Identifying and developing the next generation of leaders is a crucial part of the talent-management process. Pravin Prakash, Chief People Officer, BYJU’S, shares nuggets of wisdom on how organisations can groom the “next generation” of leaders and get them the skills they need for future success.
In the era of people-centric business, organisations are pushing the envelope when it comes to talent management. Yet, even as companies make strides in areas like empathy, flexibility, and mental health; creating future leaders, a crucial part of the talent-management process is still nascent. A survey by Deloitte in 2018 illustrated just this. According to the study, 86 percent of the respondents believed that creating leaders for the future was important but only 14 percent thought they did it well.
At a time when organisations are actively looking at ways to bridge the skill gap, it is imperative that today’s leadership paves the way for the next generation of leaders by recognising, nurturing, and supporting talent early on. One of the most meaningful methods to add value to an organisation’s growth journey is to focus on its employee development.
Working to develop next-generation leaders not only ensures that businesses and employees have the knowledge, skills, and capacities required to perform effectively in a digitised, automated world, but also empowers employees to keep their skills relevant and stay future-ready.
An internal talent pipeline that builds next-gen executives who can lead the company through future-ready solutions is vital. At BYJU’S, we have always believed in encouraging and honing leaders. This belief has helped us shape and grow young and promising individuals into impactful, empathetic, and robust leaders who are helming teams and mandates within the group.
“An internal talent pipeline that builds next-gen executives who can lead the company through future-ready solutions is vital. At BYJU’S, we have always believed in encouraging and honing leaders. This belief has helped us shape and grows young and promising individuals into impactful, empathetic, and robust leaders who are helming teams and mandates within the group.”
Leadership planning, too, can create better engagement among employees and bridge the skills gap to add more value to an organisation’s human capital. Here are some of the key dimensions which can define how next-gen leaders are groomed.
Building 21st-century skills
As jobs evolve and skills requirements change as a result of advancements in technology and automation, the demand for transferable skills, new knowledge, and competencies has increased. Skills such as adaptability, flexibility, and a commitment to lifelong learning form the nucleus of the workplace needs of the global economy.
Leaders must also embrace flexible, blended networks that focus on maximising potential in all forms. For instance, at BYJU’S, technology is not only at the core of all of its products, but it is also at the core of the company’s operations, impacting not just its learners but teachers and employees too. Owing to this, the organisation was able to seamlessly transition from offline to online mode during the pandemic. The company’s digital-first attitude helps to flexibly pivot plans fairly quickly and enables employees to adapt to shifting conditions. Today, BYJU’S 12,000+ teachers are true global educators, teaching students across grades and geographies.
These teachers are empowered to reach out to children across the globe in multiple formats, not only improving student learning but also giving an opportunity to a large talent pool of women who were underemployed to create a massive impact in the workforce.
Furthermore, in order to succeed in the future, teams must master the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. As the needs of our changing economy grow, new skills will allow professionals to contribute meaningfully to the workforce. The upskilling imperative at BYJU’S is given a fillip by fostering a thriving founder mentality among employees. Due to the sheer cross-functional nature of work, branching out and learning new skills as well as taking the initiative to start projects, lead execution, and own the results is a cornerstone of the professional journey at BYJU’S.
“Furthermore, in order to succeed in the future, teams must master the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. As the needs of our changing economy grow, new skills will allow professionals to contribute meaningfully to the workforce.”
The future of talent, and the future of workplaces
As businesses explore returning to work in this post-pandemic period catalysed by the adoption of automation and the emergence of newer technologies, the demand for future-proof skills is emerging to support this transition. In fact, reports suggest that five years from now, over one-third of skills that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed forever.
However, the AI-driven automation of a wide range of organisational functions allows employees to focus on higher-value work. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2025, machines will be able to perform more activities than people, but that AI dependence will also generate 58 million new job opportunities.
These nuanced developments further underscore how the future of talent and workplaces hinges on a rapid degree of skilling, upskilling, and reskilling. Only by creating a robust community of active learners with the appropriate skills can we prepare today’s youth for the rapidly evolving future and the unseen jobs of tomorrow.
Creating the groundwork for future leaders
The virtue of leadership is not in holding power, but rather in empowering others. Encouraging and enabling employees to take ownership of teams and tasks has had a multiplier effect at BYJU’S. The company’s senior leadership has been a key driver of upskilling and intrapreneurship, providing employees with the resources they need to work on new ideas and solve challenges.
A major element in BYJU’S decade-long road of steady growth has been a conscious effort to motivate and encourage employees to think outside the box, innovate, and create value. Employees that bring entrepreneurial thinking and talents into the workplace are the ones who keep companies relevant and ahead of the curve. The company’s culture of intrapreneurship also allows BYJUites to go beyond core competencies and broaden their horizons while honing existing strengths. All of this is made possible by recognising and supporting talent early on — not only for its learners but also for teachers.
“The company’s culture of intrapreneurship also allows BYJUites to go beyond core competencies and broaden their horizons while honing existing strengths. All of this is made possible by recognising and supporting talent early on — not only for its learners but also for teachers.”
The best way to create and empower next-gen leaders would be to let the youth experience the true power of learning by providing them with opportunities to learn, unlearn, and relearn necessary skills. It’s also vital that we collectively shift our attitude toward ‘failure’ and instead celebrate small wins at work. The leaders and change-makers of the future are sitting in our classrooms, and empowering them to reach their greatest potential is the only way to move our country forward socially and economically.
Year of Incorporation: 2011
Number of Employees: 15,000
Founders: Byju Raveendran, Founder and CEO and Divya Gokulnath, Co-founder
Key Executives: Mrinal Mohit – Chief Operating Officer, Anita Kishore – Chief Strategy Officer, Vinay MR – Chief Content Officer, Pravin Prakash – Chief People Officer