Upskilling has traditionally been a human resources (HR) function. However, the shortage of talent combined with high attrition rates in the Indian IT industry is compelling C-Suite executives to intervene and ensure that skilling is a priority in their organisations.
Take the example of mid-sized IT services firm Mindtree Ltd., where the executive leadership aids the skilling process through a strategy and roadmap enabled by learning centres, digital platforms, sponsorships, and proactive budgetary support.
“The CFO’s office gets involved in ensuring continuous alignment and right utilization of budgets for speedy and effective talent development. The CEO also has a sharp focus on skilling and maintains a close oversight of skilling through an exclusive quarterly skilling report. The CXOs also act as executive sponsors for a broad range of programs to foster a culture of continuous learning across the organization,” said Suresh Bethavandu, chief people officer, Mindtree.
Similarly, at Noida-based HCL Technologies Ltd, chief executive C. Vijayakumar is playing an active role in programmes like ‘Tech Bee’ which trains class XII students to work in IT jobs with the company. While working at HCL, TechBee candidates can also pursue higher education.
Experts believe CXOs indulging in the hiring practices of an organization is as much a trend as it is a necessity in the current times.
“Talent acquisition and training are now on the to-do list of apex-level employees in any organization. Once the talent is onboarded by the organization, the priority is to deploy them to business at the earliest. This requirement becomes even more critical for freshers since there is a significant skill gap between what they have learnt at academia vs skills required at the workplace,” said Ritesh Malhotra, head, Great Learning for Business.
“CXOs are not only pitching in for planning, budget approval, and interviews but are also stepping into sourcing leadership level employees, onboarding strategic learning and development partners and team bandwidth management. Most tech organizations scaled enormously during the pandemic and are currently hiring across levels and domains. It is only logical for the C-level executives to participate in the hiring practices,” added Malhotra.
Indian technology firms are also leveraging various forms of technology platforms for upskilling programs.
For instance, India's largest IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) leverages multiple learning tools on its iON learning platform for reskilling its global workforce. 90% of Infosys Ltd’s employees learn through LEX, a platform that helps them reskill and upskill to meet the evolving requirements of the organizations. Similarly, Tech Mahindra Ltd’s AI-based learning platform, UaaS (upskilling-as-a-service) that has been built in-house has offered more than 55,000 employees the opportunity to become full-stack/ full cycle professionals.
“Today, upskilling and right-skilling associates is a strategic twin priority for our leadership. It is a part of our sustainability roadmap which is enabling our associates to embrace a culture of life-long learning and become ‘fit for the future’ by transforming themselves into next generation of business ready associates,” said Harshvendra Soin, chief people officer and head of Marketing, Tech Mahindra.
“One of the highlights of H1 is the way top IT firms have delivered upskilling programs in completely digital format and have developed robust infrastructure to support such initiatives,” concluded Gaurav Vasu, founder and CEO, UnearthInsight, a market intelligence firm.