Article (January-2022)


From KSAs to OCAs : Capability development through augmentation and virtuality of competencies

Rajni Sharma

Designation : -   Freelancer HR Expert and Consultant

Organization : -  Acclaimed Indian and Multinational Companies

Other Writers : -  Dr. Boniface Michael


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The pandemic has compelled Indian companies to rethink business, employability and competencies that reshape workplace capabilities. Fully remote and hybrid work models have been forcibly layered onto in-person knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) of the existing workforce. Working with a virtual or hybrid operating models, job flexibility and cost-effective installations leverage human capital with technology but these usually suffer from screen fatigue, reduced social cues and loss of group dynamics necessary for individual, team and organisational success. What is needed is a planned intentional matching of the knowledge type sought with virtual, hybrid or in-person conditions. What organisations need is a well defined Capability development programmes to improve in-person knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) of individuals, sociological groups and communities to improve the Social well - being and Psychological wellness necessary for organisational growth especially during the economic or pandemic crises.

One has to redefine Capabilities as the managers' or employees' Options, Choices and Advantages (OCA) having 'real' freedom to plan Learning programmes and Action policies for building human resource capabilities and talent. The raising KSAs to OCA through augmentation for increasing coherence and relevance of digital technology and virtual reality is ultimately important for the human resources to have the freedom to achieve opportunities what they value and improve organisational performance and social well being of their people. The KSA augmentation through OCAs for building technology-based or enabled competencies is a unified action of professional and economic development programmes. This can lead to complete autonomy to build world class skills that augment and cohere with the virtual technology to replace the physical working conditions with computer generated simulations and improve human capabilities. This can take form of a creative intrapreneurial strategy for human resource development that is essential for workforce alignment, skill enhancement, employment and income generation programmes to increase profitability and economic sustainability in organisations.

A normative framework that comprises Human-centered augmentation of KSAs for a virtual workplace can be self service portals that are becoming increasingly popular after the pandemic crisis. Their human capabilities that permit the employees to make informed choices for performing effective HR functions can ensure better results like HR headcount costs decreases by 25 percent. The accessibility of employees and maintenance of their personal HR data through Manager self service portal can allow them to handle many HR online transactions and receive on time performance and feedback reports. The performance management systems can authorize leave or create a report summarizing information about their staff. This technology enabled capability also helps the managers in allowing raises, promotion, leave approvals or changing an employee's classification. The managers are able to manage pay, salaries and HR budgets for see savings. For example, using the Manager self service portals the managers at Motorola imported data from an external performance management system and integrated this into a data warehouse. They were asked to make pay decisions regarding how to reward employees with stock, short-term incentives and salary. When the business rules ensured that reward distributions within and between divisions was equitable. Using Manager self service, they were able to complete this task within four weeks. Two additional weeks were taken to review the data. This covered more than 10,000 individual sessions within a 24-hour period without crashing. Motorola was able to implement a standardized compensation plan for 10,000 employees in 65 countries within a six-week timeframe. The goal for the following year was to reduce the timeframe to four weeks.

At Microsoft India, the human capabilities show predictive analysis for instructional guidance, online coaching and information dashboards for connectivity and increasing productivity in manufacturing factories. The technology firms like Wipro; Infosys, Texas Instruments plan successful investments in the private workspaces, internet access and leisure. For example, to bring their offices back to normal working Siemens agreed to offer 2 - 3 weeks of mobile working as new work norm to reshape the daily work routines after the pandemic. The employees were encouraged to take up virtual conferencing or become a part of virtual task forces. At the corporate level, the work policies were flexible to fit all conditions of remote working or onsite work. Another version of human-centered-design finds form in the employees trained on how to use social networking and self service HRD portals and websites for quick accessibility and more sophisticated remote working in a virtual team or hybrid operating systems environment. They can retain their own Work space and plan successful downsizing and invest in the private workspaces, internet access, parenting and leisure. The tasks are segregated into those in the office and those at home making the employees to work at ease and utilize HR technologies and opportunities that are offered to them. The human-centered designs are used for eliminating redundant capabilities that decrease the choices and possibilities of desired income and employment opportunities. This can increase the professional development of the employees into a tech enabled functional role for a virtual or hybrid operating environment. The result is mobilization of Advantages like online communications, LMS, Hackathons, Technical Forums and Knowledge Sharing for improving the business partnerships, sponsorships and certifications. The work from home or remotely working employees are provided with opportunities or money to set up home offices, reimbursement of co- working memberships, free email services, virtual timing chart and planned virtual meetings and choices for learning that augments traditional KSAs for a virtual workplace. This kind of hybrid working model clearly brings out the better outcomes. These enhanced the employer branding to attract top talents and curbing attrition to create a win-win strategy for both the individual and the organisations.

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Rajni Sharma, freelancer HR expert and consultant has worked in acclaimed Indian and Multinational companies like Timex Watches Limited, BHEL, NCUI and Delhi Business School for more than 20 years. & Dr. Boniface Michael is Professor in California State University, Sacramento Dr. Michael has been teaching Leadership, Change management and Organizational development to senior managers in business and state agencies.