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Lessons from Tech Firms’ internal skill-building platforms

When the trends of re-shuffling, reassessing and re-inventing are widespread among employees, providing adequate career advancement opportunities seems wiser
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Recently, Schneider Electric announced several updates to its professional education platform, Schneider Electric University. The updates included optimising cooling layouts, fundamental cabling strategies, and physical security of the data centres along with optimising data centre designs to drive resilience, energy efficiency and sustainability. The aim was to address the data centre talent shortage that is gradually getting bigger as cloud adoption and digitisation gathers speed. 

These days, organisations worldwide are taking it upon themselves to train the talent that drives their businesses, through dedicated mentorship or skill-building platforms. The companies are developing in-house training programmes to upskill and re-skill their workforce. 

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What’s driving the dedicated skill-building platforms?

With ever-evolving technologies and changing business models, companies require different work skills to grow. According to PwC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey, 79% CEOs are worried about the availability of key digital skills. A McKinsey Global Survey on the future workforce reveals that nine out of ten executives and managers feel that their organisations either face a skill gap or expect it to develop in the next five years. Added to this is the stark reality of The (ongoing) Great Resignation. 

The Great Resignation has ignited fierce competition among companies to retain talent. On the one hand, employees are reassessing their work-life aspirations and quitting jobs to start businesses, opting for sabbaticals or switching over to jobs that provide a better work-life balance, on the other, employers are trying hard to attract and retain talent by offering higher compensation and better positions. 

Compensation, job roles and positions are undoubtedly important to attract and retain talent. However, when the trends of re-shuffling, reassessing and re-inventing are widespread among employees, providing adequate career advancement opportunities seems wise. Upskilling programs benefit organisations by instilling a culture of continuous learning and generating cost savings — for a company it is relatively expensive to replace an employee — and also aligns with individuals’ career aspirations. According to a 2020 Gallup research, lack of career growth opportunities is the top reason people switch jobs.

Not just Schneider Electric, several other companies have such dedicated initiatives for internal upskilling or reskilling of their workforce based on industry-specific or organisation-specific needs. 

Many companies bypass academic qualifications to hire individuals based on their skills and train them as per the organisational needs. Through these initiatives, organisations try to instil a culture of continued learning.

Walmart’s One Global Walmart Academy

Recently, Walmart launched the One Global Walmart Academy to provide digital and in-person on-specific retail training, well-being courses and leadership training to its associates. The Walmart Academy has been in place since 2016. Through the new initiative, Walmart aims to bring together all training and development programmes to create one of the largest learning ecosystems in the world. The focus will be on developing on-the-job skills, growing future skills for associates and building leadership skills for managers.

Deloitte University

In 2011, Deloitte launched the Deloitte University (DU) to nurture future leaders who can impact various communities worldwide. Most workers attend DU within the first year of employment. At DU, the focus is on experiential learning. As a result, attendees gain first-hand experience on how emerging technologies change the way we work and live. 

Apart from DU, there are other internal programs for upskilling. For example, the Emerging Leaders Development Program (ELDP) is a multidisciplinary professional development program designed for managers from the underrepresented community to help them prepare for the next stage in their careers. Through various skill-building sessions, self-assessments, 360-degree feedback, and one-on-one mentorship, ELDP enables participants to explore effective development strategies, risk-taking, building professional networks, and dealing effectively with unconscious bias in corporate America.

Tech Mahindra’s Uaas (Upskilling-as-a-service)

Tech Mahindra has the Uaas (Upskilling-as-a-service) platform that provides associates interactive, on-demand personalised upskilling. Uaas is an AI-based platform that acts as a skill marketplace. The platform facilitates learning new skills and provides a practice environment, assignments and an opportunity to gain hands-on experience by working on real projects. The skill marketplace is helping Tech Mahindra and other organisations groom new-age talent to become future-ready business associates. 

Infosys Wingspan

Wingspan is a platform developed by Infosys to help organisations accelerate their talent transformation journey. It is a cloud-first and mobile-first solution that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and on any device. The platform facilitates learning based on interests, skill sets and roles. Voice-enabled learning assistance guides learners. There are a variety of learning modules, some of which are instructor-led, while others are either assisted learning or self-learning sessions. The platform helps human resources nurture talent by providing a continuous learning environment to acquire the right and relevant skills.

PWC’s ProEdge

ProEdge is an end-to-end upskilling and citizen-led innovation platform that helps businesses identify and close skill gaps through customised learning pathways. It offers scenario-based, function-specific learning that’s scalable, repeatable and adaptive. With ProEdge, PwC has been able to upskill over 55,000 employees successfully. In the first year itself, PWC saw improved operating margins and enhanced overall employee experience across the entire organisation. Other organisations can also use ProEdge to build a future-ready workforce. 

Amazon

At Amazon, the workforce is exposed to various upskilling programs like Career Choice, Associate2Tech and the Amazon Apprenticeship. Under the Associate2Tech programme, associates get paid study time during the week to prepare for an entry-level computer service technician exam that is industry recognized. As a part of the Career Choice program, employees are trained for in-demand job roles that pay better than their existing job roles. 

A plethora of organisations have had such dedicated initiatives in place for quite some time, but these gained popularity only around the Covid-19-driven digital transformation. The pandemic and the consequent resignation compelled several organisations to rethink how they conducted their businesses. As companies transform themselves digitally to stay resilient in uncertain times and keep up with technological advancement, job roles continue to evolve. Thus the skills needed to thrive in the age of rapid digital transformation are changing, necessitating changes in how people learn them.  

More Great AIM Stories

Zinnia Banerjee
Zinnia loves writing and it is this love that has brought her to the field of tech journalism.

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