of most of the talent management solutions. These modern smart talent management suites ensure that the workforce acquires new skills, which are most relevant to their jobs aligned to their specific role, team, and organization. The LMS is also empowered to model career path for talent and succession planning.

LMS course content could be an amalgamation of different course models. One such model is corporate open online courses (COOC), wherein learners participate in collaborative and interactive fashion. These COOCs are specially designed for corporates of small and large businesses. Other course models are massive open online courses (MOOC) and small private online courses (SPOC). MOOCs are accessible to a large audience such as students and corporates, while SPOCs are tailored for very specific and small group of people with a perfect blend of online resources and personal engagements.

Most of the modern LMS are available on cloud, and digital technologies are driving the next phase of LMS development. LMS is already enabled with features of ‘Remote Learning’, ‘Self-paced Scheduled Learning’, ‘Peer-supported Social Learning’, ‘Mandatory Learning’, ‘Gamified Learning’, and some level of “Adaptive Learning”. Interactive trainings through Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are being introduced in educational and occupational settings. Learners can actually get to role-play and gain hands-on experience instead of simply watching videos or reading modules about a topic.  With the costs of delivery and deployment falling rapidly, VR/AR will become more affordable in next few years.

The Future of the LMS will be driven by the demand of convenience, learning options, and digital methods.  Driven by intelligent engines, future systems will have automated capabilities that learn, adapt, and interface in a highly personalized manner.

Do share your experiences with re-skilling techniques at your workplace.

Nabaneel Goswami is a Functional Consultant in the CHROMA™ - Platform Solutions unit at TCS. He has over 5.5 years of experience in Talent Management (TM) both in technical and functional roles. He also has experience in Project Improvement and Project Management. He is a Six Sigma Green Belt professional certified by ISI, Bangalore. He holds a MBA from Tezpur Central University and BE in Computer Science and Engineering from Jorhat Engineering College.


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