"Digital Upskilling & Workplace Flexibility Are Notable HR Trends In 2023"

Santosh T K, Director of Talent Acquisition at Dell Technologies, believes that addressing the skill gap and investing in education and training will be crucial for leveraging India's potential as a global talent hub as technology advances


Navigating the intricate landscape of talent acquisition and workforce management in India, Santosh T K, Director of Talent Acquisition at Dell Technologies, shares insights into the current dynamics of the country's workforce. In a nation boasting a significant youth population, India serves as a nucleus for both a future-ready workforce and a burgeoning market, driven by innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity.

Can you give an overview of the current workforce landscape in India, highlighting any notable trends or shifts you've observed recently?

India is home to a fifth of the world's youth population and this offers both a future-ready workforce as well as a good market, driving a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity. The advent of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) has disrupted traditional industries and created new job opportunities. As a result, there is a need for professionals with expertise in these emerging technologies. The Indian government is heavily invested in upskilling the current workforce, focusing on new-age courses for Industry 4.0 like coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones and soft skills. Addressing the skill gap and investing in education and training will be crucial for leveraging India's potential as a global talent hub.

The need for flexibility in the workforce in India has become increasingly important due to various factors including technological advancements. Companies large and small are working to build a more flexible workforce to meet the challenges of an evolving business landscape. A flexible workforce can take multiple forms: it may include employees who have the skills to perform a variety of tasks, as well as workers who can work anywhere and at any time. A flexible workforce may also rely on pools of highly skilled freelance and contract talent that allow the business to scale up or down easily as needed. 

As the workforce continues to evolve, how can organisations adapt its HR initiatives to meet the changing needs and expectations of employees?

With the constant acceleration of digital transformation and introduction of AI driven tools, organisations should also focus on investing in upskilling and reskilling of their team members to keep up with the innovation pace. On the other hand, employees should stay up to date with relevant skills and technology emerging in in their respective sector. Organisations need to invest in developing human capital, enabling team members to acquire new skills in this data-driven economy.

As digital innovation continues to transform the workplace, enterprises are focused on adopting solutions that will power the Future of Work. These continuous advancements will require new skills and capabilities for employees to excel in current as well as future work environment. 

Our strategy revolves around:

  • The freedom to dreaming big and developing one’s career within or across functions
  • Emphasis on work-life balance: Respect for a full and fulfilling life, and not just a full and fulfilling career
  • Focus on nurturing highly ethical and inspiring leaders
  • Diverse and inclusive work environment
  • Commitment to community and the environment
  • Collaborative and flexible environment, where team members can pick and choose where, when, and how they want to work - an environment where we help our employees grow both professionally and personally 

With the rise of hybrid work environments, how has the talent strategy evolved to ensure that employees remain engaged, productive and satisfied with their work arrangements?

Flexibility is paramount for the future of work. Companies should see flexible working culture as a strength rather than weakness. Giving team members the flexibility to work from home and the freedom to enter the office for important social interactions is key to maintaining social bonds among colleagues. But fi­nding a sustainable balance is not an easy task, and each company would have to determine what works best for their organisation.

At Dell, our remote / flex work journey started about a decade ago and flexible working is in our DNA. We had implemented this robust hybrid working programme as a company initiative two decades ago. Connected Workplace encourages all our team members, who are in roles that can be done remotely, to leverage the same and maintain a good work life balance. After the success of our programme we expanded it to ‘Connected Workplace 2.0’ to empower our team members across the world with the ability to choose the work style that best fits them. As a company that has built flexibility into its culture for the last decade, we continue to see flexible culture combined with the right technology infrastructure unleash innovation, life/work balance for our people, our future talent and shrink our environmental footprint.

How can organisations approach leadership development to prepare leaders for the challenges posed by the evolving workforce and diverse generations?

Organisations need to focus on building leaders who can drive their business and keep the vision aligned. However, with diverse generations entering the workspace leaders need to constantly guide and mentor the budding leaders for both their and company’s growth. Leadership development is a vital part of any organisation’s growth. ‘Leadership Development’ is a big part of workplace culture, with programmes that equip high-potential team members at all levels with the skills they need to progress in their careers. For global technology companies, inculcating soft skills, leadership skills and communication skills in leaders is as important as honing their technical skills.

What strategies have been successful in attracting and retaining top talent in the competitive Indian job market? 

Companies should build themselves as the compelling destination where team members feel valued, engaged and inspired to do their best work. The result will be a workforce reflective of the customers and communities where the world’s greatest talent delivers breakthrough performance. Organisations should be equally invested in growing and retaining their internal team members as in attracting additional qualified talent. Organisations today should opt for strategies that would present themselves as a favourable place to work. They need to focus on the unique talents and abilities of team members, it leads to better innovation, retention and business growth. 

Consistent with Dell’s People Philosophy, we continue to help our team members find the right balance between their work and life. We have provided our team members with a range of resources that helps them strike just the right balance in terms of:

  • Body - Ensuring our team members have opportunity and choice to maintain and improve their overall wellness. Ensuring a good health of our employees is a primary concern for Dell. We ran a four-week challenge where a team of 5 could participate and we said you can clock up to 30,000 steps per member per day and whichever team walks the most is the winner
  • Mind - Taking care of their mental and emotional health, which is essential for true and holistic wellness
  • Wealth - Helping them manage their financial wellness to feel secure for today and their future
  • Flexibility - Empowering them with flexibility around when, how, and where they get their work done, as well as paid time-away programs. This enables them to do their best work and have a fulfilling life. Over the last year, we have been developing New Ways of Working – tools and resources made available to our team members whether they are working virtually, some coming onsite from time to time, and others being in the office five days a week, helping them adapt as we move into a more flexible reality

In addition to this, diversity, continues to be our focus even in a remote environment. We not only hire a good and diverse mix of team members but also encourage them to leverage our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs enable our team members to drive initiatives to support gender diversity, generational diversity and cultivate a more comfortable environment. We firmly believe that ‘Diversity’ makes companies more successful, and ‘Inclusion’ is the skill that makes diversity work.


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