Article (April-2019)


Organisations must invest in re-skilling their talent

Ranjan B Pandey

Designation : -   Senior Vice President - Human Resources

Organization : -  Fortis Healthcare Limited, Gurgaon


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Where do you think we are headed in terms of skill set requirements and capability assessments to build a talent bank for future workplace needs? And how do you visualize the workforce of future?

RB Though future talent requirement requires an in depth understanding of future business scenario, workflow dynamics and customer expectations however the pace with which our needs and technology is changing one can say with surety that tomorrow's talent needs will be very different from that of yesterday and today. Today technology has its footprints in all sectors and we are likely to see better versions of it in future. Better forms may also mean less and less of human interventions.

In manufacturing industry employees equipped with technical skills will be in demand particularly those with computers IT related skill due to immense focus on automation in all sectors. The entire education system will get revamped due to this change. ITI's, Polytechnics and engineering colleges will have to play a big role. Skills requiring specialization and super specialization will be in demand.

Service industry will also see a lot of changes in skill requirements. They may no longer have the luxury of having manpower involved in all their processes as machines will replace some of the non - value added jobs and still maintain the same or higher level of customer satisfaction.

In the service industry, healthcare sector will see a lot of changes where the focus would have moved to preventive healthcare. Specialized nurses will be doing the basic doctors' jobs. For this retention and new career paths for nurses and paramedics would be required. Currently nurses are largely treated as support staff. We need newer norms under medical council for them to take on doctors' responsibilities such as Physician assistant, Nursing practitioner etc; since technology will be paramount in tomorrow's world, there would be a lot of synergy between Medicine and Technology.

IT industry will provide the backbone for most of the sectors and demand for manpower in this sector will keep on increasing.

How is AI, robotics and automation affecting the employment scenario in India?

RB We often hear that the newer technology will result in manpower redundancy however it may not necessarily be correct. Technology brings in more precision, efficiency and speed but you would still need manpower.

Technological advancement such as AI, Robotics, and automation is creating & redesigning the newer ways of working and is expected to gain further steam in years to come. Technology is evolving and changing at a faster pace than the amount of time and resources we are investing in our workforce to manage them.

We all must understand that "Change is inevitable & constant and sooner we accept it better will be for everyone."

There are statistics that speak a loud about the growing unemployment in the country, so much so that highly qualified individuals are forced to take up meager jobs to make a livelihood. To avoid any kind of social unrest, how more employments opportunities can be generated?

RB The growing unemployment is not due to technological advancement. On the contrary it is creating new opportunities. To cope up with these changes, individuals need to enhance their skills so that it meets the needs of technology. There is definite need for bridge courses that current workforce at large should take up to enhance their skills. New sectors are coming up where technological skills will take the center stage.

Accordingly, organizations also need to invest their time and money to develop their workforce on training and re-training so that they can take up jobs in changing times. We also have to understand employees are equally responsible for enhancing their own skills.

Is the current HR ecosystem ready to take on the challenges of a highly demanding and dynamic future workforce? How HR should evolve and upgrade its competencies to address this challenge?

RB HR has to understand and update itself on the needs of tomorrow. At present HR has to upgrade our Gen X workforce and adapt ourselves with the millennial & Gen Z workforce. We also have to understand that the decision makers are still from baby boomers and Gen X generation who need to be abreast with the change in job competence dynamics.

What are the ways which can help HR to create a system where man and machine can co-exist without eating into each other's space? Is it even possible to have such a workplace universe?

RB Man and Machine having been working hand in hand since ages. It's a misconception that they are eating each other space. The focus should be on optimally aligning the two so that organizational efficiencies are achieved. 

How do you think young generation should prepare themselves to remain employable and worthy in the age of technological disruption? How can HR and organizations support in this?

RB In times where technology is going to be at the forefront, young generation needs to keep themselves abreast with the skills of tomorrow for which training and re-training will play an important role.

Government is equally echoing and accordingly investing in Skill India movement. This will not only increase employability but will also help individuals widen their outlook.