Article (August-2017)


Automation also brings opportunities for skills up-dation

Niharika Jalan

Designation : -   Head Training

Organization : -  Kestone IMS Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi


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1. Is there a greater need than ever to stay updated, up-skill, re-skill and remain employable?
Ans. Today all organizations operate in a dynamic business environment where the nature of work keeps on changing. To keep employees up to date in terms of their skill set is not only the responsibility of an employer but an employee is required to take equal efforts. With influx of new technologies and different platforms, niche skills will increasingly be required. Employees now understand that an upward move in hierarchy will not suffice. They need to continuously up-skill themselves to make the most of the opportunities.
Additionally, up-skilling is not just limited to IT sector; the new wave of technology has been witnessed in every sector. To keep oneself employable in the wake of cut throat competition and to ensure adaptability and effectiveness in uncertain times, re-skilling is the key.
2. Has the current surge of job cuts made up-skilling more crucial?
Yes definitely. The current scenario demands highly skilled professionals who understand the technology and are able to adapt with the changes at a faster pace. At present there is a mismatch between our educational syllabi and market requirements. This has led our workers to not industry ready, making them less attractive for employers in the long run. Hence, re-skilling is imperative to bridge this gap.
With more and more functions gradually being automated or replaced by evolving technologies, technical competence is must for employees to show their worth. This issue is largely being seen at managerial level. If managers do not update themselves with the latest skills that are in demand, they can hamper their as well as their organization's performance in turn getting a pink slip.
3. Since, a greater need to stay employable has emerged from the way technology is taking over the businesses - AI, robotics, digital, is it right to say that technology is the curse that is pushing the workforce to stay updated? Or, is technology actually a boon, which is aiding up-skilling of employees?
Technology has become an integral part of our day to day life. From using landline to smart phones or from typewriters to computers, in every phase we have upgraded our skills and will continue to do so. It is the fact that automation is considered as a threat to job market but while it replaces some jobs it is also creating opportunities for employees to enhance their skills. The emerging technologies are redefining our jobs and potential.
Boon and curse are two sides of the same coin, when it comes to automation. However, as far as the larger impact is considered, it will have a positive impact, making our employees more innovative and equipped with ever changing technologies.
4. How can organisations take help from manpower agencies to re-skill employees?
Ans. Manpower skilling and training is a very critical element of any organization and requires expertise. HR and training cell in offices is shrinking dynamically due to factors like technology, automation, integration of HR into business functions etc. Re-skilling of employees requires focus and time on the part of organizations which majorly suffer due to other business objectives that have to be met. Moreover, there are times when organizations need to employ a specialized workforce that is skilled and can serve the business in both short term and long term. 
Therefore, organizations are outsourcing their short term and long term hiring & re-skilling needs to manpower specialized agencies. 
5. What is the scenario of skills training in the retail sector in India?
Ans. The retail sector in India is growing at a phenomenal pace leading to job opportunities in different areas. Indian Retail sector is among the top three employers and with government move of 100% FDI the sector will require workforce of around 17.35 million by 2022 according to a report by National Skill Development Corporation. More job opportunities are expected to create with 3000 stores to be open by 50 global players in next 6 months. Besides, the current digital evolution which is going on will increase the demand for skilled employees. The need for up-skilling at higher end to cope with the changing technical scenario of the industry will gain further impetus.
The retail sector is a leader in understanding the importance of skills training, while product training is done by the companies themselves in most cases. Specialized players add significant value in soft skills training. Soft skills training in the retail sector start from the basics of meet and greet for new hires and move through the entire gamut of sales techniques right up to leadership, coaching and mentoring for sales leadership that has grown grounds up..
6. What kind of hard and soft skills are required by the sales manpower?
Ans. Sales are only possible when you know your product/offering well. Hence a deep product knowledge is critical for a sales person this must be complemented by the necessary understanding of the various tools that are used to close a sale. This may include billing software, demo usage, presentation skills etc. Soft skills are the life line for salesperson basic soft skills that a sales person must have include grooming, correct body language and posture. However, just this is not enough today a sales person must know how to drive an engaging conversation with a customer, analyse customer need, up sell, handle objections and of course close a sale effectively. A good salesperson is one whose interaction is remembered and recommended by the customer.