In the seventh episode of the ATT webinar – Building skill inventory and measuring its business impact, Rohit Agrawal, Co-founder – DoSelect & Business Head – First Naukri in a conversation with Veena Deshpande, Senior Director (L&D), Capgemini discusses lowering the attrition rate and improving engagement, making data-driven decisions on hire vs train, shaping the future of learning and much more.
The ATT monthly webinar aims to bring the HR community together and promote an environment of mutual growth. Also, the program is set to inspire HR professionals to grow as leaders by learning from the experience of industry stalwarts.
Rohit: How has the technology landscape changed for Capgemini in the last two and half years?
Veena: The pandemic accelerated the digital shift at an unprecedented rate. From a business perspective, the major trend was the overall acceleration of the digital transformation on the part of our customers. This meant we also had to make those changes on our end. We have customers from various domains and sectors. Earlier, going digital wasn’t considered a necessity, but due to Covid-19, technology became a key enabler. From accessing a business/service 24*7 to making it user-centric and available in real-time to receiving feedback and incorporating it continuously – it became something that had to be done right away because it was disrupting everything around us. It wasn’t focused on one particular domain or sector, it came all through. For us, it was about making those enhancements. However, it wasn’t just the technology changing it was also the business models changing. We observed that kind of change.
Rohit: With the adoption of technology at never seen scale across the globe, how has Capgemini been scaling its talent capabilities? How did you and your teams achieve this?
Veena: In any organisation, people are the most critical levers in digital transformation. For us, talent has become central to the company’s digital strategy. Scaling talent capabilities was never easy, however, we took various steps to ensure that. First, recruit people who are experienced. Second, ramp up the hiring at the lateral and entry-level. Third, not only recruit new hires but also ensure that we are educating and empowering existing employees along the way. It is about shifting towards a newer set of skills. This was achieved through upskilling and reskilling initiatives. A huge amount of work was done on getting talent, equipping existing employees with newer sets of skills, and finding new ways and means to ramp up the upskilling process due to the demand we saw as a result of the changing business scenarios.
Rohit: With this increased intake of talent, did you also witness a trend around some specific skills, talents, and capabilities?
Veena: Yes, definitely. Since we are discussing everything digital, some of the key skill sets that we identified where we needed additional people on the project included cloud, cybersecurity, big data, CRM, etc. Even from the perspective of SAP and Oracle, where you already had a lot of talent, they were also migrating to the cloud. Additionally, we needed to improve our agility and take into account all the factors that made things digital for our customers.
Rohit: How did you and your entire HR team at Capgemini support the business through so many challenges?
Veena: There was a huge scale-up that was required. For instance, if we talk about recruitment, how do you look at the new sourcing channels, how do you engage with them, and how do you look at specialized vendors who can assist you in hiring in some of the niche categories if you need to scale up that much? These were some of the crucial questions we had to ask ourselves. Desired talent is not always readily available in the market, however, you can always hire someone with a basic level of skills and then upskill and train them in a more comprehensive set of skills. There were newer channels for recruiting employees that we had never considered previously. Also, going digital helped HR in scaling up the company’s operations.
Rohit: How did Capgemini make the overnight shift to virtual mode? What were the tools you used, and how did they help you?
Veena: I’m very proud to say that it wasn’t the pandemic that made us go digital. From a learning perspective, going digital was already in the works for us. We were already working towards deployment. The pandemic simply accelerated that process.
We went digital in a very short time frame and we had to move our entire entry-level classroom training online. Today, we have an entire digital learning ecosystem where we have a learning experience platform, content libraries, and partner content. Going digital also means how we enable peer-to-peer learning interactions, providing mentor support, encouraging gamification, and fostering collaboration.
However, you can’t expect anything like this to happen overnight; it’s a journey. To effect this transformation, you must first upskill your teams and L&D as they are the ambassadors for the wider population.
Most importantly, having digital tools and technologies is not enough. You have to move towards a digital-first approach.
First, recruit people who are experienced. Second, ramp up the hiring at the lateral and entry-level. Third, not only recruit new hires but also ensure that we are educating and empowering existing employees along the way.
– Veena Deshpande, Senior Director (L&D), Capgemini
Rohit: How did you make the learning that people went through stick with them? How did you measure the effectiveness of some of these learning programs?
Veena: There were many things to take into consideration. Firstly, we had to figure out how many learners we were able to onboard onto our digital learning ecosystem. For that, we had some targets set for the end of the quarter and year. We had multiple segmentations to make it data-driven; these helped us make it even more targeted in terms of achieving adoption. For example, you could look at how well it is working with a particular grade of learners or which learner community is adopting it better. Giving people a platform and telling them to learn something is not enough; it is also crucial to make relevant content available and include assessments so that people can use it.
Typical metrics are there, but what matters is how they affect the business. For example, having assessment data that reveals the degree of proficiency that our learners have in different areas can help us personalize learning. We don’t need our learners to go through 20 hours of content learning when they might just need to focus on a few topics. The time to build and ramp up on those skills, the utilization levels, enhancing the capabilities – we perform several of these tasks, which we refer to as baselining activities, especially when we are talking about moving to a new set of skills.
Rohit: You also ended up building a skill inventory within the organisation. Can you tell us how you went about building it and how is it helping both your associates and your business?
Veena: Honestly, the skill inventory has always been there but since the pandemic, it has become stronger. With a lot of things going digital and becoming automated, systems have also become more transparent. For example, we have a resourcing platform where people are able to update their skills and proficiency levels. As we kept doing these things, it was also updating our master list itself. If an assessment happens through another platform, it ensures that the data enters our learning management system so that people are able to see it and make deployment decisions.
From an employee perspective, we talk about career frameworks and roadmaps. This helps them understand where they stand on their skills and proficiency levels. The employees will then realize that these are the talents required if they want to see where they will be in five years down the line.
For us, it was more about bolstering the inventory that was already in place and receiving positive feedback around pay, promotions, career advancement, etc.
Rohit: Did you see an increased engagement level within the company and did that help you in terms of retention?
Veena: Multiple factors come into play when we talk about retention. I would say learning opportunities are great enablers of employee engagement. We carry out monthly engagement surveys, whether it is the internal listening tools for our employees or the external platforms, and we continue to build on these. For example, we recruit college students when they are in their final year but we start the onboarding process for them while they’re still in college (engagement at the pre-boarding stage). We believe the learning cycle for young professionals should not be limited to two or three months but a wider time span that starts before and ends later. These initiatives help in retaining employees for a longer period.
Rohit: How have you seen learning as a function transform from what it was maybe a few years back to what it is today?
Veena: The industry has become more learner-centric now. The learner needs to take more responsibility for his/her own growth. Instilling the mindset of continuous learning should become part of the learning culture.
Listen to the entire webinar below:
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